Ground Covers You May Not Have Thought Of, Part IV

Carnation ‘Firewitch’, Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Firewitch’: If our weather forecast suddenly calls for a low of 35 below zero, you might not survive, but this plant will! Capable of growing in a vast range of temperatures, this Carnation cultivar produces bright purplish-pink flowers, as well as a clove-like fragrance. Even when not in flower, Firewitch’s blue-gray foliage makes it an attractive ground cover that stays under a foot high. Plant in sunny exposures with excellent drainage.

Golden Dragon Impatiens, Impatiens repens: This Sri Lankan species, now likely extinct in the wild, doesn’t look like what most people think of when they consider Impatiens. Leaves are more rounded than pointed, and they help create a nice ground cover. I. repens produces succulent, burgundy-red, creeping stems complemented by yellow flowers. For best results, plant in filtered light.

Imperial Blue Plumbago, Plumbago auriculata: If you’re looking for a ground cover that thrives in hot, sunny locations, don’t pass up this plant. Native to South Africa, Plumbago produces sky-blue flowers on a year-round basis and attracts butterflies and birds. While often grown as a shrub through regular pruning, it can be utilized as a successful ground cover by simply allowing its long branches to sprawl. Richard Lyons’ Nursery also offers a striking white-flowered variant, Plumbago auriculata ‘Alba.’

Lavender Star Flower, Grewia occidentalis: Native to Africa from Mozambique southward, the Lavender Star Flower possesses several desirable features: Glossy, deep green leaves; edible, square-looking compound berries; non-aggressive roots; attractiveness to butterflies and birds; tolerance of drought, salt spray, strong winds, and light frost. Though capable of being trained to grow as a small tree, G. occidentalis also functions as a ground cover when left to wander around. For best results, plant in full sun and provide supplemental iron occasionally.

Salvia (native), Salvia coccinea: See “Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea)” (March 30, 2013) on this website.

Swiss Cheese Vine, Monstera deliciosa: See “Swiss Cheese Vine, Monstera deliciosa” (June 14, 2013) on this website.

White Alder, Turnera subulata: See “White Alder, Turnera subulata” (March 30, 3013) on this website.

All of these plants are available at Richard Lyons Nursery, Inc.

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