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If differences in height characterize the garden, planting on a slope poses a particular challenge. With the right selection of shrubs and perennials, you can stabilize a slope and plant it attractively. If the gradient is very steep, rainwater also drains away quickly and gardening is tedious. Under these general conditions, vigorous, easy-care plant species are in demand, which hold onto the soil with a strong root system. Get inspired by these 20 ideas for planting a steep slope.
Shrubs and perennials for the sunny slope
Drought-tolerant sun worshipers are in the limelight on the south-facing slope. Favor plants with a heart root system that extends its root strands both deep and wide. Alternatively, you can use small shrubs that cover the ground, the creeping shoots of which are rooted in the ground and provide additional stability in the soil. For the challenging combination of sunny and steep, we present the best species and varieties for attractive hillside planting:
Ground-covering hillside shrubs for sunny locations
From B - K
Ground cover roses, small shrub roses (pink)
The queen of flowers is at your side with royal blooms when it comes to colorful planting on a sunny slope. Where it is steep and sunny, small shrub roses come into their own. With a richly branched root system, groundcover roses rigorously hold the soil in place. Thanks to its good-natured undemanding nature, tedious climbing for maintenance work is the exception. The premium varieties are the raspberry-red 'Toscana', the pink 'Fairy' and the white-filled 'Sea Foam'.
- Growth height: 40 to 60 cm
- Growth width: 40 to 60 cm
Gold Ivy (Hedera helix 'Goldheart')
Equipped with strong adhesive roots, gold ivy is able to scale facades to dizzying heights. Knowledgeable gardeners know how to use this growth potential to stabilize slopes. If golden ivy finds no climbing aids, the rooted tendrils spread just as rapidly on the ground. However, gold ivy shows its most beautiful side wherever the conditions are sunny and fresh and humid. The premium variety leaves an existence in the shade to its monochromatic green counterparts. Instead, 'Goldheart' inspires with triangular decorative leaves that are adorned with a gold-yellow centre.
- Growth height (lying): 30 to 40 cm
- Growth width: 100 to 300 cm
Creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
Creeping juniper grows slowly, tolerates full sun and does not have to be cut. However, so that at least one conifer is represented in the slope planting, you cannot avoid the dwarf variety 'Repanda'. If the slope is steep, spread out fabric mats before planting, making cross-shaped cuts at the planting sites. As creeping juniper and its plant neighbors establish themselves in the soil, the tissue dissolves on its own.
- Growth height: 30 to 50 cm
- Growth width: 200 to 250 cm
From S - T
Scarlet field thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
In the sun-drenched rock garden, field thyme demonstrates its floral skills for sunny and dry site conditions. Reason enough to also integrate the evergreen groundcover into the planting plan. When the scarlet, fragrant flowers take center stage from June to August and the foliage enchants with a reddish shimmer in autumn, slope gardeners know that they have done everything right.
- Growth height: 5 to 7 cm
- Growth width: 20 to 25 cm
Carpet St. John's Wort (Hypericum calycinum)
The deciduous small shrub has made it into this selection because it has a special growth habit. Parallel to the above-ground, carpet-forming growth, the plant also spreads underground stolons. This creates an effective prevention against erosion in two respects. The carpet St. John's wort is beautiful to look at with bluish shimmering leaves, which stay on the bush in the mild winter until spring. The decorative highlight is the golden-yellow cup-shaped flowers, which give a slope planting a friendly face.
- Growth height: 20 to 30 cm
- Flowering period: from July to September
Ground-covering perennials for floral slope stabilization
From B - F
Blue Cushion (Aubrieta cultorum)
If you plant a slope with blue cushions, a sea of violet-blue flowers spreads out in spring. The best-known variety is called 'Hamburger Stadtpark'. If you combine the perennial with its white-flowered conspecific 'Winterberg', the two beauties provide an impressive contrast. Pruning care is limited to a pruning after the flowering period. Blue pillows love the security of stones, which radiate the sun's stored heat on cool nights. So if you arrange a few stones in the midst of the plants, the measure makes an additional contribution to the slope stabilization.
- Growth height: 5 to 10 cm
- Growth width: 25 to 30 cm
Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
If you are primarily pursuing the goal of rapid greening with the slope planting, you should, however, plant the slope with lady's mantle. Because the evergreen perennial convinces with vigorous growth, decorative cushion shape and pretty flowers in summertime. Lady's mantle is perfect for slopes facing west or east. Since the finely hairy leaves evaporate a lot of moisture, a semi-shady location is recommended that keeps summer watering within acceptable limits.
- Growth height: 30 to 40 cm
- Growth width: 40 to 50 cm
From S - T
Star Moss (Sagina subulata)
Are you on the lookout for sturdy slope planting for sunny to partially shaded locations? Then we would like to recommend robust star moss. Contrary to the German name, it is not moss, but mastkraut. With its creeping, carpet-like growth, the sturdy groundcover covers any incline that is not too steep. However, Sternmoos recommends a vehement urge to spread primarily for the greening of large areas.
- Growth height: 3 to 5 cm
- Growth width: 20 to 25 cm
Gray Cranesbill, Ashen Cranesbill (Geranium cinereum)
Geraniums are a familiar sight in summer herb beds. You don't have to do without the long-lasting blooms in a south-, west- or east-facing slope garden either. Because gray cranesbill is perfect for the sunny and dry site conditions. The 'Purpureum' variety puts on a crimson flower dress in summer, which harmonises wonderfully with the rounded, incised leaves. Since the perennial has an aversion to waterlogging and winter moisture, it feels in good hands wherever the area is so steep that rainwater drains off quickly.
- Growth height: 10 to 15 cm
- Growth width: 15 to 20 cm
Carpet phlox (Phlox subulata)
With a firework of colors, the carpet flame flower heralds spring on a sunny slope. For the rest of the year, needle-shaped leaves adorn long tendrils on the slope. There are no daring climbs for care work, because the perennial does not need pruning to bloom again every year.
- Growth height: 5 to 10 cm
- Growth width: 25 to 30 m
Ideas for the north slope
Shade-tolerant hillside shrubs
North-facing slope planting becomes a successful project if you choose shade-tolerant small shrubs with groundcover qualities. In order to be suitable for the greening of a slope, the dwarf shrubs should form long but strong runners with roots on the ground. The focus is also on plant species that grow opaquely over the soil without pruning. The following overview summarizes the five best species and varieties for the northern slope:
From E - I
Ivy (Hedera helix 'Woerner'),
- ideal for cool, damp, large-area slopes in the shade
- 20-30 cm high and 400-600 cm wide
- Problem solver for slopes with sandy-loamy soil
- 20-30 cm high and 25-60 cm wide
From T - Z
Red carpet berry (Gaultheria procumbens)
- bright red berry decoration
- 10-20 cm high and 30-40 cm wide
Shade Green (Pachysandra terminalis)
- lives up to its name on the north slope
- 8-12 cm high and 30-40 cm wide
- evergreen, robust and easy to care for
- 10-15 cm high and 50-70 cm wide
Our tip: Do not plant only one type of shrub on the slope. By combining your favorites with each other, you skilfully prevent a uniform appearance. Then put one or the other of the following shade-flowering perennials in between, and the planting plan for the north slope becomes a creative tour de force.
Ground covering perennials with flowering aspect in the shade
When a slope blooms in the shade, the following perennials celebrate their floral art. As is characteristic of perennials, the plants withdraw into their root balls for the winter time, only to sprout freshly next spring. You can avoid the resulting gaps with a careful selection of plants. Plant your hillside garden with evergreen shade bloomers, because here the leaf change in spring goes almost unnoticed.
From A - E
Phlox stolonifera (Phlox stolonifera)
- blooms in deep pink from April to June
- 20-30 cm high and 30-40 cm wide
Mountain Cranesbill (Geranium nodosum)
- long flowering period from May to August
- 20-30 cm high and 25-35 cm wide
Elf Flower (Epimedium)
- with dainty spring blooms and evergreen foliage
- 20-35 cm high and just as wide
Perennials with G
Commemorative Gem (Omphalodes verna)
- with sky blue spring blossoms
- 8-12 cm high and 20-25 cm wide
Golden nettle (Lamiastrum galeobdolon)
- blooms from May to June
- bears evergreen foliage
- 20-30 cm high and wide
The particular advantage of a hillside garden with little light is a sufficient supply of moisture. However, where the sun rarely shines, rainwater and morning dew can only evaporate slowly. Furthermore, the soil is so rich in nutrients that an organic starter fertilization covers the need. If you spread out a layer of bark mulch after planting, the soil is protected from erosion from the start. Likewise, the decomposition process in the mulch releases valuable nutrients that drive growth. You can eliminate tedious climbing for a pruning from the care program because the drawn-in plant parts gradually decompose.