Some essential Pacific Northwest groundcovers

Vancouveria hexandra was the first native plant I ever put into my garden, and eventually it led me down, you might say, the forest path. Inside-out Flower, as it is also called, grows from wiry little stems that get about a foot or less high with pretty little odd shaped flat leaves.  Sometimes it’s called “Duckfoot” for the shape of its leaves. The flowers are a white to creamy-yellow on stems above the leaves. The blooms look like they were shot from a tiny cannon, with the centers leading and the petals trailing behind.

Vancouveria hexandra

Vancouveria hexandra with its little inside-out blooms above.

I have propagated my Vancouveria often, which is easy-peasy by digging up little rooted bits of it. Because it does (politely) increase by rhizomes, which just means that if it’s happy it will spread, but not in a way that makes you wish you had died before introducing it into your garden.

I am always digging up starts of this plant to try in different places, and if the places are at least part shade, and especially if they get watered at all, the plant is generally successful. (Though it can survive in dry shade.) I have potted it up for friends, sold it at Saturday markets, and have it growing now it in about eight places in my own gardens. Vancouveria and I are well-acquainted, and if it were my dog and I had it in an obedience class it would get the Best-Dog-of-the-Week award instead of running away when I called it like Max the Westie did. (Max and I dropped out of that particular obedience class. They mailed us a certificate anyway but somehow it ended up on the floor and Max chewed it up.)

In winter Vancouveria disappears completely, so get out the label markers before that happens so you don’t plant a new fern or something on top of it in the early spring like I did to the goatsbeard plant this year. (It survived.)

Vancouveria basically will thrive in the same sort of places as wild ginger (Asarum caudatum) and wood sorrel (Oxalis oregano), two other five-star (according to me) woodland groundcovers. I also like the native bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa). It is lovely and ferny but it has problems with boundaries. (It composts well.)  Soon I will add some Vancouveria to the new Big Rock bed.


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in actual plants, Pacific Northwest native plants. Bookmark the permalink.

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