0
Your shopping cart is empty.

Native Ground Cover for Northern Plains

jehaller
July 11, 2018


Dan and Tom · More Info


Hello! I am looking for a native ground cover that remains attractive spring-to-fall for a full sun garden. Ideally native to Eastern South Dakota but I'd settle for native to the USA.


Bonus points if you come up with something with silver or textured foliage like my favorite non-native silver carpet lamb's ear!

Comments (18)

  • jehaller

    Has anyone had success growing Plantain-Leaved Pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)?

    Steep Meadowy Front Slope · More Info

  • dbarron

    Well yes, but only where they grow naturally. My woodland area was well carpetted with them and moss. And my advise is off-region, I found pussytoes to look kinda crappy in late summer/fall (probably because we got awfully dry).

    jehaller thanked dbarron
  • WoodsTea 6a MO

    That's also been my experience with Antennaria neglecta. Looks best in spring and early summer before things dry out. But I like it anyway, wish I had more. I imagine it would do better farther north, since its native range extends mostly northward from here into Canada.

    jehaller thanked WoodsTea 6a MO
  • jehaller

    Thank you dbarron and WoodsTea for sharing your experiences - now you have me imagining a walk in the Arkansas and Missouri woods :)

  • dbarron

    It's a lovely place in March, April, and May...but I wouldn't do it now (lol).

    I was just thinking I can't wait till October when I can get in the woods again.

    Depending on your taste and height tolerance, yarrow can be a good ground cover.

    jehaller thanked dbarron
  • Skip1909

    I started and planted 7 Antennaria plantaginifolia from seed this year, thats all the germination I got. I am hoping it spreads in the next few years. Now that its hot and relatively dry it is getting a little crispy, but it seems to bounce back with water.

    jehaller thanked Skip1909
  • dbarron

    Another suggestion is a prairie grass like buffalograss or my favorite, prairie dropseed.

    jehaller thanked dbarron
  • Jay 6a Chicago

    The grass idea is great. I love my prairie dropseed, and can't wait to grow buffalograss for the first time next year. Silene coronaria has fuzzy silver white leaves and beautiful maroon flowers. Stays close to the ground, except when sending up flower spikes. It will have many offspring through seeding. aka Rose Campion. I have never seen so many pussytoes together at one time. It must be like heaven for Painted Lady butterflies.

    jehaller thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • WoodsTea 6a MO

    Prairie dropseed where I live is too tall for a groundcover, though. I've had five-foot tall (or long, since they flop over) spikes, though they are usually in the 3-4' range.

  • dbarron

    Woods, your soil must be too rich or something, mine are only about a foot high in foliage, though flowering stems may reach 3 or so. At this point, they're a lovely round ball (or lovely to me).

    Rich soil not usually being a burden :)

  • jehaller

    I love the short grasses idea. There will be some Northwind switchgrass at the back of the border and a prairie style planting elsewhere with 5 native grasses. We should start a houzz garden tour - like Air BNB but for just a stroll through each others' gardens ;-P

  • dbarron

    Hee, switchgrass (for me) was more like marsh grass...quite tall (taller than me if I remember correctly). That's much harder to fit into a garden.

  • WoodsTea 6a MO

    My soil is definitely too rich for good prairie dropseed (or sideoats grama, etc.) form, though I think it's also that the last several years were abnormally wet. My original plan for the hell strip was that it would be an inhospitably dry location and I chose plants accordingly. That's always how it seemed back when I was trying to grow fescue on it.

    This year has been much drier so far. We'll see how it goes with the dropseed later in the season. At this point they seem smaller than usual, but still not quite what I'd call groundcover size.

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    I'm not sure if I'm growing switchgrass or not. I need to identify all the kinds I have. The taller ones are a bit troublesome when they lean over on my native flowers like Echinaea, which hates being crowded. Any new grasses I grow, I don't want anything taller than 2 feet. My yard's too small to keep a buffalo to keep the grasses shorter. What I do have is Junegrass,Little Bluestem, Side Oats Gramma, Purple Love Grass, Bottlebrush Grass, Canada Wild Rye, and Indian Grass. So far thinking of adding Blue Gramma and Buffalo Grass. Jehaller, I think you were looking more at natives, and Rose Campion isn't native. Can't think of any silvery furry natives that fit the bill, but there are some that stay close to the ground, and have striking foliage like Hieracium venosum and Hieracium maculatum.

    jehaller thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • Skip1909

    Theres a dwarf cultivar of prairie dropseed- Sporobolus heterolepis 'Tara'. Ive never tried it but saw it at a nearby nursery. Also try Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'

    jehaller thanked Skip1909
  • jehaller

    Blonde ambition is one of my favorite new grasses.

  • dbarron

    TexasRanger's opinion on grasses is that the straight species is usually more vigorous than selections. That may or may not be a good thing. I usually only use clumping grasses, so it doesn't lead to problems for me.

    jehaller thanked dbarron
  • bostedo (8a tx-dfw-blackland prairie)

    The golden groundsels are nicely spreading natives. Packera obovata (Roundleaf) benefits from some shade in north Texas, but may handle full sun in your zone according to some sources. Cover is similar to Ajuga, though unsure whether it remains evergreen across its range. Patch expands by runners at a manageably quick pace. Can seed out in right location, but we rarely get volunteers in our Blackland Prairie clay. P. aurea appears similar, though no experience with this one.

    jehaller thanked bostedo (8a tx-dfw-blackland prairie)

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun).