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Regional Picks: Tough Ground Covers – Southeast

Fine Gardening - Issue 150

1. St. John’s Wort

Name: Hypericum calycinum

USDA hardiness zones: 5 to 9

Size: 1 to 2 feet tall, spreading indefinitely

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil

A summer-flowering ground cover that thrives in any sunny spot, St. John’s wort will also grow under trees in partial shade, but its flowers may be sparse. In the Southeast, it is often evergreen, but winter stress can cause leaves to dry out and turn brown. Cutting plants back every few years in early spring, before new growth appears, will keep this woody plant vigorous.


2. Ornamental Raspberry

Name: Rubus pentalobus, syn. R. calycinoides

Zones: 7 to 9

Size: 4 inches tall, spreading indefinitely

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; fertile, well-drained soil

I grew this evergreen creeper for years on the strip between my sidewalk and the street, and amazingly, it thrived—despite summer heat, foot traffic, and lack of irrigation. A fast grower, ornamental raspberry…

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