Oenothera speciosa: resilient ground cover?

linaria_gwJuly 9, 2014

Hi there,
I have a planting strip to cover, about 2 or 3 feet wide, in front of a wall, full sun, medium soil (drainage should be ok, probably concrete left overs from the construction work). Rough setting, next to a road.

I thought I would use virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia or P. tricuspidata) to cover the wall.
And some resilient ground cover plant in front of it.

I read up on O. speciosa, a garden thug, as far as I could gather.

Funnily enough, in some online-nursery-catalogues it is recommended to be used only in small clumps of 3 to 5 plants.

Is it useful as ground cover for lager areas?

I though it sounded great, the spreading and heavy reseeding (in that way covering damaged/bald patches in the planting), frost hardiness should be ok

other candidates on my short list where Geranium macrrhorizum or Ceratostigma plumbaginoides.

Any thoughts? Thanks a lot, bye, Lin

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jadeite(6/7)

Having dealt with a both oenothera speciosa and ceratostigma plumbaginoides around our house, I recommend the ceratostigma. O.s. is indeed a thug, at least in my climate (Z7, harsh desert). It spread by over a foot in all directions in one year of extreme drought, and I found patches of it springing up in other parts of the property a long way away.

C.p. also spreads, but more gradually. I've been able to keep it within bounds without a lot of work so far. I love the vivid shade of its blue flowers and deep glossy green leaves. I'm using it to spread down along a walk and around the base of a big sycamore.

Cheryl

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:17AM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Oenothera speciosa in it's native area...which is well, here. It's hardy, but you can't grow it where you want it. It dies in patches and spreads wildly into new ground in all directions.

That's the behavior that might make it unsuited to your need (to keep it confined in a tight area).

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:04AM
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linaria_gw

Thanks jadeite and dbarron,
it is in an urban situation, the strip is fenced in by a wall on one side and by a pavement/ walkway on all others.

The ground cover needs to be resilient. Reseeding or runners would be an advantage in this situation.
"it dies in patchesâ¦" in winter or while growing?

Not sure yet whether it is too rampant, I have to confess I would love to try it somewhere, but go for something else if it seems to thuggish. I checked the (European) list of invasive plants, but it is not on it.

Thanks, so I will do some more research, bye, Lin

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:27AM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Typically doesn't return in spring might be the better wording.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:34AM
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jadeite(6/7)

Perhaps OS does better in very dry climates like ours? We never had a problem with it not coming back! I would guess from the masses of OS roots that we dug up when we took it out, that it likes having dry feet. So it may be more controlled for Lin if you have wetter conditions. BTW the flowers are simply gorgeous. Nurseries sell this by the hundreds here every spring.

The CP is completely neglected but it has grown along the walk and in the crack between steps and a patio. I'm encouraging it to edge a bed but we will have to put in a border to stop it invading.

I had a clump in a flower bed where it was starting to expand too vigorously so I ripped it out and stuck it into the ground under the sycamore. That was about 6 weeks ago. It's settled down nicely and started to flower. The tree base is circled by driveway and a walk so it can't go far.

Cheryl

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:29AM
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