Foundation Plants #441302 - Ask Extension


Foundation Plants #441302

Asked February 22, 2018, 2:48 PM EST

My house has a southern exposure, and poor soil over deep clay. The land slopes on one side of the front porch. The soil was recently cleared due to a porch construction project. I need low maintenance plants, as I am partially disabled. Can you suggest shrubs suitable for this area?

Baltimore City County Maryland

Expert Response

Look for plants that tolerate full sun and poor soil. 
Junipers are the number one choice for that situation, but there are many varieties.  You will not want ones that need pruning, so be sure to select ones that stay low without pruning.  Read the label very carefully. Sometimes the label says they will stay a certain height "with annual pruning"  Avoid that!.  Good choices may be dwarfs that grow slowly.  That's ok.  

Some groundcover junipers stay very low, but will spread sideways a lot. If that would cause problems with them growing over, say, a sidewalk, avoid those. 

 We don't know your space constraints. There are also some fairly low growing hollies (but many large ones--read that label!) A birds nest spruce may fit in your space. Go to a good nursery that can give you good advice and good plant material. 

Another nice feature of junipers is that they are available in blue, yellow and green tones. So, you can stick with junipers but have some variety in your landscape planting. 

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