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Need help selecting a groundcover plant

Posted by darthr2 5b (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 30, 12 at 15:21

Just built a flowerbed over the weekend. There used to be this large pit in the ground at the northeast corner of my backyard, and I filled the pit with mostly your dear old Colorado's clay soil, mixed with gardening soil - the pit was way too big to be filled with only gardening soil, I'd be broke buying gardening soil. I planted two Lowe's-bought Forever & Ever hydrangeas in the flowerbed.

I need some groundcover plants to cover the rest of the surface of this flowerbed:
- The soil is clay-like. Groundcover must be tolerant to that.
- The flowerbed is in the northeast corner so it only gets partial sun.
- It is right next to the fence so I don't want something that can easily spread into my neighbor's yard (no no to periwinkle or anything that creeps) or my own backyard lawn.
- The groundcover cannot be so competitive that it takes over my hydrangeas.
- Obviously I will have to water the hydrangeas as much as they need. I hear sedums and iceplants spread out of control if they get enough water, so those may not be viable options either.
- The shorter the better, something shorter than 6".
- I am lazy so I prefer groundcover plants that don't need winter protection.
- I am willing to reseed every year but prefer not to (again, lazy).
- I don't care if the groundcover is flowering, or what shape/color its leaves are, or if it is evergreen, etc. Just want the groundcover to protect the soil from erosion and weeds; no ornamental purpose intended. Of course I wouldn't mind if I did get something pretty!

I know mulch meets all my needs but it'd be too boring... Your suggestions and recommendations are highly appreciated!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

  • Posted by skybird z5, Denver, CO (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 30, 12 at 17:04

Hi Darthr,

Welcome to RMG!

I can recommend some things, but have some questions first! How big is the area you're talking about? And about how many hours of sun is your partial sun? Also, you mention erosion--is this on a level surface or is it a slope?

Sample!

I wouldn't recommend Vinca to anybody!
:-)
Skybird


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Forgot this!

  • Posted by skybird z5, Denver, CO (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 30, 12 at 17:07

I forgot to ask! Are you in the Denver Metro area, or are you somewhere else, like at a higher altitude or some other considerably different conditions from the Denver area?


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

I do live in the Denver Metro area. :-)

As to erosion, here is the deal: my whole backyard is a slope, so when I filled that pit I tried to make it even to the ground - which made it also a slope! The now flowerbed is next to the fence so I am afraid if I don't do something to keep the soil where they are, they will eventually be washed into my back neighbor's yard (which is downhill).

Area is small, about 30 sqft. The corner receives about 4-5 hours of morning sun depending on the season - I planted Dahlia in that corner last year and they did well.

Thanks, Skybird!


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

  • Posted by skybird z5, Denver, CO (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 30, 12 at 18:11

One more question then! Being somewhere in the Metro area, I'm assuming you have a privacy fence that goes all the way down to the ground! Is that right? And if that is right, are you afraid your soil is going to wash down "against" the fence, or actually "into" the neighbor's yard?

Asking because NO groundcover is going to grow "up the the fence" and STOP if the fence doesn't go down to the ground. I won't/don't recommend anything that's "invasive" or really hard to handle, but whatever it is you decide on is going to need to be "stopped" by "something," even if that "something" is just a a 4 x 4 or something you lay along the edge of the bed.

Skybird


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

Oh, my fence is board-by-board and does go all the way down to the ground. "Soil being washed down against the fence" is what I am actually trying to avoid. Whatever I end up planting will be stopped by the fence. :-)


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

  • Posted by skybird z5, Denver, CO (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 30, 12 at 20:41

Ok! Thanks for all the answers! That last question was because, believe it or not, when I used to sell this stuff I'd get--way more often than I would have believed if it hadn't happened to me--people that would come in and want a ground cover that was going to fill in an area FAST, and then not "go any further" when it got to the edge of whatever they were trying to fill in! Ain't gonna happen! LOL!

First, about the iceplants! The "original" iceplants, Delosperma nubigenum--the yellow, and Delosperma cooperi--purple, spread fast---and would be stopped by the fence, but they have a problem with suddenly dying off all or most of the way. They also tend to root more "loosely" and wouldn't do a really good job of "securing" your soil until they were VERY well established, and that's assuming major portions didn't die on you!

What I posted above is also an iceplant, Delosperma basuticum. It forms a VERY dense mat--but--it spreads much more slowly than the older kinds. That's going to be true for pretty much any groundcover you get--the more densely it grows, the more slowly it will grow. The one I posted above is 'White Nugget' which I've had for a good six years now and I've not had any problems at all with die off. There's also one that's exactly the same thing, 'Gold Nugget', that has yellow flowers instead of white ones. They can take FULL sun, but 4-5 hours should be enough to keep them looking good. The flowers only open when they're in the sun, so they wouldn't be open as long as they would with more direct sun! Evergreen, and the foliage can turn a little bit "pinkish" over winter. When done blooming the new growth tends to "grow past" the old flowers, so no real "cleanup" involved.

The next thing I'd recommend for "covering power" would be Ajuga. They form a very dense root system and would be great for your purposes--once they filled in all the way. They spread the fastest in spring--like right now!, and then keep spreading a little more over summer. They bloom in spring and really, really need to be sheared down after blooming or the dead stems just stay there looking worse and worse! They're semi-evergreen to evergreen, depending on the winter and the conditions like watering in winter. Can take any light conditions, and spread "on the surface" so they can pretty much be pulled or dug out to "restrain" them when they get as far as you want--but it's something you would need to keep doing, especially in spring, to keep them in bounds! But that's something you'll need to do with any ground "cover!" Ajuga can take all kinds of watering conditions--but it definitely looks nicer if it's watered regularly--and by that I'd be talking about a good DEEP watering at least every couple weeks. Since you're watering on a slope, you're going to need to get in the habit of watering for short (15 minute?) periods and then waiting a half hour or more and watering more--until you've watered at least an inch, to water deeply. If you water an inch of water all at the same time on a slope without taking a break, much of the water will just run off with clay soil---and watering short periods every couple days never gets the water deeply enough into the soil to be truly effective.

This one is Ajuga reptans 'Royalty'. It's very similar to 'Bronze Beauty', which you're far more likely to find at a garden center, but I think 'Royalty' is prettier! Hmm! Can't seem to find a pic of this one when it's blooming, but check out the next one, and the 'Royalty' flowers are the same but a little bit bigger!

This one is called 'Chocolate Chip' and it has the smallest leaf of all the Ajugas, which means it spreads more slowly than the larger ones, but it's pretty--and grows very densely!

There's also just plain green, Ajuga reptans! Same size as 'Royalty' or 'Bronze Beauty' but very "ho-hum" green leaves!

I have a small yard, and you can see in the pics how I'm able to stop this stuff where I want it by digging/pulling the stuff around the edges--and giving it away at our swaps!

If you go out looking for Ajuga, I recommend you not get 'Burgundy Glow'! It's pinkish and people tend to be drawn to it, but it's less vigorous than many of the others, and may or may not do very well for you. Other ones that wouldn't cover as well and might have a die off problem would be 'Silver Beauty' and 'Variegata'.

Then there's the other thing you mentioned! The sedums! There are many, many types of Sedum, some of which spread more quickly than others! Many of them get leggy or ratty looking if they're not cut back at least once a year, and I usually cut mine back a couple times a year to keep them dense and good looking. Almost all of them would need to be cut down after blooming to keep them looking decent, and I try to cut them (all the way) down in early fall when they'll have time enough to grow back and look good over winter. Cutting them down also helps them to come back more densely, so it would be beneficial for your purposes.

Here are a few of the ones I have so you can see what they look like when they're "tended!" These are all evergreen ones!

The first one is a very common one called Sedum spurium 'Dragon's Blood'. It has plain green leaves in summer and this is a pic of it in winter--which is where the name comes from. This one can get very leggy and definitely does better if cut back a couple times a year. In this pic it looks like I didn't get it cut back quite early enough for it to completely grow back out before it went dormant!

This is another common one, and another one that gets leggy and cutting back after blooming and again in fall will keep it looking good! Sedum spurium 'Tricolor'. It's hard to pick up the pink in the leaves in pics with this one, but the leaves area green, white AND pink! The winter color is very much pink!

Here's a pic with 'Tricolor' on the right, 'White Nugget' starting to bloom, another iceplant above that that wouldn't work too well for you, and then two different hen & chicks above that! (If you click on the pic, the caption has the names of everything!)

Another pic of the same area taken a couple years earlier!

This one is Sedum pachyclados, and it very definitely needs to be cut down at least once a year or it gets all "ratty stem" looking!

And here's one with a plain green leaf. Sedum hybridum. Also needs at least one cutting back a year!

Sedum also spreads on the surface and is quite easy to limit its spread by just pulling/digging out whatever you don't want!

And with all the cutting back of the sedums, if you want to start spreading your groundcover more quickly, you take all the cuttings you get and make new plants---and then when they start growing you cut them down---and make more---ad infinitum! [If you need info, I can tell you what to do with all the sedum cuttings!]

With the Ajuga and iceplant, you can also easily start to dig small rooted pieces off when they start to spread, and move them to other places where you still need it to fill in--rather than just waiting for the original plant to spread as far as you want it!

And unless you really want all of one thing, the other thing I'd recommend is some hen & chicks, Sempervivum. There a many, many, many different varieties which give you different colors and sizes, and they often have a dramatically different color in late winter and especially in spring. In case you're not too familiar with all the different kinds, below is a link to a thread I started a few years ago. Most of the pics I posted are their prettier spring color! Again, easy to control since they spread on the surface.

Those are the main ones I'd recommend for a good, dense cover and ease of growing, but there are others, like the creeping Veronicas, if you're interested in more. This is my favorite Veronica, called 'Waterperry'! Spreads on the surface, and I cut mine down after blooming--which can some years be twice a year. Probably wouldn't really need it, but it looks better if cut down and it helps to keep the root system dense--and I think it's moe likely to bloom a second--and sometimes a third--time if the old flowers are cut off!

Let me know if you have any questions about any of these!

Skybird

P.S. Don't know if you noticed the thread or not, but we have plant swaps here in the Metro area twice each year, the Spring Swap is coming up in a couple weeks, and I'll have (small) starts for some of these things!

Here is a link that might be useful: Hen & Chicks Addiction!


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

Ceratostigma Plumbaginoides

http://www.perennials.com/plants/ceratostigma-plumbaginoides.html

I love how it changes colors.


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

  • Posted by Lesuko 5, Boulder CO (My Page) on
    Tue, May 1, 12 at 0:29

Hi Skybird,

That was a very helpful posting on ground covers. I will need a lot as we are xericscaping our yard. Is this info something you picked up or is there a reference somewhere? I ask because I've been looking at ground covers for a while now and have not read anything about dead heading.

I was wondering if all variegated GCs are weaker and will therefore die off, or if it was just the one you mentioned. I like the online photo of �Emerald Gaiety� wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei).

Also, would you have a recommendation for GCs that can handle some foot traffic but are still nice looking? A thyme and turkish veronica were recommended by a local nursery but I was wondering about other options. I plan to plant some in between paving stones so no doubt they will get stepped on.

Oh, hopefully those of us in Boulder can also participate in the swap? I really liked how you mixed the GCs and may copy it. Don't know why I was thinking I needed sections of individual covers.
Thanks,
Leslie


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

My Chocolate Chip and my Royalty ajugas from skybird are blooming now. Chocolate Chip has prettier flowers, in my opinion. Royalty has bigger leaves and is sending runners in all directions. (I hope they root, so I can share starts with others.) They did not die back to the ground over the winter. The leaves became very dark, still fairly attractive though they got rattier-looking by late winter.

Of course you can come to the swap, whether or not you have anything to share. It's in Greeley, not too far from you. Find the thread that mentions it and send an e-mail or private message to the host.


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

I'm also a fan of the ajugas, and they do well in my yard despite the crappy clay soil (amended, but still clay). The royalty has performed best. It actually does get stopped by the fence, which doesn't matter to me if it creeps as my fence is just separating my front/side and back yards. H


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

Well, there is a reference--of sorts, Leslie! It's about 60 years worth of "stuff"--in my head! Been doing this for a long, long time! When I was only 10 or 11 years old I was out--barefoot--waiting on my parents' perennial customers and digging up field-grown plants for them! Have always loved green growin' things! Also helped in my Uncle's greenhouses, right next door, when they got busy and the "grown ups" needed help! My brother in Illinois--even older than me!--still grows/sells bedding plants and veggies for a couple months in spring! The first actual gardening "experience" I remember was when I was three years old and sat down on the grass next to our huge veggie garden to eat some peas, which were what was next to the grass---and I SAT on a bee! My first bee sting!!! But I was already helping plant the "big seeds" by then, so "gardening" goes back pretty much as far as I can remember!

Glad to answer any groundcover questions you may have, but if you have specific questions you'll get more answers, from more people, if you start a separate thread about "whatever." Since everybody tends to recommend the things they like the best, you get more variety when more people respond.

It's not unusual for variegated perennials to be less vigorous than "plain" ones, but that's not at all always true. Just depends on the plant and the variety. If you're looking at something specific, google for it online and look for comments from "real people." Obviously if you just look at the info from the places that sell it, they're only gonna tell you the "good" things about it! For instance! They will almost never use the word "invasive!" They'll sometimes say something about a plant "spreading," or "covers quickly," but they'll seldom "warn" you that it's going to Eat Your Yard! Same thing's true for plants that are less vigorous or questionably hardy! All they want to do is sell it--and after that it's your problem! So for things you don't really know about, I recommend posting here or searching other forums and such for "user" information.

About the Euonymus! That's a woody plant that's usually sold in the nursery rather than the perennial department, so I don't know a whole lot about it! BUT, I do know this! There was one in here when I bought this house. This'll tell you what I think of it! I just looked thru all my albums for a pic of it--and I never took any! The best one I can find is this--which is really a pic of my yellow columbine! The Euonymus is the thing behind the columbine that's going up the wall and up the gutter in the background! When I moved in here, "that thing" was sprawling all the way out, half way in front of the steps in the pic! It was going ALL the way up the wall---and it grows UNDER the siding, wrecking it! I cut down most of it, but left a little bit so there'd be something there till I was able to plant what I wanted in that area. I had NO idea how obnoxious it would be!

It roots absolutely anywhere the woody stems come into contact with the soil. And it grows FAST, especially in spring! It will grow thru, around, and "under" just about anything! I still have those "little" pieces" of it in there--which I hack back multiple times each year, but I MUST get new siding, and when I do--it's GONE! As a groundcover? Guess it depends on what you're looking for. When I moved in this stuff was a good two feet high, and the best way I could describe what it looked like would be" Sprawly! It IS evergreen, tho even with limited sun, mine tends to sunburn quite easily in winter when it's dormant. I don't know what variety it is, but it is definitely Euonymus fortunei, and since it's variegated it might very well be 'Emerald Gaiety". Based on my experience I wouldn't recommend it unless someone wanted "something" somewhere like on the edge of a rather large yard to just fill in space--and even then I think it would take considerable effort to keep it from spreading all over the place--unless that's what the person wanted. Also, I had no idea about this, but when I was looking up the variety you mentioned I ran into this. Apparently it's considered to be an invasive species in the Midwest and East. With the drier climate I doubt that it would ever get that bad out here, but I really don't know anymore about it! Have I talked you out of Euonymus yet" LOL! Not really trying to if it happens to fit the situation where you were thinking of using it!

For cracks in paths/patios, the easiest to grow and most-likely-to-succeed plant is woolly thyme, Thymus pseudolanuginosis (tho it's been reclassified as other species every now and then, over the years!) Easily identifiable because it has leaves that look more grayish than the other green-leafed thymes, and is slightly "fuzzy" compared to the other thymes. It is definitely the most drought tolerant of the thymes, which is a main factor in its being the easiest to grow in cracks. Tolerates foot traffic very well when it's established. Besides that any of the other creeping thymes would work and take foot traffic well, and while Turkish Veronica, Veronica liwanensis, would work, it's usually considerably less "dense" than the thymes, and it seems to me it wouldn't "fill in" as well, or at least would take a lot longer to do it! The leaves on Turkish Veronica are spaced much further apart on the stems than thyme! Depending on how big the cracks are, you could even put something like the 'Chocolate Chip" Ajuga in them! It will definitely tolerate some foot traffic, but would get ratty looking if it was walked on a LOT. There are lots of other things people recommend, and a separate thread I'm quite sure would get you other recommendations. One important thing when you're planting in cracks is to be sure you have some "decent" soil in the cracks that will hold moisture and nutrients. If your cracks were filled by brushing sand into them, you're gonna have a really, really hard time getting something started in there!

With the deadheading/cutting back I recommend with the ground covers, it depends on what it is--and what you want it to look like. I have a small yard, so I'm not really trying to "cover ground" so the "groundcovers" I have are kept in fairly small patches here and there--I have them because I like the way they look! I love to walk around my yard just to LOOK, I do it a LOT, and I like it when things look neat without a lot of dead foliage/flowers or sprawly stems, so I do what I need to do to keep things neat. (I also love sitting out there "doing things" so I enjoy doing it! And--it gives me things to give away at the swaps!!!) If someone had a large area that they just wanted "covered" and wasn't too concerned about the up-close-and-personal appearance of the plants, most of the ground covers can just be left on their own to do their own thing! All the pics I posted above are of plants that have grown out after being cut back. Here are some samples of some of those things when they're blooming, showing how floppy looking they can get!

First here are some "before" pics of the one area showing the different "winter evolving to summer" color of some of the sedums.

02.23.08

04.08.08

04.25.08

The sedums in those pics were cut back in late summer or early fall.

Now here's what the Sedum hybridum against the fence in the second pic looks like when it's just starting to bloom, and as it blooms more, the flowering stems keep getting longer and longer--and when it's done flowering, the dead, brown flowers stay on the stems unless they're cut off.

And here's what the 'Dragon's Blood' looks like when it's just starting to bloom.

And here's the other little "succulent garden"--the first thing I planted when I moved in here--because EVERYTHING else was covered by either ROCK or sod! This is when everything still pretty much had its "winter" color! I think this is the only pic I have that shows how PINK the 'Tricolor' sedum gets in winter!

And here are a couple with the 'Tricolor' blooming. You can see how they're flopping all over everything, and if left that way they would pretty quickly EAT the things growing near them!

If the floppy, sprawling look works for you, you don't mind the brown "leftover" flowers--and there's nothing in the area for them to eat, I say let 'em go au naturale! But I don't have the space, and definitely don't like the "left overs" when they're done blooming. So, like everything else, it just comes down to personal preferences!

Boulder people are very definitely welcome at the swap--EVERYBODY is welcome at the swap [except for axe murderers! Inside joke from the first swap!], but if you haven't checked in on the swap thread yet, post to let us know you're planning to come--and you MUST PM Bonnie so she has your address and can send you her address and directions to her place.

Darthr, if you have questions about ANYTHING I've posted above, please let me know.

Skybird


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

How overwhelming... Thanks a ton, Skybird! I tried to browse your album but kept getting an error. Do you happen to have a groundcover that you grow right NEXT to a flowering bush?


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

Do I have a groundcover growing right NEXT to a bush! Yes AND No! LOL! The pic above of the 'Royalty' Ajuga is growing all around the base of a Honeysuckle bush! Doesn't look like it, does it! Long story! When I moved in here that bush, didn't even know what it was, was "dead!" All the "planting areas" in my yard were covered with rock mulch, which I hate, so as I was trying to get it out of the way so I could plant, I started dumping it on top of the "dead bush!" Had over 3' piled on top of it when we got a couple HEAVY rains--and I saw something "green" coming up thru the rocks! Found somebody to come haul off the rock, and discovered that the "bush" wasn't dead after all! Still didn't know for sure what it was, and decided it would be REALLY nice to have it as a "privacy screen" above the top of the fence, but I have VERY little room for perennials, so I didn't want it taking up all the space at the "base" of the bush--so I wound up doing what's shown in the two pics below---and I got the best of both worlds! Took a good three years to accomplish what's shown in the pics, but I now have wonderful privacy in that corner of the yard--and still have my planting space on the bottom.

So, yes, I have groundcover growing right up to a flowering bush--and, no, it's not any kind of bush you've ever seen before, or will ever see again!

If you're at all curious about the "big picture," this is my only "big" perennial bed which is across the back of my yard. The two junipers were growing all the way down to the ground when I moved in too, and were so big they were killing the grass under them! I did pretty much the same thing with them! Kept the part at and above the fence to give me privacy, and got rid of everything on the bottom that interfered with my "gardening efforts," and was killing the grass! This pic was taken the beginning of May--on a "normal" year! With the early heat we've had this year, all the plants are at least a month ahead of "normal," and the Veronica 'Waterperry' (the lavender thing in the middle) has already finished blooming the first time and I just cut it all the way down today so it can start working on its second bloom. Hoping to get three good blooms out of it this year!

But none of that helped you! None of the groundcovers I recommended above will in any way interfere with your Hydrangeas, even if they grow right up to and around the base of them--and if you don't want that to happen they would be easy to "keep back" a few inches from the base of the plants with some inexpensive "lawn edging" formed into a circle and buried a few inches into the soil with a couple inches left sticking out above the soil. The things I recommended won't go "under" the edging, and if they get leggy and start getting up to the top of the edging they'd be easy to cut or pull out to stop them.

BUT! I really, really, really don't want to rain on your parade, but since I wasn't familiar with the particular variety of Hydrangea you got, I googled it to be sure I was thinking the right thing (I was, but a different species!), and I ran into the site I'm linking below. I don't know anything at all about this site but the person posting sounds to me like they know what they're talking about--and I'm not really too surprised by what they're saying. It's easy to look at a pretty tag at a store, and daydream wonderful visions of what our yards are going to look like--but in this case I'm not at all sure you're getting what you think you are. While "old wood" may survive on your Hydrangeas in warmer parts of the country, everything "above ground" is almost certain to die back out here. Your "bush" is very, very likely to be "coming back" from the ground each year. If you're thinking "bush," as in, lilac-type bush, that's not what you're gonna get. I REALLY don't want to rain on your parade--but I do at least want you to have some idea what to expect so you don't think YOU'RE doing something wrong when it "doesn't look like" what you were expecting.

There was a Hydrangea in here when I moved into this house, Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle', a fairly common one. It grew--from the ground--every year, and bloomed easily with HUGE flowers! Flowers that were SO huge that as soon as we got a little bit of rain and the flower heads got saturated, they flopped over to the ground and broke off--in spite of the fact that they were supported by a "peony cage" and "caged" with twine above that! Here's the Sad Story in pics!

They dry beautifully IF they're able to dry ON the plant, naturally, so I was really hoping they'd dry if I hung them---but it didn't work!

I just couldn't deal with the GRIEF of their demise every year anymore, so I gave the plant away to a friend! I believe it was in way too much sun for a Hydrangea (south side), and when we dug it I discovered it was in the most god-awful heavy clay my friend had ever seen! It's VERY close to potter's clay--and I have a LOT of it around here, unfortunately! So both of those things could have been factors in the stems not being heavy enough to support the flowers--don't know for sure! She has it in more shade and in better soil, and as far as I know it's been working ok for her! Need to remember to ask her next time I see her! I had never grown a Hydrangea before, and while I had it here I was surprised to find how much it spread/suckered from the base of the plant each year. Don't know if your species will do that or not, but just a heads up in case it does!

So if it turns out that your H. macrophylla doesn't work out well for you, there very definitely is a Hydrangea that you can grow successfully in this climate.

About the pictures! I'm assuming you ARE able to click on the individual pics to see the captions if you want to, and the reason you're not able to access the complete albums is because my albums aren't "public" and are only available to folks who have the links to them. The pics I posted are from several different albums, and most of them have at least a couple hundred pics in them. If you really want to look thru them I'd be glad to send you links to the whole albums if you'll PM me with your address. Would just ask that you not post any of them anywhere, or post the links anywhere or send them to other people. Most of the pics are closeups of the perennials in my yard, some with captions and some not! Lot of work to caption a few thousand pics!

Hope some of that info is helpful for you--and really hope the info I posted about the Hydrangea wasn't too much of a downer for you!

Skybird

P.S. If you PM me put RMG or something similar in the subject so I don't think it's spam!

Here is a link that might be useful: Info about Hydrangea macrophylla


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

Oh, I don't care if my hydrangeas die back and then grow from the ground every year. Forever & Ever is said to be compact so I don't quite expect a lilac-size bush either.

I guess the winner is Ajuga here. They look so nice in the photos and Skybird has convinced me that they are easy to handle. Besides, I find this post in the Groundcovers Forum, where jenncolls had ajuga in the same bed with a 5 year old hydrangea: will ajuga harm my shrubs?

Here is a link that might be useful: will ajuga harm my shrubs?


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

And thank all for your help! :-D

Now I just hope my hydrangeas can survive. I transplanted them from pot to ground last weekend and they don't seem very happy now... :'(


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RE: Need help selecting a groundcover plant

I have several Forever and Ever hydrangeas. They come back every year but bloom very sparcely if at all, and they take a ton of water!

For ground cover, check out lamium--pink pewter or white nancy. I also grow several veronicas very successfully--crystal river, and turkish form a dense mat. My thyme also does well with adequate water. I like the very flat-growing types best.


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