Groundcover Plants to Elevate your Garden
September 1, 2021
The key to creating sustainable and cohesive gardens lies in the details. Once you’ve picked out the perfect statement trees, planted foundational shrubs, and brightened your yard with perennial flowers, there’s still one important element to consider: groundcover. Groundcover plants not only add visual interest at the ground level of your garden, but they also offer effective sustainability benefits. Compared to turf grass, groundcover plants require less water, less fertilizer, and they’re less prone to weed issues. Once established, most varieties of groundcover require minimal maintenance to look fantastic season after season.
Due to their rapid growth habits, some non-native groundcover plants can be destructive to local ecosystems if left unmaintained. If you choose to plant non-natives, take care to prevent rampant spread beyond the borders of your garden. Some of our favorite options for native groundcover are Tiarella Cordifolia, sometimes called foamflower, and Carex Pensylvanica, a thick perennial sedge.
Groundcover Plants for Sun
Creeping Phlox is an evergreen groundcover that blooms in a variety of brilliant colors like blue, pink, or purple. For a few weeks in the early spring, beds of phlox look like colorful carpets of flowers that spill over borders and add a whimsical touch to the ground floor of your garden. Many gardeners appreciate phlox for its early bloom time which kickstarts the growing season with an infusion of color before many other plants begin blooming.
Creeping Junipers are evergreen shrubs with low growth habits along the ground. Tolerant to poor soil quality and high temperatures, Creeping Juniper is a low maintenance option that stays beautiful year round. As an added bonus, Junipers can stabilize hillsides and prevent soil erosion once fully established. Consider Blue Rug Juniper to add bluish green tones in your landscape.
Sedum, sometimes called Stonecrop, is a family of succulent perennials prized for their drought tolerance and adaptation to poor soil quality. Many varieties of Sedum can be used as ground cover, so gardeners have many hardy options to choose from. Check out Blue Spruce sedum for a pop of blue along your garden beds or Dragon’s Blood Sedum for touches of ruby red.
Groundcover Plants for Shade
For gardeners interested in a thick carpet of groundcover, consider planting Ajuga in partial to full shade areas of your garden. The large glossy leaves in shades of bronze, purple, and deep green draw attention downward and completely obscure the ground beneath. Purple flower spikes emerge in late spring and can last for months. Some of our favorite Ajuga varieties are Bronze Beauty, Chocolate Chip, and Burgundy Glow.
Pachysandra is a low maintenance groundcover suitable for the darkest corners of the garden. Available in a solid green color or variegated, the unique foliage shape of Pachysandra adds visual interest at the ground level of the garden. Once established, Pachysandra tolerates drought and rarely experiences pest issues.
Also referred to as Periwinkle, Vinca minor is a vining groundcover with petite waxy leaves and star-shaped blooms that emerge in late spring to early summer. While the purple, blue, or white blooms draw attention while blooming, Vinca minor is an understated plant in the off season and allows for trees or shrubs above to have the spotlight.
Groundcover plants add texture and color to areas of the garden that may be forgotten about due to poor conditions and inaccessibility. A gardener’s choice of groundcover can be tailored to the needs of their garden and to complement the existing trees, shrubs, and perennials in the landscape. Explore the above groundcover options at Cross Creek to bring life to the lowest levels of your garden.