Shrubby Fivefingers is a low-growing, mat-forming perennial, which features small, white flowers blooming June-August. Patience is necessary with new plants, as seedlings take two years to flower. The green leaves turn red in the fall if planted in full sun. Shrubby Fivefingers prefers sandy, nutrient-poor soil. It is drought-tolerant, but dislikes excessive summer heat. Use Shrubby Fivefingers in rock gardens, around borders, or as a groundcover. This plant may be difficult to find commercially. Tell your local garden center or nursery about your interest in this species.

Hens and Chicks is a mat-forming succulent with tightly-packed, rosette-shaped, evergreen leaves. Red-purple flowers bloom from upright stalks, June-July. After the parent plant flowers, it dies back, and the numerous offspring proliferate, filling in nooks and crannies in your rock garden or edge. Hens and Chicks provides winter interest, as it persists through cold temperatures. It tolerates poor soil and air pollution. Use Hens and Chicks in rock gardens, edges, containers, or as a small-area groundcover for your yard. Hens and Chicks provides best appeal when planted in a mass.

Sedum is a succulent perennial plant, available in many sizes and bloom colors. Its thick, waxy leaves hold moisture, making it very drought-tolerant. It is a nectar source for native bees and butterflies. Small varieties of Sedum can be used as a groundcover, while taller varieties can be used in beds and borders around your yard.

Woolgrass needs wet, partly shady conditions. This wildlife-friendly plant has seeds and roots that are eaten by waterfowl. It also provides waterfowl with cover and nesting sites. It is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including the Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion). Use Woolgrass in rain gardens, moist low areas, and along edges of ponds or streams, where it can provide erosion control.

Little Bluestem is an ornamental grass with small, delicate, purplish-blue-bronze flowers, which appear in August. Leaf blades are blue at the base, turning green at the tip. Dried seed heads are silvery-white and offer winter interest. Use Little Bluestem in massed plantings in borders, native gardens, and meadows, or simply as an accent plant in your yard.

Sweetbox offers showy, fragrant, white flowers, which bloom March-April. This broadleaf evergreen shrub tolerates heavy shade, and provides winter interest. Established plants have some drought tolerance. Plant Sweetbox around your yard as a low hedge or groundcover, or in your shade garden for a delightful early spring fragrance.

Christmas Fern is a clumping evergreen fern. It displays leathery, lance-shaped fronds. Emerging fiddleheads are silver in the spring. Christmas Fern does not spread; instead, the clump will increase in size as the plant ages. Christmas Fern has been known to attract ruffed grouse. Use it as a groundcover or in borders. It adds winter interest to your yard.

Canby’s Mountain-lover is a broadleaf evergreen groundcover. Its glossy, leathery, dark green leaves turn bronze-purple in winter. This low-maintenance plant is drought-tolerant once established. Use Canby’s Mountain-lover in your shade garden, as a groundcover, along woodland edges, in rock gardens, and in naturalized areas of your yard.

Allegheny-spurge is a low-growing, spreading perennial. Its dark green, toothed leaves crowd on top of short, erect stems. Small, fragrant, greenish-white flowers bloom March-May, before new leaves emerge. It spreads to form colonies, making it an excellent groundcover for your yard. Use it in shady areas in place of lawn, massed on banks or slopes, or in areas of your shade garden.

Prickly Pear is New Jersey’s only native cactus! Flat, fleshy, oval, evergreen pads stand erect or lie horizontally on the ground. The pads become somewhat dessicated and shriveled during the winter but plump-up again in the spring. Yellow, ornate flowers develop along the top of each pad and bloom June-July. Each flower is diurnal and blooms for only one day. A red edible fruit will follow fertilization. Flowers, fruits, and pads all offer food for wildlife. The pads and fruit are also edible for humans; however, tiny reddish spikes persist and necessitate much care in handling all parts of this plant. Use Prickly Pear in seaside gardens, rock gardens, sunny borders, dry sandy areas of your yard, or as groundcover.