Groundcover – For Bank

Q: My husband and I  are in the process of building a new house and will have a large, steep bank dividing the yard from the road. What can you recommend for a fast, low-growing, attractive ground cover for this area.

A: Keep in mind that fast-growing plants could also be invasive. Consider your situation and the recommendations in the sidebar. Keep in mind that NO PLANT will thrive unless the soil is enriched around its roots (except maybe creeping liriope and English ivy). Make a “pocket” for each plant on the bank using three bricks laid end-to-end, parallel to the top of the bank. Add two shovelful’s of soil conditioner to the spot and mix it six inches deep before planting.

Groundcover Choices

For Sun

Spreading juniper – Juniperus chinensis, J. communis, J. conferta, J. horizontalis
Forsythia – Forsythia intermedia
Carolina jessamine – Gelsemium sempervirens
Winter jasmine – Jasminum nudiflorum
Creeping raspberry – Rubus pentalobus
Saint John’s-wort Hypericum calycinum

For Part Shade

Green ‘n Gold Chrysoganum virginianum
Groundcover Strawberry Fragaria cvs. ‘Lipstick’, ‘Pink Panda’
Mondo Grass Ophiopogon japonicus
Monkey Grass Liriope muscari

Invasive Unless Controlled

Spreading liriope Liriope spicata
English ivy Hedera helix
Periwinkle Vinca minor or Vinca major
Wintercreeper Euonymus fortunei

Groundcover Roses:

‘Carefree Delight’
‘Flower Carpet Appleblossom’
‘Flower Carpet Red’
‘Flower Carpet White’
‘Magic Carpet’
‘Fire Meidiland’
‘Magic Meidiland’
‘White Meidiland’


Here are some to consider:

Full sun to partial sun

Dwarf abelia
Creeping raspberry
Winter jasmine
Asiatic jasmine
Purple wintercreeper euonymus
Carolina jessamine
Creeping juniper
Ornamental grasses (hardy fountain grass, maidengrass, Northern sea oats, etc.)
Low-growing cotoneaster (watch out for lacebugs)
Creeping gardenia

Partial sun to light shade

Chrysoganum ‘Eco Lacquered Spider’ (also called “Green n Gold”)
Groundcover strawberry
Clumping monkey grass (Liriope muscari)
Spreading monkey grass ( Liriope spicata)
Mondo grass (not the very dwarf varieties though)
Lenten rose

Footstones can be provided to direct foot traffic off of the plants.

Remember that NO PLANT will prosper on an eroded clay bank. All of the plants mentioned above MUST have a big pocket of loamy soil in which to grow initially.

hellebore flower

hellebore flower

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