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Oh, what to plant under/front of lilacs?

Posted by bigpaws12 7 (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 23, 10 at 0:42

Howdy and thanks.. I've got a short and narrow bed of lilacs on the "unused" side of my home. It's a challenging spot.. Gets BLASTED by the sun about 2/3 of the day (southeast facing), and we've got some hard clay here- it's on a slope so it's too well-drained. I'm looking for some suggestions to fill the area under/in front of the lilacs... hoping to find a nice perennial, flowering perhaps, maybe a mounding ground cover that can take these conditions too. How the lilacs have made it I have NO idea! I need something that can take abuse and dish it back to me with flowers ;) I don't want anything that grows greater than 18" high, and I don't need evergreen. It'd be nice to have something that either blooms at the same time (April) or follows soon thereafter. No poky thorny stuff!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Oh, what to plant under/front of lilacs?

I can't help you out really. A little princess spirea self seeded in front of one of my lilacs but I love your phrase "no poky thorny stuff"!

RE: Oh, what to plant under/front of lilacs?

Hmmm... not really original but perhaps one of the low sedums, like the red 'dragon's blood' or yellow'acre'?? Or maybe star of bethlehem. I don't have trouble keeping it in check around here since I mow next to it. Good luck!

RE: Oh, what to plant under/front of lilacs?

Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan) will meet all your requirements but the one about April blooming (most are mid-summer bloomers). They are indifferent to clay/poor soils, re-seed happily if allowed to, bloom prolifically, shrug off drought once established, and love hot, sunny locations. Unlike many flowers, they will tolerate the alkaline soils your lilacs prefer. As a bonus, they come now in many varieties and color combinations, even the tallest of which do not exceed 24". If you are willing to amend the soil just a little with some topsoil and compost, Gallardia are another sun-and-heat-loving beautiful selection, which will bloom for MONTHS if deadheaded. Both these choices are robust perennials, and both should be cut to ground level after fall [scattering seed heads if you choose].

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