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Another Ground cover ideas Question, part shade dappled sun

last month
last modified: last month

I mulched the back border of the north side of backyard recently after building a fence. the area in question has a pack of mulberry trees providing shade and letting in some dappled sun id say. the near edge of the mulch bed is sunnier. I wanted to do pennsylvania sedge as its native and i liked the grassy look but plugs were hard to find and it caused me to reconsider penn sedge anyway. i basically want something more aggresive, similar to japanese pachysandra but not quite so aggressive and ideally native. i considered chrismas ferns and even ordered some but they came in the mail looking so weak i stuck them somewhere else, maybe would still try eastern hayscented fern as it spreads itself but dont want it to blatantly start popping up in my neighbors yard, idk maybe if hes mowing weekly it wouldnt even be noticed or a big deal. I believe a couple blogs i read suggested golden ragwort even in shade, green and gold, mass hostas, wild ginger. While i appreciate a given plant can look nice im really looking for something i can find at a nursery buy a handful and theyll fill in the area over a few years, would be nice to throw a couple other things in there but mainly just want one thing that just works almost as well as liriope, pachy, vinca etc but not those things. Thank you for any help anyone can give.


Comments (17)

  • last month

    Geranium 'Biokovo' or G. 'Karmina' if it's sunny and just slightly shady. If it's mostly shady, G. maccrorrhizum. Evergreen, flowering, highly weed suppressing, highly deer resistant and very easy to control.

  • last month

    @laceyvail 6A, WV i like this idea very much thank you, i didnt want to ask about evergreen in my post as i felt i was already being picky bu thats a big plus for me. ill check my 3 local nursuries thanks again

  • last month

    I like Tiarella for shady areas. I buy plugs from The Pollen Nation and have been happy with their prices and quality.

  • last month

    I don't know what your local nurseries are like--you certainly couldn't get them around where I live. But they are readily available mail order. You don't need a million plugs--start with one area and 4 or 5 plants. By next spring you'll be able to pull out roots (they have long over the surface roots) and just stick those in the ground in a shallow trench. Couple of years, you'll have large areas filled in.

    Mine (I have all three) are in bloom now. If I had a cell phone, which i don't, and knew how to post pictures, I'd post some.

  • last month

    @laceyvail 6A, WV Sigrid here just mentioned a site, im sure I could find them somewhere. i just spoke with a landscaper who was pretty into horticulture, he didnt seem too fond of geraniums when i mentioned them, might have even said theyre more aggressive than pachysandra but i may have mixed that comment up with another ground cover. will geranium want to escape their bed more than pachysandra? regardless i like your buy few and divide multi year approach

  • last month

    @sigrid thank you for that website, its hard to make heads or tails sometimes but i checked it out on your rec and i liked it a lot, i think i will order grasses from there for a separate area, foam flower was another one ive seen in articles as pachysandra replacment. pollen nation might not be selling anymore but ill check again. thanks again

  • last month

    IME geranuims seed around. That makes them hard to control. Pachysandra does seed around, and does not like being mowed. So it is very controllable.

  • last month

    There are many, many Geraniums. The ones I mentioned are a terrific groundcover, and evergreen, which Tiarella is not. They are exceedingly easy to control and I wouldn't trust any "landscaper" that wasn't familiar with them. And they don't seed around at all. As I said, there are many cultivars of geraniums.

    I have used these geraniums for many years in both very sandy soil and heavy clay. I've given away starts of all three I mentioned for over 25 years to people for groundcovers and when I had a garden consulting business, encouraged people to use them.

  • last month

    Just occurred to me that the geraniums mad gallica is referring to are probably G. sanguinium which indeed seed about unmercifully. As I remember, they shoot their seed some distance--a real PITA.

  • last month

    G. sanguinium spreads around bit here, but the worst one is G. macrorrhizum. I like it very much in the right place, so currently I've moving the ones in the wrong place. However, I can see it being a pest if someone doesn't have a lot of deep shade to cover.

  • last month

    Creeping Red Fescue Seed, 'Navigator II', Festuca rubra Seed, 'Navigator II' (ernstseed.com) No mow groundcover that does well in shade to dappled. If you don't mow it forms soft tufts as the blades fall over.

  • last month

    it seems you both, are in dissagreement on G. macrorrhizum which is the kind that seemed to fit my part shade spot so thats not good. are there things like hostas that dont seed or spread but just clump but are deer and rabbit proof?

  • last month

    G mac. simp.y does not spread by seed. Over 30 years experience with it in my yard , giving starts away to many, many people and recommending it to clients. It doesn't seed about. And if you're still nervous, use G. 'Karmina' or 'Biokovo'. They do of course spread--it's what you want in a groundcover-- but as I've now said 3 or 4 times, they are very easy to control and the spreading is slow--they're not galloping Gerties.

  • last month

    @laceyvail 6A, WV ok i trust you and your experience and will likely go forward with G. mac thank you

  • last month

    So you're not overwhelmed, clear a smallish area, mulch it, and put in a few plants. In early fall, pull some of the long rhizomes and lay each in a shallow furrow to help the area fill in. As that area starts to fill in, clear an adjoining area and treat it the same way. As the first area fills in, you'll be able to pull off many more starts. All three of the geraniums can be started this way.

    Let us know how it goes.

  • last month

    @laceyvail 6A, WV any online sites youd reccommend to order geranium?

  • last month

    I believe Bluestone Perennials carries all three I mentioned and they are a reliable company.