There’s a ground cover to meet most needs, whether you’re planting a pathway, a hedge, or a broad swath of green. They run the range of foliage textures and colors, and many have wonderful flowers. Some varieties are ground-hugging and feel delicious under bare feet. Others grow up to two feet tall, making them ideal as barriers and some are just cool pebbles.
Look for attributes that meet your needs: child-durable, deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, shade-loving. Mixing them up is not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s also good for the landscape: Diversity increases resistance to pests and disease and reduces the need for fertilizer and pesticides. Here are some popular choices.
1. Asiatic Jasmine
|Width:||Spreads to 3’+|
|Exposure:||Sun or Shade|
|Water:||Low once established|
|Hardiness:||USDA Zones 7-11|
|Pruning:||May be clipped to maintain, or cut down with a lawn mower on the highest setting in late winter.|
Asian Jasmine is a dense, fast growing groundcover for large areas. The small oval leaves are rich green in color and shiny. Usually this plant is evergreen, however, during severe winters it may lose it’s foliage. It prefers moist, well-drained, well-prepared soil for best establishment. Once established, it is fairly drought tolerant.
We usually plant Asian Jasmine in large, shady beds such as under large trees, though it tolerates sun just as well.
Asian Jasmine may be cut down by mowing at highest setting in late winter and again in July if wanted.
2. Lirope and Mondo Grass
Both liriope and the related mondo grass with their turflike foliage make excellent evergreen perennial ground covers. Similar in appearance, their culture, needs and use is much the same. . The plants require no special care and will grow in either shade or full sun in ordinary, well drained garden soil. They prefer moist conditions and a sunny location for best growth and bloom, but are forgiving of drought and neglect by coming back strong once adequate watering resumes.
Lirirope begins flowering occurs during the summer months when they produce numerous showy upright flower spikes from 6 to 10 inches tall which are held nicely above the arching foliage. Primary color is a mid-blue, but there are many shades between white and dark blue which can vary widely depending on the variety. There is also a pink flowered form available. After flowering, the spike bears shiny black seeds that resemble small berries.
Mondo Grass, also known as monkey grass, is not as widely grown. It is similar to liriope with the same cultural requirements, but has a somewhat more delicate appearance and constitution. The flower spikes are of paler colors, usually white, pale rose or lilac and are not as boldly noticeable as liriope, being mostly concealed by the foliage.
3. Carpet Junipers
Name(s): Ardisia japonica, Marlberry, Japanese Ardisia.
Flower Color: Pale pink to white
Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer.
Foliage: Evergreen, leathery.
Height/Spread: 6 inches to 12 inches x 12 inches to 18 inches.
Climate Zones: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
Sun Exposure: In our climate shade to partial shade.
Soil Condition: Well-drained, loamy, pH 5.1 to 6.5.
Features: White to pale pink flowers followed by long-lasting red berries, drought tolerant, deer resistant.
Uses: Massed planting, Asian plant collections, medicinal plant collections, naturalizing, ground cover, shade gardens.
Common name: Australian violet
Botanic name: Viola hederacea
A creeping, evergreen perennial from eastern Australia and the Western Pacific Islands. It grows to about 10cm (4″) tall, and spreads widely by means of trailing stolons that root at the nodes. The leaves are kidney shaped and bright green in colour. The purple and white flowers appear mainly in the warmer months, however this plant is rarely without a few flowers.
Best climate: Native violet grows in most areas of Australia.
from full sun to shady, moist areas
lawn substitute, pot plant, hanging basket plant
pretty purple and white flowers
It sometimes invades areas where it is not wanted, but it is easy to control if necessary.
Australian violet likes a soil that is constantly moist, particularly during hot summer weather. If used instead of lawn, native violet requires an occasional trim to stop it invading garden beds.
6. Dichondra (Dichondra Repens)
This is a perennial ground cover plant which has a prostrate or creeping growth habit with circular leaves and entire margins that is grown from Dichondra seed. It grows very close to the ground, (usually not over 2 inches tall) and is a warm season fast growing ground cover. It is adapted to warmer climates, but will retain its striking green color during winter temperatures as low as 20 – 25 degrees Farenheit with only slight leaf browning.
- Season: Perennial
- USDA Zones: 8 – 11
- Height: 2 inches
- Width: 36 inches
- Environment: Full sun to partial shade
- Foot Traffic: Light
- Soil Type: Loamy, well drained, pH of 5.5 to 6.2
- Foliage Color: Bright green
7. Mexican Beach Pebble
Also known as Indonesian beach pebble and Peruvian beach pebble, we have a wide collection of pebble for sale in a variety of colors. The black Mexican beach pebble is our most popular color of pebble. The waves of the sea make this naturally tumbled pebble smooth, making it excellent for use in any application that calls for landscaping pebbles.
|Exposure:||Sun or Part Shade|
|Water:||Exceptionall drought tolerant|
|Hardiness:||USDA Zones 6-9|
Sedums are exceptionally drought tolerant succulents. Many lower growing varieties are excellent for use as a groundcover or border.
We plant sedum groundcovers along walkways or paths, on small embankments and they look especially nice around the rocks and boulders of the garden pond or rock garden.
Wedelia forms a low-growing mat of foliage with deeply lobed leaves that grows to a height of about 10 in( cm). Blooms profusely with 1″ yellow-orange flowers resembling small marigolds or zinnias, which are borne singly on the end of each stem. Plant creeps and roots at nodes, making a dense ground cover.
Grows best in moist, well-drained, fertile soil, but does fine in poor soil as well. Quite adaptable in tropical climates.
Sun to part shade.
Moisture: Moist to average.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 – 11.Propagation: Division.
Excellent ground cover in warm climates in its native range. Wedelia is especially good for soil retention and erosion control. Plantings are very attractive with nearly constant and prolific blooming. Wedelia may be mowed to keep low and manicured.
The plant has use in traditional medicine: crushed leaves are used as a poultice; tea is given to alleviate symptoms of colds and flu; and it is used in combination with other herbs to clear the placenta after birth.
10. English Ivy
Soil Drainage: Well Drained
Water Needs: Low
Growth Rates: Fast
Attracts: Visual Attention
Season of Color: Winter Foliage
Landscape Uses: Border / Edger, Containers / Planters, Erosion Control, Espalier, Foundation, Garden Pond, Groundcover, Hanging Baskets, Landscape Beds, Mailbox Plant, Mass Planting, Outdoor Living Areas, Topiary, Under Shade Tree