Vinca minor is a very close-to-the-ground very little groundcover. Vinca
major is a bigger versioin; it will have YOUNG upright branches but these
soon become long ground vines. Both V. minor & major can be invasive if
they like where they're at.
There are at least three variegated forms of Vinca major on the market
this season, & I these should make a lovely under-a-maple vine (vincas
dislike much sunlight), & the variegated forms would be slightly less
aggressive but still very easy plants, a very nice option to ivy. The
flowers on V. major are usually just various shades of light to dark blue.
Vinca minor has white, blue, & burgundy flowering varieties, & among the
variegated forms of that 'Illumination' is the brightest.
Ivy may seem like a tedious predictable choice but if you contact an ivy
specialist you will have choices of ivys that are fantastic choices with
distinctive traits; the dwarf English ivies with variegation and/or curly
leaves are not invasive like big boring regular ivy.
-paghat the ratgirl
Get your Paghat the Ratgirl T-Shirt here:
No doubt there is some plants you can grow that don't need light or
moisture, but I'm at a loss to think of any.
However, what I really think I should tell you is that whenever possible,
it's never a good idea to plant anything beneath trees as the plants and the
tree roots compete for the moisture (very little, usually) and nutrients,
and the trees lose out. This publication from the Morton Arboretum (Chicago
area) has a great picture showing the difference between tree roots where
grass is planted compared to where there's only mulch:
Hope this helps!
Suzy in Wisconsin, Zone 5
"The way to avoid housework is to live outside." -Sandra Blacksmith, 1901
Maybe some garden art, and some clusters of container plants. You could even get
sun-loving color spots in the containers, if you rotate them in and out. Get an
old wheelbarrow or two, and put stuff in them. And top it all off with a hammock
on a stand.
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