need evergreen groundcover for shade

philosopher(Zone 5a WI)May 26, 2011

hi--i have asked this question numerous times over the years, but everything i try doesn't seem to work. we have an easement strip between the sidewalk and the street. there is a huge basswood tree there. the grass wasn't doing well at all, plus it is a real hassle to mow (basswood roots all over the place). so i got rid of the grass, and now i need an evergreen groundcover that will work in that area. it seems to drain very well. i have already tried mother of thyme, but the basswood provides too much shade.

i thought about pachysandra. what do you all think about that? what about sweet woodruff? i need something that will provide some late fall/winter/early spring interest if at all possible.

one last caveat: we are in wisconsin, and the area will get lots of snow as the plows do their jobs. it does drain really well, though, which is surprising.

help! i can't go on with this awful looking strip for much longer. thank you! kathy

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Periwinkle (vinca minor).

But I hope you have flame throwers handy.

Give it some loose soil to root into, water to get it established, and then try to keep it from eating small children and pets.

Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not plant pachysandra, ever. At least periwinkle only spreads by runners, and it is shallow rooted.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:28AM
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I'm not sure why the extreme feelings about pachysandra - it is no more aggressive or potentially invasive than vinca :-) And just as easy to control the spread if attempting to encroach on areas where not wanted. It is extremely cold tolerant, evergreen and prefers a shady position, much the same as vinca and they can be used interchangeably. The harsher the zone and the growing conditions, the less likely either of these will get out of control.

It is important to remember that one of the primary functions of a groundcover is to cover real estate, so a more or less aggressively spreading habit is desirable. With any kind of groundcover, some sort of routine maintenance is going to be necessary to keep the plants restricted to their specific area - nothing is plant and forget :-) Otherwise, taller growing but more clumping forming shrubs or perennials may be appropriate.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 9:53AM
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