Plants that will not only survive but thrive under foot traffic have
long been a goal for people whose children and dogs wear bare paths
into the lawn. Without an easy way to find suitable plants, homeowners
have been left with those earth-colored trails just inside the fence or
from the garage door to the backyard.
Finally plant growers are getting more savvy about marketing
and in addition to selling plants according to height, bloom color and
light and shade requirements, they’re promoting a group of plants by
the problems they can solve.
Like groundcovers that can handle foot traffic.
Classy Groundcovers is a nursery based in Blairsville, Ga.,
that specializes in plants for mass plantings such as vinca, ivy,
pachysandra and day lilies.
They also sell plants online, and their Web site has a search
engine where you can specify the attributes you want the plant to have,
including resistance to foot traffic, scent, bloom color, etc.
Another company, the Under the Foot Co. in Salem, Ore., has
made it even easier. They’ve selected a group of tenacious, hardy,
low-growing perennials and are marketing them under the name
The uses for these plants are nearly endless. Plant them
between patio blocks, stepping stones, in pathways, rock gardens,
nestled between rock outcroppings, to cover a slope, in place of mulch,
instead of a lawn or tucked into a topiary frame for a one of a kind
Their potential is only limited by your creativity.
Each variety of plant is rated for its ability to withstand
hopping, jumping, skipping, walking, stretching out on a sunny day and
yes, even cars.
Like other perennials, they have their cultural requirements
and, to be quite honest, sorting through 150 possibilities is
time-consuming, especially at this time of year.
But like Classy Groundcovers, Under the Foot’s search engine can help you narrow the field and find the right plant.
The information provided for each plant is quite extensive. At
the top of the page, you’ll get a photo and brief description, scroll
down to find cultural requirements, its traffic hardiness and a listing
of where it’s best used, whether it’s scented, drought-tolerant,
deer-resistant and so on.
For more information on growing groundcovers, go to www.stepables.com