Species Spotlight – Minuartia michauxii var. michauxii (Michaux’s sandwort)
Minuartia michauxii var. michauxii is a gorgeous low-growing ground cover for dry, sandy, or rocky soils in full sun from New Hampshire to Virginia, with a disjunct population in the dunes around Lake Michigan. Although this species is often found growing alone in nearly pure rock, gravel, or sand, it actually thrives in mesic, circumneutral soils in the typical garden setting, but might need protection from weeds or aggressive species until established. Roots have survived two wet, cold winters in our test gardens with no sign of distress.
Observable very locally on rock ledges, high-pH barrens, and gravelly beds across its broad range (see map below).
Easily grown from seed and cuttings, this plant deserves consideration in rock gardens, dry detention basins, cracks in the sidewalk, and anywhere that you might want to grow Danthonia spicata, Viola pedata, Packera antennariifolia, or Sporobolus heterolepis.
A very similar species, Minuartia michauxii var. texana grows exclusively in the mid-western states from the Dakotas down to Texas. The two species’ ranges do not seem to overlap.