What would be a good ground cover companion to lilacs?


What would be a good ground cover companion for lilac? Our lilacs are on the west side of the house so there is only partial sun. Right now the area is beset by Dame’s rocket, goutweed, and sunchokes. I’m trying to weed them out and will need to replace them. What might be best?


Jonathan Foster, Home Horticulture Outreach Professional

First, let’s address the current (unwanted) plants you have in the area:

UMaine Cooperative Extension Ask an Expert response to “How do you get rid of Bishop’s Weed?”

State of Maine Natural Areas Program page for Bishop’s Weed

Montana State Univ Extension fact sheet for Dame’s Rocket

Extension.org response to question about controlling Sunchoke (aka Jerusalem artichoke)

Once the area is ready for new plants, please take a look at our UMaine Cooperative Extension Bulletin #2500, Gardening to Conserve Maine’s Native Landscape for suggestions on good options for replacement. Scrolling down to Vines and Groundcovers–for partial sun in the setting you mention, I would recommend bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and bunchberry (Chamaepericlymenum candense), both low growing and well behaved true groundcovers. There are a couple of other options listed, but they are either too large or are climbers. You can find other options at the Wild Seed Project’s Native Ground Covers for Beauty and Biodiversity at the Ground Level.

Happy gardening.