Category Archives: Groundcovers

Hooker’s Fairy Bells

Hooker’s Fairy Bells (Disporum hookerii)
Disporum hookerii

Lovely, outwards-flaring flowers of greenish-white to cream over deep green leathery foliage, with characteristic long, drip-tips to the leaves.


  • Light Requirements: Part Shade, Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads:
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible:
  • Mature Height:
  • Mature Width:

Broad-leaf Shooting Star

Henderson’s shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii)
Dodecatheon hendersonii

This bulb-producing perennial begins in late winter with thick spoon shaped leaves at the base of the plant. Showy flowers appear in early spring on top of a tall 12 in (30 cm) leafless flower stalk. Flowers are inside out with petals magenta to deep lavender to white, with a white strip before the black fertile part. It blooms February to May and is summer deciduous, dying back to the ground after the rains cease.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads:
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Pest-eating Insects
  • Edible:
  • Mature Height: 1ft
  • Mature Width: 6in

Wood Strawberry

Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
Fragaria vesca ssp. bracteata

After flowering, rounded, egg-shaped, red edible berries appear in the late summer and early autumn. These appear to be smooth coated but are in fact covered in very short hairs, visible only at close range.

  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 6in
  • Mature Width: 1ft

Oregon iris

Oregon iris (Iris tenax)
Iris tenax

Iris tenax is a species of Iris native to southwestern Washington and northwestern Oregon. It is known as the tough-leaved iris or Oregon iris. It occurs along roadsides and in grasslands and forest openings at low to middle elevations. One subspecies is also known from northern California.

Like most irises, it has large and showy flowers. The flowers bloom in mid to late spring and are usually lavender-blue to purple, but blooms in white, yellow, pink, and orchid shades are known to sometimes occur.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Moderate
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads:
  • Wildlife Support: Hummingbirds, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible:
  • Mature Height: 1-2ft
  • Mature Width: 1-2ft

Dagger-leaf rush

Daggerleaf rush (Juncus ensifolius)
Juncus ensifolius

This rhizomatous rush grows in large upright clumps. The green dagger shaped leaves fold over along the mid-vein towards the stem, similar to iris leaves.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun
  • Water Requirements: Moist, Seasonally Wet
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Spreads:
  • Wildlife Support: Birds or Mammals
  • Edible:
  • Mature Height: 1-2ft
  • Mature Width: 1-2ft

False lily-of-the-valley

False lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum dilatatum)
Maianthemum dilatatum

The plant produces an erect, unbranched stem up to about 40 centimeters tall. A non-flowering shoot bears one smooth, waxy, shiny leaf up to 10 centimeters long and 5 to 8 broad, hence its scientific name (dilatatum means ‘broad’). On plants that are flowering, 2 or 3 leaves are produced oppositely on the stems. The leaf is oval in shape with a heart-shaped base. This attractive groundcover can spread vigorously when in planted in favorable conditions.

The inflorescence is an erect raceme with star-shaped white flowers. They each have four petals and four stamens. After fertilization the fruit produced is a berry 6 millimeters in diameter. The berry is speckled red when immature and solid red when ripe. Each has 1 to 4 seeds.


  • Light Requirements: Part Shade, Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Birds or Mammals
  • Edible:
  • Mature Height: 1ft
  • Mature Width: 2-3ft
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