I have a patch of bare soil on the north side of my house that is very dry
and doesn't receive more than an hour of sunlight (at sunrise). The soil is
well amended, but with all the recent rains we've had, the soil is beginning
to wash away. Any groundcover suggestions with an eye towards native
midwest plants? Thanks.
If you could WATER the area you'd have many more options. I don't know
your zone, so you'll have to doublecheck zone appropriateness; and a scant
one hour sunlight a day may push the degree of lightlessness of even
shade-lovers to the limit. But here are some possibilities:
The #1 dry shade plant in my gardens is mahonia or oregon gape, just about
any species of it. A spot where I had planted salal (which can adapt
somewhat to dry shade) was just too dark & too dry for the salal, so I
replaced it with mahonia, which blooms & fruits & is just very successful,
but also spiky-leafed, which can be a drawback when I need to crawl around
back there in the dark underbrush to do leaf-fall clean up or whatnot.
Here's one of mine:
My #2 dry shade lovers are epimediums. They might needwatering to get
established, but not much even to start off. I have some "spare"
epimediums from dividing spreading clumps that are growing down a dry
shade embankment near the mahonias, but mostly I plant them under large
shrubs where they don't mind being overshadowed by broadleaf evergreens or
having the ground sucked dry by the shrubs' rootsystems. This variety has
been the most aggressive at spreading:
The #1 bulb in our gardens that clearly prefer sdry shade are the scillas
that are only abroad in spring, but just fill the dry shady areas with
blossoms while they're going. We've four varieties that have naturalized,
& though they have spread into some of the damnedest places, what every
self-selected locatioin has in common is shadiness & dryness, as deep
under eaves as they can get, & at the foot of thick large shrubs that suck
the ground dry even during rainy season. When I've dug around in areas
where they've gone wild, I usually discard any extra soil on the roadside
because I don't want to spreadthe scillas in too many new places, & the
ones out by the road do okay too (in full sun), but no comparison to their
enthusiastic display in the shade.
Geranium macrorrhizum is a hardy geranium with a thick woody root. This
root makes it much the most drought-hardy of the crane's-bills. I have it
growing in a very dry very dark location where even weeds weren't growing
previously. In that spot it blooms poorly for want of sun, but the leaves
are healthy and pleasing. A few other crane's-bills are ballyhoooed as dry
shade possibilities & I've tried several, but all others I've tried for
dry shade begged for water, G. macrorrhizum the major exception. This
would exclude the variegated form which needs a bit of watering.
Aegopodium podagraria or ground elder (bishop's weed) thrives in dry
shade. It IS a weed or wildflower, but can form an awfully pretty
groundcover. Here's a picture of it in bloom:
So too sweet Woodruff can be a nasty spreading weed in bright shade with
moisture, but it is a restrained groundcover that still blooms well in dry
Lamium can stand a BIT of droughtiness, but not serious dryness for any
length of time, & dislikes compacted soil.
Vinca minor thrives in shade wet OR dry.
Diplacus (or Mimulus) puniceus, the Monkey Flower, does well in either wet
OR dry shade.
Bergenia elephant ears may not bloom as well in dry shade as they do with
a bit of sunlight, but the big fat leaves will thrive with a year-round
St John's Wart prefers watering & light, but adapts very easily to shade &
Sword Ferns are pleasing native ferns, very large; they do shockingly well
in dry shade.
Several common spirea cultivars, as well as native wild spireas, form
thick green or blue-green shrubs in dry shade & look very pleasing, even
though flowers will be weaker without water & sun.
Lily of the valley & false lily of the valley can spread like mad even in
Carex is the best ornamental grass for dry shade.
Wood asters bloom swell in either dry or moist shade, though the flowering
wiry stems will likely "creep" in the direction of the most sun.
Hostas are usually recommended for moist shade, but some of the really
big-leafed deep-rooting ones do just fine in dry shade.
Lungworts. This is a mixed bag. I've seen them planted downtown in dark
neglected areas where they bloom great in earliest spring in harsh dry
ground mulched with ugly big hunks of cedar. The cultivars I have,
however, get scruffy fast if they don't get well watered. If you can find
those cultivars specifically praised as dry shade varieties, then they're
probably good choices.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
Okay, as you can see I'm new in this area, so maybe I did not ask the
question correctly. Based on what I've been reading in this group, it seems
there is a correlation between zone and the best plants for that region. I
thought every region had a designated zone. I was not successful in finding
an explanation on the WEB. Maybe someone can identify some sites that
DC looks like 7a. All the hardiness zone tells you is the low temp of the
area. Many plants have a hardiness zone on the label that will read
somelike "Hardy to -10 degrees" or something similar. The label should also
tell you the sun and water requirements. The hardiness zone is just one
part of the puzzle for what plants will do well in your area.
Does this help some?
that's interesting info. Yes, I plan on a trip to Wal*mart, but God
was I not ready to spend more
money on this type thing, but oh well.
I need a fridge anyway. The fridge will be to store sodas.
'in the middle of it I went into a coffee shop&I expanded myself on
good coffee. After a couple of hours I went back and they asked me if
had any wins. I said, "sure sure," so they sent me to attest to being
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