Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 12:05 am
Location: Topeka

Looking for Low grow ground cover for clay...

I have a couple of flower beds along my drive way that I am trying to decide on a ground cover for. The beds currently have iris of many varieties, various lilies, some natives, and a miniature rose bush on one side. Despite the sound of things, there are some empty spots between the plantings that I would like to put a ground cover in. The problem is that I have heavy clay soil, I do amend when I plant, but that typically doesn't last very long before the clay is back to it's old self again. I also live in Kansas :cry:, and as a result the ground can be water logged from spring until mid summer if not longer if there is enough rain, or if there isn't a lot of rain the ground dries out and cracks. Needless to say, it's been a struggle finding plants that can tolerate the conditions.

Any input on a plant that is readily available that can tolerate the conditions and preferably stays below 6" tall would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for any help.

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I'm assuming since you mentioned the rose bush that this is a full sun area, or pretty close?

If it were me, I would plant it in thyme and oregano. They handle clay well, are creeping/ low growing, herbs. If you let them flower, bees love the flowers, and you can use the herbs... or they just make a nice fragrance if you brush against them.

Other possibilities include creeping jenny, ice plant, plumbago (grows anywhere!), creeping phlox.

Full Member
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:07 pm
Location: Iowa

I found a Seedum ground cover in the creeping form. I am not sure how it will do. I am also trying Thymus which is a low ground cover. I know Ajuga would work but it may take over the area. If your looking for something other than a ground cover you could try Stella D' Oro Day Lilies. I have read they can tolerate poor soil conditions. Nasturtiums would work I think but they are an annual. Coreopsis Tickseed works in my poor soil conditions and it slowly covers the area it is planted in but unlike a creeping ground cover it stays in an small but upright form. (There is many little plants creating the ground cover)

Oso Easy Rose bushes may work. I had one that just grew out of controll and it was a creeping ground bush. They have Oso Easy upright rose bushes to. My rose bush was in a clay soil behind my house before it was moved. (It just out grew it's spot) You can find these from Proven Winners plants. The other thing you could do is try Hostas. They seem to do good in soil I have that is dry and cracked however I don't know if they like full sun. I have seen some in full sun that did fine.

I want to add the soil on the side of my house is dry and cracked. If it rains it may become hard. The plants that I described that grow in this soil are Coreopsis Tickseed and Hostas. Just some ideas for you.

Return to “Perennials”