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how fast is `fast spreading`?

Hi, When they say Periwinkle (Vinca) or Lily of the Valley is a fast spreading perennial, how fast do they mean? I have a Maple tree that I`m trying to surround with shade tolerant plants and I have reasonable patience. Can I plant a few from a friend`s garden and in two years expect to have a respectable ground cover? People on this site are incredibly helpful...it`s awesome! Thanks
 
You should have a nice cover in two years time if you place enough transplants around your tree. I'd place one every foot or so. Ferns are also good for shade and spread fairly fast.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything that blooms and grows, the garden angel scatters and sows...in the land of corn and pigs...Iowa Zone 4-5

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How "fast spreading" a plant (or groundcover in this case) is...depends a lot on your conditions. Under optimum conditions, you should expect a ground cover to at least double by next season and quadruple or MORE in two seasons.

Word of caution here, though!! Gardening under maples is a bit tricky. Maples are notorious sponges with shallow root systems. It's advised to plant [u]anything[/u] under a maple no closer than a foot to it's trunk. Remember, also, any amending you do to the soil in prep for your plants, will also be feeding the maple. It'll suck up at least half of all the nutrients you're feeding those plants. Fortunatly, vinca and lily of the valley are pretty self-sufficient and hardy plants. They'll survive under a lot of adverse conditions. But, due to the competition from the maple, you may have to be extra dilligent with their watering while they're getting established.

Good Luck!

gardenz
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [i]"To Live Is Not Just To Survive, But To Thrive With Passion, Compassion, Humor & Style."[/i] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Blogs: [URL=http://www.lindafrank.blogspot.com] GardenzOwn [/URL] [URL=http://www.OurGardenEarth.blogspot.com]OurGardenEarth[/URL]
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Where I live, it's so dry, that "fast spreading" means a 2" plant grows about 2" in a season. Then the next year it reaches to 12". Then it stays in steady "spreading mode" after that. Provided it gets enough water.

I planted vinca minor (the one with tiny leaves and flowers) last summer. Those barely hung on for me.

Some people call vinca a "weed". It does get well established, so make sure you really want it as removing it will be extremely difficult IF you live in a damp climate. Where I live, all I have to do is stop watering, and the stuff will die.

Planting a piece every foot would give you enough to cover your area in a couple years. Figure it will put out roots this season, then next year will put out a lot of above ground growth. And it will send out roots and suckers...so planting it densely is okay too.
 
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Talk about difficulty in removing -- I would never plant lily of the valley, even though it smells so nice. I had to pay someone last year to get rid of it. It was moving into my vinca and threatening to take over. I'll go with vinca any time!
 
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I've had a lot of luck with ajuga in the shade. It spreads fairly quickly, and is easy to dig out ( in my sandy soil) if it spreads too much. The hummingbirds love the flowers.

I've had better luck with hosta than vinca under a large wild cherry (it was existing when we bought our property and I just could't cut it down.) that I also grow lots of daffodils under. The vinca does great around my birdbath which is close to a climbing hydrangea.
 
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What region do you live in, Gardening Addict? I am very interested in lily of the valley, as opposed to hostas, in a shady corner of my yard near my foundation. I live in TN.

Thank you.
 
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Just remember, if you have young children, that Lily of the Valley is highly toxic, having chemicals that act on the heart in the same manner as foxglove.
 

Abigail, all 9 kids grown and 16 little gardeners: what a harvest!

Zone 7a, Far Rockaway, New York

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That depends on the growing conditions and where in the world you are. I have seen both grow and fill in an area in 3 years if the soil and other growing conditions are optimal and I have seen both take many years to spread beyond the original planting.
Where I have amended the soil under maples with adequate amounts of organic matter I have not had a problem growing much of anything. Impatiens, Salvia, and many other plants have been put around a Silver (Swamp) Maple and grow and flower quite well while getting water only once every week or two.
 

The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.

West central Michigan along the lakeshore.

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