Fast-growing Groundcover Recommendations

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by bayleaf, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. bayleaf

    bayleaf Member

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    I've finally been able to get a large, gentle-sloping area prepared by adding 4-6" of rich topsoil over a hard, silty subsoil. I'd like to plant it with an evergreen groundcover. I'm in Victoria -- I think this is Zone 8.

    I'm worried that it is too late in the season (early Sept) and nothing will have time to become established before the winter rains begin washing my topsoil away. Are there any groundcovers that might have time to take root or should I plant it with something else (suggestions?) for now?
     
  2. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    I've had good luck with pachysandra---mine has been established for 20 years or so, in a shady area alongside my garage.
     
  3. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Pachysandra could be nice. Whatever you choose, if you don't think you have enough time for it to establish before the rains come, lay down some landscape fabric of some type and mulch the planting.
     
  4. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Bayleaf, are you in Victoria BC or elsewhere? I'm in Anacortes, WA and can give you some ideas if you are in the neighborhood. First of all, take Eric's advice to hold your soil no mater where you are. What ever you do DON"T plant IVY!!! ;))) barb
     
  5. bayleaf

    bayleaf Member

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    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'm new to landscaping -- as is likely obvious.

    Barbara I'm in Victoria BC so have (I think) the same climate as you in Anacortes. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. And, yes, I understand your warning about ivy. It was here when I arrived 8 years ago and it's been a fight ever since to keep it contained.

    I like the look of pachysandra and will check out its availability locally. A local nursery has also suggested cotoneaster as fast-growing and possibly able to establish itself over the next two months. Do you folks agree?
     
  6. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Good Bayleaf, we are very similar. Does your weather look as crappy as mine today? Any way...

    Do you want to plant a sheet of the same thing or break it up with different types of ground covers in patches or swaths to match the slope.

    You can go from pillows of several mosses, creeping woolly time or similar ground huggers (there are many of this type). Then something a little higher go with areas of pachysandra; vinca minor, there are shades of blue, pink and white; or Ajuga reptens.

    Then move on to something a bit taller like the cotoneaster procumbens, it stays pretty tight to the ground, or even Lithodora. Then stick in some heath or heathers for height. this will give it a more three dimensional look? I don't care for St. John's wort or Hypericum perforatum because it tends to go nuts.

    The above mentioned, all seem to do well here. Hope this helps some or at least gives you some ideas .....barb

    Years ago I bought my lithodora from Marigold Nursery somewhere over there and hid it in my suitcase to come home. Couldn't find any here.
     
  7. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Could check out Rubus tricolor. I have used it to cover some corners quickly. Bit of a pest, but not too bad as these things go. Readily available in my local garden centres.

    Strawberries work too. Everbearing ones are partially evergreen in my yard.

    Plant a couple of different species - more interesting & if one does not do well, another one might.

    Amen to the don't plant ivy. Some places (Home Depot!) still sell Lamiastrum galeobdolon (Yellow Archangel) that is MAJOR invasive problem also. Please do not plant it.

    gb.
     
  8. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    You should look at all the archived discussions of groundcovers in the Groundcover subforum... last few years.

    A lot of the discussion there revolves around miniature groundcovers which are very low... nice for small areas. They are not particularly fast-growing.

    There is the fast-growing, some would say overly enthusiastic groundcover Sweet Woodruff which is lovely in gentle sun or shade, it is more shade-loving or dappled-shade loving I believe. I think it would transplant well in September. It spreads admirably over a period of a couple of years, dying down a bit flat in winter, not exactly disappearing here in Victoria but just gets very small and ground-hugging, but green. In spring it perks up and grows vigorously to about 6 inches high plus spreading, nice leaf-form with clusters of leaflets going around in a sort of circle to form the leaf, with pretty modest white clustered blooms standing up a bit but not in a weedy style -- very nice. It seems to totally discourage weeds. It "glows" where it grows, hard to describe, but most attractive. It is readily available at all major plant centers. Are you familiar with all the nurseries in the Saanich peninsula? I don't know if we are allowed to discuss commercial centers, but Russell Nursery on Wain Rd is one of the good ones.

    It is not a "woody" groundcover, like a small evergreen shrub, however -- the kinnickkinnick is such a one. I don't find it fast-growing, however... the various cotoneasters seem quite vigorous.
     
  9. gardengal

    gardengal Member

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    Junipers are also good, providing you get plenty of sun in this area. They are very drought tolerant once established, don't like wet feet so perfect for a sloped area, and if deer are a problem, they don't eat these, so far anyway!!! Some varieties we have had great success with: J. Squamata Blue carpet..lovely colour and pretty fast, J. Squamata Holger, new growth is yellow tinged aging to soft green with a lovely soft arching form, and many, many others. If they grab you, I can add a whole list of tried and tested ones. We initially used these extensively because we are in deer drive through country, and these as well as the ornamental grasses, so far are bullet proof. Good luck!!
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Note that slopes do not make a heavy clay soil like a sandy one, the conditions inside the rooting area will be the same as if the bed was level.

    Except where moving water might otherwise sit on top of the ground if there was not a slope.

    Think of a steep bank, like a road cut, with seepage and wetland plants growing on it.
     
  11. tallclover

    tallclover Member

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    I've had amazing luck with tall periwinkle, vinca MAJOR, not to be confused with vinca minor. Vinca Major is taller and spreads quickly, as growth rates go.

    Here are photos of it around my property, keeping the brambles and weeds at bay: Tall Periwinkle, Vinca Major.
     
  12. Gabriolan

    Gabriolan Active Member 10 Years

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    Do you like clover? I love it. Last October I scattered some Dutch white clover seed on areas where I wanted a groundcover, and it grew beautifully. It stayed green all summer without needing water, it's lush, it's beautiful, and it doesn't need mowing.

    I'm also partial to wildflower seed mixtures. The one I planted this last year gave me a garden of stunning beauty with very little effort. Probably doesn't qualify as a groundcover, though.
     
  13. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Not evergreen but perennial---crown vetch, Securigera varia syn Coronilla varia. Used widely here for ground cover/erosion control, esp. on sunny exposed hillsides. Grows enthusiastically and produces masses of pink flowers.
     
  14. sue1

    sue1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Goutweed will take over readily in any area, sun or shade. It's a lovely varigated low-growing groundcover and is evergreen in my area (zone9). However, DON'T let it get out of control - it simply MUST be planted in a garden bed that has barriers around it so the roots don't get out.
     

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