Asarum splendens

As a dry shade evergreen ground cover foliage plant this wonderful perennial excels. Large heart shaped leaves are marked with silver over a sage green background. Pretty. Spreads to form dense colonies in rich, well drained soil in part shade to full shade. Must have regular water for the best appearance but can endure very dry conditions by wilting and will quickly recover with a drink. Takes the most dense shade and is invaluable in planters, beds, containers that are sited under an overhanging roof. Great winter appearance- it should be used in all sorts of year round containers more often. Spreads underground by stolons but doesn’t travel far. Bait for snails and slugs. Small curious brown flowers occur at ground level under the foliage in summer. To 6″ tall and spreading in ideal conditions to several feet wide.

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Blechnum penna-marina

Antarctic Water Fern is a low creeping evergreen ground cover fern for moist shady sites. To just 5″ tall the new fronds emerge a bright red before settling to soft green. The pointed finely divided leaves overlap densely creating a cover that blocks weeds. Slowly expands up to 3′-4′ wide when really happy. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular summer water. Avoid compacted dry clay- does not like. Easy to grow in woodlands, Excellent performance under large shrubs. Avoid hot sun. Good small scale shady ground cover. High deer resistance. Chile.

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Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Emily Brown’

The glory of this large, wild evergreen shrub occurs in April when the branches are awash in deep violet blue flowers.The darkest hue among this species. A fast growing very large shrub to 8′ x 12′ wide in time. Excellent for wild uncultivated areas. A handsome spreading deep green evergreen of great drought tolerance. Tolerates most soils that never become boggy. Good cold hardiness to 5ºF. No summer water when established. Loved by bees and butterflies. Takes well to pruning. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed after blooming. Tolerates part shade. Blooms best in full sun.

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Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Heart’s Desire’

This is by far the lowest growing ground cover Ceanothus that we grow and in commerce in general. The completely prostrate evergreen with deep green glossy prickly leaves forms a dense ground cover in full sun and well drained sites. In March button shaped clusters of light blue flowers foam above the foliage. Loved by early butterflies and bees. To just 6″ tall and spreading to 4′ wide. Moderately fast growth. Tolerates some summer irrigation. Best on hot sunny slopes. Winter damage (below 10ºF) recovers quickly in spring and does not sacrifice blooms. Trailing stems will root where they hit the ground. Excellent candidate for erosion control. Great performance at the Oregon Coast.

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Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Pt. Reyes’

The most popular ground cover Ceanothus and an important plant in our climate. Evergreen ground cover shrub that covers the ground densely. In March the entire plant is smothered in light violet blue flowers. Stems root where they touch the ground making it a valuable erosion control. Full sun to light shade in any well drained soil. Excels on steep slopes. To 10″ tall and 3′ wide very quickly. Plant on 3′ centers for a fast dense ground cover. Excellent performance in Hellstrips. Little water once established. Moderate deer resistance.

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Cotula ‘Tiffendel Gold’

Low evergreen South African ground cover with 3″ high ferny medium green foliage that densely covers the ground. Beginning in May and repeating heavily through summer wiry stems to 6″ tall are topped by petal free gold rayless disks. Little bobbles. These flowers age to a darker color giving a sea of these curious blossoms extra color depth. Cute little cutlfower that lasts. Vigorous grower that covers ground quickly in rich, well drained soil with consistent summer moisture. Avoid compacted dry soils- it will die out. Excellent weed supresssing ground cover. Good looking year round. Cold hardy to 0ºF. One 4″ pot can cover 2′ x 2′ in a season and beyond. Moderate deer resistance. Not really a whole lot here they can even get to.

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Ellisiophyllum pinnatum

Taiwan Starflower is an adorable and useful ground cover for rich, moist soil in part shade to full sun. Intricate mid-green spreading foliage is deciduous in the coldest winters. Continuously from spring to fall star shaped white flowers appear happily over the mounding plant. The flowers are reminiscent of the annual Bacopa. Spreads to form happy patches under established shrubs, in the front of borders. A simple and useful summer container plant as well. Avoid hard compacted soils and heavy clay. Mulch with compost annually to refreshen  and bring nutrients. Regular summer water.

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Fatshedera x lizei ‘Variegata’

Bold sprawling shrub or vine that is a hybrid between Hedera and Fatsia. This form has large leaves outlined in cream. Evergreen that seeks shade but is surprisingly sun tolerant too. It may be grown as a free standing shrub, bold ground cover, or trained as a vine. Very nice in winter containers too. Well drained soil  average to rich fertility. Light water. White flowers in autumn never set viable fruit. To 4′ tall and sprawling 8′ wide. Moderate deer resistance.

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Fragaria chiloense ‘Aulon’

Pacific coastal strawberry is a beach native- in fact it occurs all around the Pacific Rim and makes an adorable and durable ground cover on sand dunes. Well this version is like the giant hulk of strawberries. Huge in every way and vigorous? Wow, plant and get out of the way. The large glossy evergreen leaves are up to 6″ across and the single white flowers in spring and summer (sometimes in winter) are large also. The paltry fruit that follows is far from edible. It won’t kill you but you really have to like sour and gritty with millions of seeds.  This is an ideal ground cover for rough sites in full sun to part shade. Don’t bother enriching the soil that will just make this trailing monster roar. Instead err on the side of a little neglect and watch what this native plant can do. Be wary of delicate plants in the vicinity. Evergreen, easy and drought tolerant. Oregon native plant.

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Gaultheria shallon

Salal. An iconic native shrub that occupies the understory of the forests from the coast to the Cascades- but it skips the Willamette Valley enjoying more mesic environs. A mounding evergreen that forms large colonies in time. Ranges in height from 2′ to 6′ depending upon its situation. Spread is indefinite when happy. In spring chains of white urn shaped flowers transform into edible berries. Very handsome foliage is used as long lasting cut material. Can be tricky to establish. Shade to part shade is best in rich, humus rich soil with regular water. To establish water, water, water. And apply a liberal deep mulch.  Avoid hot sun and compacted dry soils. Once it gets going, its yours forever. Oregon native plant.

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