Jeepers creepers

Yesterday, a posting on “The invasive starling”, with some discussion of the types of invasive plants, including creeping invasives, which spread by underground roots or surface runners. And now a look back to a 8/26/10 posting “Our Gardens, Ourselves” on AZBlogX, which gives an inventory of things growing in the Columbus OH garden, including the creepers:

plants that stretch out rooting stems above ground or lateral roots below: lamiums of purple, white, buttercup yellow [Lamiastrum galeobdolon aka ‘Yellow Archangel’], anthemis, black-eyed susans, sweet woodruff, the thymes, creeping-potentilla/cinquefoil, barren strawberries, ajuga, coreopsis, germander, lamb’s ears [Stachys], Chinese lanterns, perennial ageratum, sedums, bishop’s weed, pennyroyal, obedient plant, creeping phlox

I have now posted on most of these plants, but will focus on a few here, in three broad categories (note: invasive here means only that, without any reference to the native or alien status of the plant):

non-invasive creeping plants that serve as ground covers or ornamental creepers: creeping thyme, creeping phlox; plus the two plants in “Three blues and a yellow” of 8/13/15

creepers that are generally just ground covers, but are invasive in some places: Yellow archangel

straightforwardly invasive creepers, but still with their uses: creeping potentilla

Innocent creepers. Useful and pretty plants of creeping habit.

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum):


Enthusiasm on the Fine Gardening site:

My favorites are the creeping thyme cultivars, which present a wealth of choices for unusual, aromatic ground covers. They are separated into two groups: prostrate, which grow less than 3 inches high and resemble lush, sunloving mosses; and mounding, which form undulating, green or silver carpets that are more than 3 inches high. I especially enjoy the prostrate varieties planted among paving stones in paths and terraces, and spilling into my perennial borders. Tread on them, and their distinctive fragrance adds a sensual dimension to a garden stroll.

Creeping phlox (moss phlox, Phlox subulata).


From the Missouri Botanical Garden site:

Moss phlox (also moss pink, mountain phlox or creeping phlox) is a vigorous, spreading, mat-forming, sun-loving phlox that grows to only 6” tall but spreads to 24” wide. It is noted for it creeping habit, its linear to awl-shaped leaves (which retain some green in winter) and its profuse carpet of mid-spring flowers with notched flower petals.

Then from “Three blues and a yellow”:

#1 Omphalodes verna (blue-eyed Mary, creeping navelwort, creeping forget-me-not)

#2 Pratia pedunculata … (blue star creeper, matted pratia, creeping pratia)

A creeper with mixed reviews. Yellow archangel, Lamiastrum galeobdolon. In a close-up, in bloom:


From the Wisconsin Master Gardener site on June 2012:

Yellow archangel is a hardy perennial in the mint family related to Lamium (deadnettles). Generally only variegated cultivars of this plant are grown, primarily for their foliage, although they do have interesting flowers for a short time every year.

… Yellow archangel is the common name of Lamiastrum galeobdolon, an herbaceous perennial plant used as a low-growing ornamental. Lamiastrum means “resembling Lamium“, referring to the similar-looking deadnettles that are also grown as ornamental ground covers. This species was once classified as Lamium galeobdolon; that name and the synonym Galeobdolon luteum are still occasionally misused in the nursery trade. This Eurasian native in the mint family (Lamiaceae) is hardy in zones 4 (3?) -9. Variegated forms of this plant are popular garden plants, but the species is considered a noxious weed in western Washington State and other areas of the Pacific Northwest where it has escaped cultivation and invaded forested areas.

It was entirely well-behaved in the Ohio garden.

Not for the garden, but maybe in special places. Creeping potentilla, Potentilla reptans:


From the Gardening Know How site:

Potentilla …, also called cinquefoil, is an ideal ground cover for partly shady areas. This attractive little plant spreads by means of underground runners. Its lemony-colored flowers that last all spring and strawberry-scented foliage make it irresistible.

These plants are evergreen in mild climates. They grow 3 to 6 inches tall, with each leaf made up of five leaflets. Potentilla gets the name “cinquefoil” from the French word “cinq” which means five.

In spring, cinquefoil plants are covered with flowers that are one-quarter inch in diameter. The buttery-yellow to bright yellow flowers bloom over a long season if temperatures don’t climb too high. Propagate potentilla plants from seeds or by dividing the plants in spring.

You won’t want to grow creeping potentilla in gardens, where it quickly takes over an area. Instead, use it as a lawn replacement in areas with light foot traffic, in rock gardens, or in rock walls. Some gardeners use it as a ground cover in bulb beds.

In the Ohio garden, creeping potentilla was confined to shaded areas where little else would grow.

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