2016-05-28

Eastern Native Groundcovers

I started to reply to a Facebook post and quickly realized I had enough content for a blog post.
Hello from Long Island NY..looking for suggestion for ground cover that won't eat my plants. I would like somthing a bit tamer the vinca . The area is slightly damp..part sun/part shade. Any suggestions. See posted pics! Thanks!!
The accompanying photos show a mix of young trees, shrubs, and perennials in a nice non-lawn streetside garden. The photos show a lot of sun, with some shade. The shade will increase over time as the trees and shrubs fill in.

Another commenter suggested Lamium and Galium, neither of which I would describe as "tame." Either can take over an area in the right conditions.

These are some of the Eastern North American species I've grown and can recommend as groundcover. Some of these prefer shade, some prefer sun. Most of these will spread by runners, stolons, and the like, as "true" groundcovers. Others are effective as groundcovers because of their habit and crown expansion over time.

  • Asarum canadense, wild ginger
    Asarum canadense, wild ginger, growing in my urban backyard native plant garden and wildlife habitat, May 2016
  • Athyrium filix-femina, lady fern
  • Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania sedge
    Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania Sedge
  • Chrysogonum virginianum, green-and-gold
    Chrysogonum virginianum
  • Geranium maculatum, wild geranium
    Geranium maculatum, wild geranium
  • Onoclea sensibilis, sensitive fern
    Onoclea sensibilis, Sensitive Fern, High Rock Park, Staten Island, May 2014
  • Pachysandra procumbens, Allegheny spurge
    Pachysandra procumbens
  • Packera aurea, golden ragwort
    Packera aurea (Senecio aureus), Heart-Leaved Groundsel
  • Phlox subulata, mosspink
    Morning Glory: Phlox subulata
  • Phlox stolonifera, creeping phlox
    Phlox stolonifera, Creeping Phlox
  • Sedum ternatum
  • Thelypteris noveboracensis, New York fern
  • Thelypteris palustris, marsh fern
  • Tiarella cordifolia, hearttleaf foamflower
    Tiarella cordifolia, heartleaf foamflower, May 2016
  • Zizia aurea, golden alexanders
    Zizia aurea, Golden Alexanders
I'm sure I will add to this list as I think of some I've overlooked. There are lots more I've never grown myself.

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