Mixing ground covers?

janavAugust 15, 2013

First off, I'm new to gardening, so I need all the help I can get.

I have an area approximately 100 sq. ft. on the north side of my house that gets some dappled morning sunlight and then some more in the late afternoon/early-evening. One section of this area is shaded during the morning but gets some mid-day sun. Right now, the area has a few well-established hostas and one large fern (closest to the house and in full shade), and is covered by a very large lilac. I'd like to fill-out the bed a little more.

Our local nursery had a sale and I couldn't help myself. In addition to some various coral bells, bleeding hearts, and grapeleaf anemones, I went a little overboard with the groundcovers. I bought chocolate chip ajuga, another variety of ajuga (can't recall right now), pachysandra, crested iris, lily-of-the-valley, and lamium.

The wife loves iris and lily-of-the-valley, so those are staying. But what are your thoughts on mixing up two or more of the others, either in sections or next to each other, and letting them grow into one-another? Is this a bad idea? If not, which two (or three) should I choose? The others can either go back to the nursery or I can use them in a part-sun area in the front yard that currently has some japanese forestgrass and a few ferns.

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I prefer to grow large expanses of groundcovers next to each other. For example, in my front yard, my large expanse of soapwort abuts another large expanse of veronica pectinata.

Be aware that ajuga reptans is considered invasive in some areas of the country. So check with your county extension office to make sure it isn't invasive in your area.

Also, if one of the groundcovers is significantly taller than the other, the taller groundcover may eventually shade out the shorter groundcover.

Other than those caveats, I would say that you could just pick the two or three that look best to you and go for it. All of the ones that you mentioned will grow in shade.or part-sun in most areas of the country.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 4:35PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I think your real problem will eventually be the lily of the valley, which will take over.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 6:31AM
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I thought the same thing as laceyvail. Eventually all you'll have is lily of the valley.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:36PM
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I thought the same thing as laceyvail. Eventually all you'll have is lily of the valley.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 7:12PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

If a groundcover grows well, it may dominate the area.
In back, around my roses, I put Mazus repens and Ajuga. The Mazus would be over-run by the Ajuga, if I allowed that.
I find low, groundcover Junipers almost like sculpture in permanence, with occasional and starting trees, as weeds popping through. And there are both Cotoneasters and Euonymus that seem very permanent, while not necessarily evergreen.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 10:13PM
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