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Banks, slopes, and ditches may seem like problem areas. However, there are plants that can thrive in these environments, so here are my top plants for banks and slopes to bring colour to your garden.

1. Bupthalmum salicifolium (yellow ox eye)

The bold, bright yellow blooms are like rays of sunshine, growing on upright stems. The flowers look similar to dandelions and like dandelions, bees are attracted to the yellow ox eye too. Keep the plants looking their best by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased foliage and flowers in autumn or spring.

  • Flowers in summer and autumn
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 50cm tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
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2. Gaultheria shallon (shallon)

Next is an evergreen shrub that grows to 1.5m tall and 1m spread with heart-shaped leaves. In summer, the foliage is joined by light pink bell-shaped flowers. However, this plant thrives in acidic or neutral soil, so will grow best on your bank or slope if you have this soil type.

  • Evergreen and flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full shade or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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3. Mahonia repens (creeping Oregon grape)

Another evergreen with all-year round interest for a bank or slope is Mahonia repens which has glorious glossy foliage. In spring, fragranced flowers bloom which are popular with bees, and birds will then enjoy the black berries that follow in summer and autumn. Therefore, they are a great addition to a bank in a wildlife garden.

  • Evergreen foliage and flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 50cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full shade or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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4. Vinca minor (lesser periwinkle) ‘Marie’

Vinca minor is a mat-forming evergreen that is low growing, so perfectly suited for ground cover in a sloping area. The foliage is glossy and dark green, beautifully contrasting with the pretty purple-blue flowers that bloom in spring. It’s a low-maintenance pick that will also suit a Mediterranean style garden too.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 50cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained, poorly drained, or well-drained soil
  • Full shade, partial shade, or full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
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5. Dicentra (bleeding heart) ‘King of Hearts’

The deep pink heart-shaped flowers grow on arching stems atop fern-like foliage, adding a really soft appearance. Perfect for underplanting of trees, and shrubs, they will add a burst of colour to your bank and slopes. Although, they prefer an alkaline or neutral soil, so ensure your garden soil is suited.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 50cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or poorly drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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6. Hypericum calycinum (rose of Sharon)

Next is a spreading ground cover shrub with dark green, evergreen leaves. Through summer and autumn, cheery yellow flowers bloom and will thrive in many different conditions. What’s more, they are require virtually no maintenance. The berries that grow in autumn give an extra dimension and more interest.

  • Semi-evergreen foliage, flowers in summer, fruit in autumn
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 60cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full shade, full sun, or partial shade
  • Sheltered or exposed
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7. Pieris japonica (pieris) ‘Debutante’

For a compact evergreen shrub with attractive foliage and flowers ‘Debutante’ is a fantastic choice. The panicles of cream flowers bloom in spring, contrasting with the dark green leaves. Also great for pollinating insects, they are a great source of nectar and pollen to add to your bank or slope. However, they need acidic soil to grow.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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8. Thymus serpyllum (wild thyme)

This plant delivers with stunning clusters of purple flowers in summer, fantastic fragrance, as well as being a drought resistant addition to banks or slopes. The mat-forming evergreen is a low-growing plant that is well suited to a rock or gravel garden. Whilst you make the most of the fragrance, bees are also attracted to the flowers.

  • Evergreen foliage and flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 10cm tall
  • Well-drained
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
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9. Ceratostigma willmottianum (Chinese plumbago)

The foliage of this shrub puts on a show before it falls in autumn, going from green to fiery shades or red. Flowering from August to October, the stunning blue flowers are sure to catch-your eye. If you have a sloping border, these will fit right in.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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10. Euonymous fortunei (spindle) ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’

This dwarf evergreen shrub has a spreading habit, with vibrant variegated foliage that will thrive in many conditions. As well as being grown as ground cover plants on banks and slopes, it can be trained against a wall.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Full shade, full sun, or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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Brighten up the banks or slopes with plants that will thrive in those conditions. With tough plants that are suited to the environment, you can have flowers and foliage galore in every inch of your space.

How to design a garden that has a steep bank or slope:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

Gardening on a slope
Gardening on a slope
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


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