This Shady Ground Cover Is Everything You Could Want

Fine Gardening – Issue 199
Meehan’s mint (Meehania cordata)
Photo: Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder

Think of all the things you might want in a shady ground cover: low maintenance, deer resistance, spreading habit (but not thuggish), attractive flowers for pollinators. Oh, and if it’s not too much of a bother, could it be native to North America? Now meet Meehan’s mint, the plant with all of these qualities.

If seeing “mint” in the name frightens you, don’t worry. This mat-forming perennial spreads slowly but surely and is easily controlled if you should feel the need. It is highly likely you won’t have to do much more than admire this ground cover, whose native range runs from North Carolina to western Pennsylvania. While the leaves reach only to 6 inches high, the lavender-blue flowers stand a few inches above in mid to late spring. The foliage is dense enough to keep weeds down and not tasty enough for deer to be a problem. Moist soil and partial shade are preferred, but it can take average moisture and more shade. It can go in more sun too; you will just need to keep it moist.

Name: Meehan’s mint (Meehania cordata)

Zones: 4–8

Size: 6 inches tall and 18 inches wide

Conditions: Partial to full shade; moist to average, well-drained soil

Native Range: Eastern United States


American Meadows, Shelburne, VT; 877-309-7333;

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