Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Groundcovers for Shady Spaces

This is Part Two of the Groundcovers post. Yesterday, I listed groundcovers for sunny spaces. Today’s list is for shady spaces.

Moneywort. Also known as Creeping Jenny. I've seen it in chartreuse and plain green. This one is a ground hugging groundcover. My neighbor has both of these and the chartreuse one changes color depending how much shade it gets.

Vinca. Also known as periwinkle or creeping myrtle. This evergreen groundcover gets about 6 inches tall and has a small purple flower. I’ve seen it in both plain green and variegated leaf varieties. Vinca thrives in drier soils and does well under trees or decks.

Ajuga. This one is a creeper, too, and has coppery purple leaf. It does get spikes of blue/purple flowers. It’s sometimes called bugleweed and can be invasive. I’ve seen this do really well in contained spaces.

Pachysandra. This groundcover has been a favorite of mine since I was introduced to it when I lived on Long Island. It is a neat, uniform, evergreen groundcover that gets a small white flower. It’s a member of the boxwood family and prefers shady, well-drained soils. In our climate, you need to protect it from winter winds by using marsh hay. It spreads by rhizomes. But, you can propagate it by taking cuttings and rooting those.

Wild Ginger. This is a deciduous ground cover and has a broader leaf than the other plants mentioned. It does really well in part to deep shade.

Sweet Woodruff. I love this deciduous groundcover. It has bright green, persistent foliage and small, white flowers. It’s fragrant and prefers moist, well-drained soils in medium to deep shade.

Some folks like groundcovers, some don’t. Even though the name implies that they’ll cover the ground, people are surprised when the plants do their job and then want to rip them out. I think the key is to know the habit of the one you want to use and make sure it’s right for your situation.

1 comment:

Carla said...

It think moneywort is the little champion of shady groundcovers. It will grow anywhere. It has beautiful texture and it adds dimension and contrast to shady spots.

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