Sedums as fillers or...?

pacnwjudy(z8 OR)May 1, 2009

Hello, everyone -

I no longer have a lawn of any sort and have planted out my yard with shrubs (especially those that bloom) and some perennials. I am looking to unify the picture with a groundcover that will cover the bare dirt areas between plants that give the garden an ugly, choppy look.

Since there is quite a lot of ground to cover I'm thinking sedums might be a good choice. They are so easy to propagate. I would like to have very low-growing sedums or just one kind of sedum that are definitely evergreen so I can have good looks in the yard year-round.

I'm here in Portland, the N.E. area. Do you have suggestions for such sedums?

Also, today I bought two sedum rupestre 'Lemon Coral.' Do you think little stems that break off could blow around and root somewhere and overwhelm smaller sedums?

Anyway, I've tried some sedums in the past and haven't been so happy with them. Maybe they didn't continue to look good throughout the season, or they were nesting like mad in the crowns of other plants, or their winter appearance was pretty shabby. I think I need some guidance. :-)

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

No mulching? You should have that anyway. Most garden plants grow much better with a mulch over their roots (but not against their stems).

Very short-growing alpines like stonecrops may require regular weeding on some sites. Unless you are a retired person or another with plenty of time and patience for nurturing a rock garden-style planting, picking tiny weeds out of barely bigger garden plants can become quite a bore. If weed suppression and reduced upkeep are part of what is desired in this situation you need to select and install groundcover plants that are tall and thick enough to form a serious cover. Even salal may have trees and blackberries seed into it and fight their way up into the light. So, complete freedom from upkeep is not likely with a groundcover planting. But the shorter and thinner it is the more the work.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 12:27PM
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drcindy(z8 WA)

I have some sedums in my south facing backyard that are just a wonderful groundcover. I'm sorry I don't know the exact varieties, except they are very small leafed and very low growing. One has a yellow flower and the other has a pink flower. They spread very quickly and are even seeding in other areas. They are also very easy to transplant.

Another good groundcover is knicknick (sp?). It has nice pink flowers at this time of the year. The only bad thing is that it seems to be fairly slow growing. Both this and the sedum have been very good in weed suppression.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:04PM
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pacnwjudy(z8 OR)

Thanks for the replies. I overstated the "bare dirt" thing a bit. I do use commercial garden mulch, but it is the mulched areas I would also like covered with plants. Also, the mulch doesn't hold the soil so well. I need more interlocking roots to hold it in place.

I guess I will just experiment to see what works. I'll try some sedums, see how well different varieties suppress weeds, how well they overwinter, etc. Maybe helianthemums will work. Or something else. Kinnikinick is a great idea too, nice and low, especially the variety 'Massachusetts.'

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 3:13AM
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George Three LLC

aceana varieties have worked for me pretty well. definitely do better year two. they can take shade, so they should cover well between plants.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 11:12AM
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pacnwjudy(z8 OR)

Thanks for the acaena idea. I'm not very familiar with ground covers so this is all new territory for me. I like it that the acaena is suitable for rock gardens. I can use it where I don't want something more wide-spreading.

I might use sedums in my quite narrow parking strip around the low-growing plants I have there and use other plants as ground cover for the body of the yard.

I did some research last night on weed-suppressing ground covers and came up with a few ideas that might be right for me as well. I'm considering using cotoneaster dammeri (I like mooncreeper), rubus pantolobus, and/or waldsteinia fragarioides.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 1:24PM
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