groundcovers for shade area

Asked February 2, 2019, 2:34 PM EST

I am looking for a low growing ground cover for a very shady area that will never get enough sun for a good lawn to grow. The area I am looking to plant with other than grass measures about .50'x20'.. It can get lots of water in summers like the one past as our property is in the lower zone of a slight hill. Packasandra has grown successfully under our many oaks, but I would like something different, but hardy. Any native favorites that you would recommend( on the basis of experience)?

Maryland groundcovers plant selection shade

1 Response

You may want to consider a mix of different shade perennials so you do not lose the stand to a disease, insect, or establishment issue. Consider Packera aurea, golden groundsel; ferns; and sedges. Ferns recommended for a shady rain garden in Maryland include: Cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), Royal fern (Osmunda regalis), and Sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis). These all require soil that is damp and occasionally gets saturated. They will not handle very dry soil. Ferns spread by rhizomes and will gradually fill in the area, so how many to plant depends on how "full" you want the garden to look from the start. It would be good to use a 2" layer of mulch around the plants. This will help to retain moisture in the root zone.
Here are some links and resources for more information and plant selections.
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/recommended-native-plants-maryland
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-alternatives
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/native-plants
https://www.fws.gov/Chesapeakebay/pdf/NativePlantsforWildlifeHabitatandConservationLandscaping.pdf
https://mdflora.org/resources/Publications/GardenersGuidelines/Landscaping-Natives.pdf
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/stormwater-water-rain-gardens

mh