We recently put up a retaining wall. On the back side of the wall is a steep slope. I would like to plant this area with items that look nice and will control erosion with little care after established. The area is also quite large. What do you suggest? Thanks, Shelly
Answer: You do not say the conditions of the area or your location. My suggestions will be pretty general for that reason.
First you want to make sure you are planting only perennial plants, those that come back every year. They still require some maintenance but generally just some occasional cutting back or deadheading.
If this is a sunny location, consider first a low-growing ground cover like Euphorbia or Sedum; also, Ajuga, but it would prefer a little shade. You could mix in some tall grasses – there are so many varieties and sizes to choose from. These, once established, are very drought tolerant, as are Agastaches, Achillea, Daylilies and Salvias. Don’t forget some fall color with Asters, Rudbeckia or Mums. Artemisia can also make a beautiful planting but if really happy can get to be a bit of a thug, so be watchful. It’s worth the work for some because of its unusual silver foliage and fragrance that repels bugs.
If this is a shaded location then you can never go wrong with Hostas, Heucheras and Heucherellas, Ferns and Brunneras. In time they will form a complete ground cover. All will tolerate some morning or late afternoon sun but really want some protections from the hot midday sun. Actaea makes a striking mass planting but they can get quite tall, so don’t block out your view with them.
I hope that helps point you in a helpful direction.
Best of luck with the slope.