Plants that will not only survive but thrive under foot traffic has
long been a problem 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.
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.
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 "Stepables."
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 garden
statuary. Their potential is only limited by your creativity.
variety of plant is rated for its ability to withstand hopping,
jumping, skipping, walking, stretching out on a sunny day and yes, even
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.
the plants produced by Classy Groundcovers, Stepables are also marketed
through local nurseries, including more than a dozen in the Capital
If you are the type of person who needs to see and
touch plants before buying, you can use the Web site to generate a
list, then head on out to a dealer near you to see what they carry.
does a plant get to be a Stepable? First and foremost, it must be able
to withstand foot traffic, and they are rated accordingly. Light foot
traffic means it can survive being walked on up to two times a week,
moderate; one to two times per day and heavy, three or more times a
day! In addition, the plant can not get any taller than 6 inches; some
barely reach an inch in height.
Stepables come in individual pots
so you can purchase just a few. Or, you can buy one of each type you
want to try and decide which you like most later.
Classy Groundcovers, on the other hand, sells their plants in bulk, 50 to a flat. The more you buy, the less you pay per plant.