`Need suggestions for Ground Cover Plants

Hi, I live in the mid atlantic region about thirty miles north of Washington, DC in a townhouse with a fenced front yard measuring about sixteen feet across and and eighteen feet deep with southern exposure. In the center of the yard is a cherry tree (doesn't bear fruit) with trunk about 18" - 22" in diameter. When I moved in a couple of years ago, the yard was mostly covered in ground cover plants. Not knowing anything about plants I pulled some of the different plants thinking they were weeds. I want to replant the yard with gound cover plants, but I don't have a clue which ones to buy. I don't what to plant grass due to the shade the tree produces and I believe grass lawns are wasteful, what with thw watering and chemicals needed too maintain them. Any and all suggestions are welcome,
Thanks,
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In
about
and
I would make a trip to a local full-service nursery to see what is available. They should know what will grow well in your area. Some general recommendations would be English ivy, pachysandra, ajuga, vinca, wintergreen, cinquefoil, groundcover roses, Euonymus fortunei - purple winter creeper, liriope, and sedum. You might consider planting more than one type of groundcover in a pattern. The pattern can be geometric and formal, or informal drifts. Part of the design could be mulch. Don't overlook the possibility of using closely planted drifts of perennials such a hellebores or hostas.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
English Ivy is considered invasive in the Washington DC area. The park service recruits volunteers to remove it from parks. So, unless you can contain it, don't plant it.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've been pulling up the ivy.
Mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
When I moved in most of it was pachysandra. I have two good full service nurseries near by. Thanks for the useful advice.
Mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Like what's-her-name said, I'd get some local advice, but lean toward pachysandra. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of a handful of plants which should be nominate for sainthood. Bulletproof, easy to grow. Expensive at first, but oh well.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What is the care and feeding regimen pachysandra?
Mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
When you first plant them, you'll want to keep the ground moist for a couple of weeks. But, once they're mature, they need pretty much nothing. Next statement refers ONLY to my direct experience growing them in NY State, zones 5 and 6: I've seen them perfectly happy in full sun, part sun, and deep shade, regardless of moisture. At my last house, they thrived in winter temps ranging from 30 down to zero, especially in a particular corner where we had ice damming, which resulted in the plants being bombarded regularly by 20 lb chunks of ice.
Very odd plants, but endlessly rich-green. The only thing I don't know is how they deal with salt, since I never used any, and I've never had occasion to notice any plantings near roads.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Doug Kanter wrote:

I think you just talked me into planting pachysandra, and I wasn't even looking for a groundcover :)
-- Jennifer
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

OK, but I lied just a little. They like a little compost now and then. And, in theory, they're happiest in the same situations where rhododendrons smile. So, if the soil is total crap, you might want to amend it a bit before planting. That usually does NOT mean buying bags of so-called "topsoil". Maybe add some peat moss if your soil is really dry and lifeless, and add composted cow manure, or your own homemade compost, if you've got a pile or bin started. None of this is absolutely necessary, but it helps.
"Flats" of pachysandra seem pretty expensive, but the plants spread very nicely.
If you add peat moss, don't just take it out of the bag and spread it around. It's often dry, and will actually suck moisture away from plants. If you have a wheelbarrow, crumble the peat moss into it and sprinkle with water. The next day, it should have soaked up the water and expanded. Less dusty that way, too. If no wheelbarrow, lay the bag flat, slice open the top, take some out to make a "bowl" that'll hold water, and pour in a gallon or two. Work your way through the bag that way. The stuff's like a dry sponge. Toss the sponge in water, and it'll float until it soaks up some water.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I don't know why pachysandra is expensive. Like equally pricey hostas, it's easy to grow, easy to propagate, and doesn't need much care. Somehow the nurseries have convinced us to pay up.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Easy" is an understatement. I got mine from a friend who simply ripped pieces out of her garden (and I do mean RIPPED - the stems were jagged). When she arrived with the gift, she tied each stem in a loose overhand knot and said "They root better if you do that". Stuck them in the ground, and two weeks later, they were rooted. I didn't question the knot idea because this was a woman you could not debate anything with unless you had 4 hours and plenty of pretzels and beer, which I did not at the moment.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Doug Kanter wrote:

Because the leprechauns drank it all. Damn leprechauns.
-- Jennifer
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Rob wrote:

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Yarrow and Cosmos for sale at the nursery this year. They were priced at $3.99 per plant. Yikes! I'd almost pay someone to dig up and take away some of mine.
My pachysandra came from a woodsy part of a friends property. It was in a place where they tossed there weeds, and it had taken root and was almost taking over. It was so dark in there during the day you could have used a flashlight. This was a few years ago, but I bet if I went back there would be plenty more by now.
People pay for the convenience, or they don't know any better. ; )
In a yard where I was working one day, the homeowner brought me a flat of ajuga to plant for her. I told her she could return it and I would bring her all she wanted from my own yard. She just shrugged her shoulders, and said it didn't cost much. ($25.00 I looked)
BTW, it's not there anymore. heh heh
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jean wrote:

There was someone at the farmer's market selling 4" tall mimosa seedlings for $4.00 a pop. And here I am pulling them up all over the place and tossing them on the compost heap!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
One local nursery charges $39.99 for flat 3' x 3'. Which, I guess, isn't so expensive?
Mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The pachysandra seems to be getting overgrown by weeds, which I'm pulling weeekly. I haven't been water it.
Mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A thanks you note to the responders of my post.
I pulled a lot of weeds, spread peat mulch and water daily. Well, the pachysandra is thriving. A buddy also advised me the cherry tree is using the bulk of the mosture. Any suggestions for another plant to use to breakup the pachysandra?
Mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I like sweet woodruff. An you can use it to make Mai Wein in the spring.
Mike wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

AKA May Wine
Large chilled wet glass bowl coated with Sugar 10 % white wine two bottles or more 3 cups of sugared strawberries from day before 1/2 cup Woodruff flowers floating about
Add friends
Bill
PS 1 plug of woodruff 30 years ago yielded 40 by 160 feet woodruff patch. Makes easy gifts.
--
Garden Shade Zone 5 S Jersey USA in a Japanese Jungle Manner.39.6376 -75.0208
This article is posted under fair use rules in accordance with
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.