GROUNDCOVERS FOR SHADE

Tired of fighting that losing battle to maintain grass in shaded areas. After reseeding that shady area three times in one year, be smart and throw in the towel. There are better ways to keep your landscape inviting and the answer is simple. Groundcovers.

There are several varieties of groundcovers available for shade areas. Shade groundcovers may offer an alternative to turfgrasses in shade areas, but they are not 100% foolproof. Poor soil drainage can cause problems for several species. Some maintenance is required to establish and maintain the groundcover. The following list outlines some of the better groundcover choices for shade areas. Common names are provided, followed by Latin names.

Goutweed Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum'

Persistent, weedy groundcover that spreads via underground rhizomes. It tolerates many soil conditions, deep shade to full-sun, although foliage may scorch in full-sun. Best to plant in contained areas to avoid becoming evasive; cultivar 'Variegatum' most desirable.

Buglewood Ajuga reptans

Low-growing, attractive foliage, spreads via above ground stolons. Prefers moist, well-drained soils in heavy shade to full-sun; protect from winter winds. Cultivars vary in both flower and foliage color.

Lily-of-the-Valley Convallaria majalis

Forms thick carpet of upright leaves, spreads rapidly via rhizomes, very adaptable but does best in well-drained soils, partial to full shade. May crowd out delicate plants. Large quantities of roots and rhizomes are poisonous. Fragrant flowers are very popular.

Purpleleaf Wintercreeper Euonymus Euonymus fortunei 'Colorata'

Readily roots into soil as it creeps along. Heavy shade to full-sun, prefers well-drained soils. Protect from winter winds. Scale can be a problem.

Sweet Woodruff Galium odoratum

Delicate deciduous groundcover that forms uniform mat of bright green, persistent foliage. Small, white flowers. Prefers moist, well-drained soils in medium to deep shade.

Hosta, Plantain Lily Hosta species

Large group of hardy, dependable plants with bold, decorative foliage forming neat, circular clumps. Plants spread slowly via short rhizomes. Adaptable, best in open shade. Some have showy, lily-like flowers. Leaf burn problems in sun. Slugs are common problem but are easily controlled.

Japanese Spurge Pachysandra terminalis

Neat, uniform, evergreen groundcover that spreads via rhizomes to form dense mat. Best in shade, well-drained soils. Protect from winter winds. Potential pest or disease problems if stressed.

Common Periwinkle Vinca minor

Trailing, vinelike evergreen groundcover that roots as it creeps along. Grows in fairly heavy shade to full-sun; although foliage tends to be deeper green and glossier in the shade. Protect from winter wind and sun. Disease problems occur with poor soil drainage and poor air movement.

Woodland Natives (various species)

A wide variety of woodland plants, such as ferns, and trilliums may also be used in areas where turf will not grow or is not desired.

Another suggestion for shade areas is to use a combination of shade tolerant shrubbery in the area. For additional information check Greenscape Gardens shrubbery for shade.