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Anita Asked

Looking for groundcover for: sunny location, clayish soil, hillside, deer resistant, low height (under 12″) low maintenance. Probably impossible to find all these requirements, but sunny, deer resistant , clay soil would be main factors. It can have a flower or not. Would appreciate your recommendations. Live in Northern Ky. Thanks so much!

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Anita: Replacing grass with ground cover on a hillside is a great way to eliminate mowing and help prevent erosion. In general, ground covers are considered low-maintenance. Deer resistance, clay soil and full sun eliminates some options but there are many other choices.The following is a list of perennial groundcovers that meet the criteria for your space:

Mazus reptans (Cupflower) is evergreen and will fill in quickly. It reaches 2-3″ tall and can handle some foot traffic. Mazus produces sweet lavender flowers in the summer.

Veronica umbrosa Georgia Blue (creeping speedwell) is also evergreen and produces a true blue flower in the spring. This veronica will grow to be 6-8″ tall.

Plumbago (Leadwort) is a personal favorite. It is not evergreen but the brilliant fall color and intense blue flowers make up for it. It will grow 8-10″ tall.

Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny) is a fast growing option that will create a dense mat reaching 2-3″ tall. The foliage is chartreuse and yellow flowers appear in the summer.

Vinca (Periwinkle) is a tried and true groundcover that will quickly form an evergreen carpet on your hillside. This vine produces lavender flowers in throughout the summer. I hope these suggestions set you in the right direction.

This might be a good time to have your soil tested so it can be amended if needed before planting the ground cover. This can be done at your County Cooperative Extension Service for a minimal fee. It is always good to know the condition of the soil before adding to the garden. Happy Gardening!


Angie Oakley

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