Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

What are some good ground cover plants for this area?

If you have a problem area where grass will not grow, a shady area that needs brightening, or perhaps a sunny spot you wish had a longer season of interest, then ground covers may be your solution. Included in this ground cover category is a large variety of plants which are generally, although not necessarily, low-growing and spreading. Heights can range from 2 inches to 24 inches. A careful choice of ground covers can change a problem area into an ornamental garden spot requiring a minimum of care.

Ground covers are used for a variety of reasons; as a soil cover to prevent erosion, as a way to discourage weeds, or as a means to provide a cool mulch for other plants. In addition, ground covers serve as a natural link between lawn, shrubs, trees, and paved areas. They provide a "finished" look to any yard and can add interest and beauty to your landscape.

Some ground covers are grown specifically for their foliage, color, texture or size of leaves. For example, many hosta plants have large, interesting leaves and come in a variety of color shades. Other plants include English ivy, pachysandra, vinca, and goutweed. For sunny spots, junipers and sedum make good choices.

The choice of ground covers is vast. You may choose winter hardy perennials, vines, ornamental grasses, annuals, or low-growing shrubs, many of which remain evergreen in St. Louis. Or you might prefer wildflowers or herbs, pleasant fragrance being a side benefit. Your local nursery can recommend good varieties for your area.