Ground Cover Plants
Plants that work well as a ground cover vary in their qualities, and include both evergreen and deciduous varieties that act equally well as ground covers but often for different reasons. So if you are looking for useful plants to cover that awkward area, first check the characteristics to make sure this is the right plant for you.
Uses for ground cover plants:
- as a low maintenance alternative for the garden
- act as a 'living mulch' and protect the soil from both the heat of summer and the cold of winter
- to act as weed suppressors
- to fill gaps in the border
- for their own foliage and flowers
- to help fill large areas in the garden
- to create a carpet of flowers and foliage covering a large area
- to cover areas of the garden in deep shade where other plants seem to struggle.
In the UK, low growing shrubs, grasses, low growing plants, creepers and roses can all be used as ground cover plants, what we are looking for are plants that will form a dense matt, have interesting foliage and flowers and suppress weeds, low maintenance is another factor.
List Of Ground Cover Plants
- Acanthus mollis (Bears Breeches) with its large leaves and white or pink flowers this perennial will slowly spread and does well in semi shade
- Ajuga reptans. A widely used ground cover plant with attractive foliage that grows well in full sun to part shade
- Anemone hybrida (Japanese Windflowers) Attractive foliage and nice flowers held high over a long period, will form a dense clump.
- Bergenia cordifolia (Elephants Ears) and Bergenia ciliata ( Hairy Bergenia). Clump forming, easy to control, great textured foliage, easy to grow, we like it, old fashioned but very useful.
- Carex a clumping sedge with grasslike foliage useful for damp and shaded areas
- Carpobrotus glaucescens 'Pigface or Ice plant', a creeping succulent ground cover.
- Conifers. Often overlooked many dwarf conifers make excellent ground cover plants especially for garden embankments. Try Juniperus squamata prostrata
- Cornus canadensis (creeping dogwood) This low growing perennial does well in part shade, not great in frost
- Epimedium some are evergreen some are not, however these shade loving plants have attractive foliage and pretty flowers, look for new cultivars
- Ferns many are spreading and evergreen
Geraniums Many of the low growing clumping varieties make excellent ground covers
Hedera (Ivy) makes a great gowned cover but need to be kept under control as some species can be a little 'invasive'
- Hellebores. Great ground covers for dry shade, they do tend to 'self seed' however if you rake over the new seedlings as they appear they are easy to control. Lots of different flower types and colors
- Helianthumum (Rock Rose)
Hypericum calycinum A low growing ground cover with pretty yellow flowers, does well in full sun.
- Lysimachia nummularia Aurea (creeping jenny) A great ground cover but a little to vigourous for our liking
Ornamental Grasses such as Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'
Pachysandra terminals (Japanese Spurge) Evergreen, dense matt forming and needs to be confined.
- Roses. Carpet roses, Rockery Roses or Ground Cover Roses, lots of old and new cultivars available
- Scleranthus biflorus From New Zealand, looks like moss.
- Stachys byzantina and Stachys macrantha or 'Lamb's Ears
- Thyme Many species make great scented ground cover plants.
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