groundcover for steep, very rocky slope?

GoodMachine(z6NJ)June 2, 2005

i have a large slope too steep for grass. also, due to shortcuts taken by the excavator during home construction, you can't jab a shovel *anywhere* and not hit a rock. rocks have migrated to the surface, but there's still enough soil for something to take root in. half the slope is shady all day, the other half gets full-on sun in afternoon.

any recommendations for ground covers that are very aggressive? i have over 1500 square feet to cover. variety is nice- different colors, heights, sizes. any ideas are greatly appreciated! thanks.

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Teri Mastroianni

If you want an aggressive alternative, us crown vetch(deciduous). That stuff will eat your slope. You could also go a more tame route, and use vinca minor. It will cover the hill in a nice evergreen blanket. It will also take bot shade and sun, and show blue flowers in the spring.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 7:20AM
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:) you're local, so I can tell you there's a TON of choices, and half a dozen of them come with low-cost options.

things like Lamium, goutweed (false dead nettle) , spiderwort, and the local daylillies can be planted anywhere along the length of your slope, and they will adapt just fine- they will grow faster on the sunny side, but take shade very well indeed.

all of these will root in the darndest of places- and one plant will become five in just one year. The second year, you can break clumps up and spread them out, adding a layer of mulch, and by the third spring, the slope should be stable enough (and a living layer of topsoil created) that you can plant things like ferns, woodland phlox, and smaller hostas.

for the sunny side, the spiderwort and daylillies just grow faster in the sun, and can be joined by carpet roses, standing or creeping phlox, or sedums... and the sedums in particular are SO easy to propagate- break off a branch, let the end dry out, insert in dirt, keep from drying out completely for a week or so (or stick them in a pot of damp potting soil in the shade for a week) and they make roots. one quart size plant can make 12 babies in a month, and in another month, be ready to harvest again.

:) and if you're close to trenton, I can give you starts of the spiderwort and a sedum with little gold star-flowers.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 1:06PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

my first thought for the sunny part was creeping sedum. This stuff is great! Grows in full hot sun, shallow, poor, rocky soil, and as chinacat said, is extremely easy to propagate. I have a variety (westeinphaner (sp) gold) that turns a burgundy color in fall and winter.

I'm still experimenting with shade groundcovers. Ajuga does okay for me. I keep hearing how aggressive it is, but (so far) for me it is not at all. After several years I'm still not overjoyed with its (lack of) spread. But I've also killed off chameleon plant and bishop's weed (not trying to, mind you, lol!) so you may have better luck with the ajuga than I've had.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 11:12PM
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Thanks everyone for the great info!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 2:59PM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

Not a fast spreader, but I like the odd look of hen and chick. They seem to be able to grow any where.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 12:11AM
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jerseyrose(6B NJ)

If you are in northern NJ, I have lots of variegated Bishop's weed you are welcome to!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 8:29PM
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jerseyrose(6B NJ)

If you are in northern NJ, I have lots of variegated Bishop's weed you are welcome to!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 6:28PM
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I have spiderwort to divide this fall if anyone wants some.
E-mail me at

Anyone have anything to divide they want to share this fall?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 11:12PM
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