Steep Hill – Landscaping

Q: I have a bank at the front of my home, it is approximately at a 60 degree angle, it is quite a large area, and it is in full south/east sun for most of the day.

I planted 35 Vincas two years ago, but they aren’t spreading fast enough and I am getting a good bit of erosion. I was wondering if there is some type of seed that I can plant to get a full stand of flowers, specialty grass, etc.

I would like something that stays green year round, and would love for it to flower (but that is optional). Do you have any ideas?

A: Theresa Schrum replies: “In my professional opinion, something that steep really needs to be terraced – either with retaining walls, carefully placed boulders or something similar. It is practically impossible to get something to take hold on that steep a slope without being washed out and Vinca doesn’t like full sun.

Here is what you can try instead. Plant Homestead Purple Verbena (at the top) and let it spread downhill. A one gallon plant can cover an area 20×20 in a single season in good growing conditions. It doesn’t look that great in the winter, but it does flower from spring until fall.

While it’s holding the hill, plant evergreen shrubs and ornamental grasses among it to fill in; start at the top. Once you have the hillside planted, then you can remove or trim back the verbena.

When planting shrubs and grasses on the slope, create a flat planting area by digging into the hill. This offers the plants the greatest chance of not getting washed out in a heavy rain.”

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