Show-stopping Native Groundcovers (continued)

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Yellow Stonecrop          Sedum nuttallianum   
USDA Zone 1 - 10b

Yellow stonecrop is one hearty groundcover that meets a variety of needs.  It grows low to the ground in clumps about 2”-4” tall.   Given time it will form a dense carpet of yellow flowers that grow in almost any North American climate given enough sun, since it does not tolerate much shade. 

Yellow stonecrop is a succulent and makes not only a great groundcover, but is also very attractive in a rock garden.  Blooming from April to July, the yellow flowers give way to a fleshy pale green foliage that makes an attractive contrast to the rest of the garden. 


Bunchberry                  Cornus Canadensis
USDA Zone 2-7

Cornus CanadensisBunchberry Photo Credit: Christine4neir/Flickr

Imagine a dogwood growing on the ground.  That’s exactly what bunchberry is.  It has slim stalks about 3”-6” high and  in spring has a distinctive dogwood flower.  The berries are bright red and are persistent through the winter.  In the summer the leaves are showy, glossy and dark green.  In the fall the leaves turn a burgundy red.  Some people find the fruits tasty.
Bunchberry is a perennial herb that grows 6”-8” high and makes a dense groundcover for the understory.  You will find flowers from May to September in white, yellow, green and brown.  Bunchberry spreads underground, and loves to be mulched with shredded bark or pine straw.  It likes moist soil and will tolerate sun, part sun and shade.

Prairie Smoke              Geum triflorum  
USDA Zone 3-8

Geum triflorumPraire Smoke Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

Prairie Smoke is a lovely perennial herbaceous groundcover that is semi-evergreen and grows about 6” -18” high.  Prairie Smoke has unusual blue green foliage that resembles ferns.  The bell shaped flowers are a pretty reddish-purple.  Fall brings the foliage to a deep red, and in warmer areas, the plants may be evergreen.

Prairie Smoke requires moderate water use and is recommended for inclusion in rain gardens.  This lovely groundcover will form a dense carpet of color as the plants mature.  They will grow in sun, part sun and shade, making it a perfect groundcover for almost any area of the yard.   You will find flowers from April to May with feathery fruit persisting until the end of summer.  Prairie smoke is listed as a “plant of concern” and using it in your landscape or garden will help preserve a species.



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