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Cerastium tomentosum

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ser-ASS-tee-um toh-MEN-toh-sum
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Snow-in-summer is a low growing perennial that will form a 6" tall mat of attractive narrow leaves.  Spreading will occur by underground runners.   In late spring to early summer, stems with showy star-shaped white flowers will protrude 8-12" above the ground-covering mat.  Each stem may produce up to 15 blooms.  The numerous blooms form a snowy-looking carpet of white, hence its common name.

Self-seeding will occur if the spent blooms are not removed.  Divide every few years in the spring or fall.  Propagation can also be done from cuttings in early summer.  Pruning should not be done in the fall, wait until spring.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  Root rot can occur in locations where good drainage is not provided.  It does not tolerate foot traffic.  It can be an invasive plant in locations with cooler summer climates.  It is a short-lived plant that may result in dead patches in a covered area.  Does not perform well in climates with high humidity or in a location with insufficient sunlight. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Columnae'
    Lower 4" mat, less invasive.
  • 'Silver Carpet'
    Compact and less invasive.
  • 'Yoyo'
    Compact and less agressive.
'Columnae', 'Silver Carpet', 'Yoyo'
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#herbaceous#deer resistant#herbaceous perennial#groundcover#winter hardy#dry soils tolerant#low fertility soil
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Columnae'
    Lower 4" mat, less invasive.
  • 'Silver Carpet'
    Compact and less invasive.
  • 'Yoyo'
    Compact and less agressive.
'Columnae', 'Silver Carpet', 'Yoyo'
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#herbaceous#deer resistant#herbaceous perennial#groundcover#winter hardy#dry soils tolerant#low fertility soil
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cerastium
    Species:
    tomentosum
    Family:
    Caryophyllaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Italy, Corse & Sicilia
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Bundle of 0.5-0.7 in. 5-petaled white flowers in spring; small nonshowy fruit
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    1 in. grayish-green leaves covered with soft-textured whitish hairs; oblong to lance-shaped
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Wiry stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Patio
    Pool/Hardscape
    Rock Wall
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Short-lived