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the mortar between our patio slabs is wearing away and I'd like to grow something to fill in the gaps

(31 Posts)
crankyagnes Mon 06-Jun-16 12:33:54

At the moment we have a less than attractive mix of moss, grass and various weeds growing here and there.

I'd like to plant something - but what to use??

It'll have to be short, because the boys use the patio all the time and anything sticking its head up is going to get stomped on grin so I'd like something low growing. Most of the patio is in the sun, but some of it is in the shade for a good part of the day.

Does anyone have any ideas? Has anyone done this successfully?

redhat Mon 06-Jun-16 12:35:01

we have it and it is a nightmare to keep under control. I wouldn't recommend it. In fact we are redoing our patio this year because it ends up looking like weeds rather than deliberate.

crankyagnes Mon 06-Jun-16 13:11:10

Oh dear, that's disappointing to hear - what plant/s do you have growing in your patio (so I can avoid it myself grin)?

TeaPleaseLouise Mon 06-Jun-16 13:19:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeaPleaseLouise Mon 06-Jun-16 13:19:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crankyagnes Mon 06-Jun-16 13:26:55

I've just looked up alyssum, they look lovely (and quite short which is great) but it says they are annuals so would they need re-sowing every year? Ponders whether I'm dedicated enough to do that ...

PurpleWithRed Mon 06-Jun-16 13:30:00

Thyme (creeping variants), mind your own business (yes that's a plant), nice little daisy thingy ink{http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/erigeron-karvinskianus/classid.2751/\www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/erigeron-karvinskianus/classid.2751]]/}

cecinestpasunepipe Mon 06-Jun-16 13:31:58

Would they self seed? I have had self-seeding alyssum.

TeaPleaseLouise Mon 06-Jun-16 13:41:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

shovetheholly Mon 06-Jun-16 13:47:12

The classic plant people use where a patio has a bit of dampness (which your moss is suggesting) is Mind-Your-Own-Business (Soleirolia soleirolii). It has a reputation because it's thuggish and tends to spread. If it gets out of control, it's a nightmare to get rid of; however, if you're diligent about controlling it, it does look lovely. Corsican mint is another option if you want something with a crushed foliage scent that can cope with a bit of shade. Thyme will thrive too, but in the sunnier end of your patio.

I would avoid some of the new suggestions, like Pratia penduculata, until they are more proven - lots of reports of this being a total, uncontrollable thug.

crankyagnes Mon 06-Jun-16 14:03:12

The Mexican fleabane looks fab, but sadly the boys would have that squished flat by the end of the afternoon so that's out.

Mind your own business sounds good - does it need shade though? Most of our patio is in the sun. I found Corsican mint, which looks perfect, but it said that likes shade and damp, neither of which it would get much of. Has anyone had any luck with either of those in a sunnier, drier area?

Off to google creeping thyme - I love thyme, so hard to kill smile

shovetheholly Mon 06-Jun-16 14:06:30

Mind-your-own business likes full sun or partial shade - sounds like you have both so it's one of the few that ticks both boxes if you want the same thing for a uniform effect. smile

shovetheholly Mon 06-Jun-16 14:10:26

Sorry - I confused things by saying 'a bit of dampness'! My bad - sometimes my fingers type faster than my brain works! It's actually quite tolerant of sunlight, but it likes a bit of moisture. Often the cracks in paving are damper than you might think, though - witness the moss, which is generally one of the least dry-tolerant plants going.

thejoysofboys Mon 06-Jun-16 14:15:14

Don't do it. The mortar (in theory) stops water getting between your slabs and washing away the sub base. With plants instead of mortar your paving will become wobbly and uneven and more slabs will crack because of the poor bedding material.

I'm in the same position as you with regards to the failing mortar but am chipping mine out bit by bit and will repoint it.

crankyagnes Mon 06-Jun-16 17:19:53

Shove - thanks, that's interesting about the moss, because we do have some of that, so praps that mind your own business would work. Hmm. Thejoys' comment has got me a bit worried. I wonder how much of a risk it would be? Whatever we do, I'll avoid anything with the "thug" label, I don't trust my diligence to keep plants like that in check.

shovetheholly Mon 06-Jun-16 17:32:30

It depends on the look you want. If you like very clipped hedges, very neat plants, a perfect lawn and a glowingly pristine patio, then growing plants in cracks is not for you and you should re-mortar!!

If you're more of a cottage garden kind of person, who doesn't mind the patio becoming a bit uneven with age (and growth), then go for it. Any damage from moisture and tiny plants will tend to be very slow and it'll probably be years before you really have to do anything.

If you do use mind-your-own-business, it will need to be kept firmly away from your lawn! Do be aware of that.

TeaPleaseLouise Mon 06-Jun-16 20:22:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crankyagnes Wed 08-Jun-16 07:38:35

If I have to keep mind your own business away from the lawn that's not going to work, we've gaps in the patio right by the lawn. Bother. Not that our lawn has more than about 60% grass in it anyway, we are much more the relaxed style gardeners that you describe shove, so I think I will experiment with some small plants to see what will grow.

Lobelia is gorgeous, lovely flowers, but again, I worry they will just get stomped on. DS2 particularly is not light of foot smile

At the moment I'm looking at creeping thyme and corsican mint, maybe try a bit of both of those and see which one is happiest.

Thank you for all your help! If anyone thinks of any other plants, please let me know.

Gatekeeper Wed 08-Jun-16 08:48:45

We have creeping thymes, corsican mint sporadically- the latter tends to snuff it during winter but self seeds and reappears somewhere else

We also have a variety of ivy leaved toadflax growing in the crocks and gravelly bits also and it looks wonderful. This one has much thicker leaves that the usual one and doesn't trail but moves along in an orderly fashion

Gatekeeper Wed 08-Jun-16 08:52:56

sedum acre 'Aureum' would also be nice esp with the purpley flowers of thyme

photo is of my toadflax

shovetheholly Wed 08-Jun-16 08:54:56

Wow, that's gorgeous gatekeeper

Just a heads up that Corsican Mint is current in at Secret Gardeners' Club - 3 plants for a fiver I think.

Gatekeeper Wed 08-Jun-16 08:59:05

shovetheholly it's humming with tiny little bees on a sunny day. I love siting out and watching and listening to them- very relaxing with a nice glass of something smile

crankyagnes Wed 08-Jun-16 10:28:56

Gatekeeper - that sounds and looks lovely smile

I heard about the Secret Gardeners' Club on another thread, which I've been lurking on for ages, I really should join.

Gatekeeper Wed 08-Jun-16 18:37:23

secret gardeners club??? is this on mumsnet?

shovetheholly Thu 09-Jun-16 11:21:57

No, it's here: www.secretgardeningclub.co.uk/

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