Groundcovers

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A wealth of groundcovers awaits anyone adventuresome enough to move beyond a mass planting of the big three (ivy, pachysandra and myrtle), and their alternatives.  Rather than planting a green groundcover backdrop, another option is combine several less aggressive groundcovers to create a tapestry of various forms, textures and colors. When a groundcover is properly situated in the soil and light conditions it prefers, it spreads most agreeably.  However, even the best groundcovers, such as sweet woodruff, often have to be controlled.

 

Most groundcovers that spread by stolons or underground stems can be controlled in gardens by installing edging.  An edging strip, such as landscape timbers or inconspicuous vinyl lawn borders sunk into the ground, will keep your groundcovers from trying to find out if the grass is really greener on the other side. The following lists contain a variety of groundcovers suitable for sunny areas as well as shady areas of the garden.  Most of the varieties listed are recommended to be planted anywhere from 1 to 2 feet apart for good coverage; although planting closer together will fill in the area faster.  After the initial planting, be sure to keep the plants well watered and mulched to keep them from drying out and to prevent unwanted weeds from taking over the planting.

 


Groundcovers for Shady Areas

 

Aegopodium – Snow on the Mountain

 

Ajuga Reptans – Bugleweed

 

Arenaria verna – Moss Sandwort

 

Asarum spp. – Wild Gingers

 

Astilbe chinensis – Dwarf Astilbe

 

Bergenia spp. – Heart Bergenia

 

Cerostigma plumbago – Leadwort

 

Chrysogonum spp. – Goldenstar

 

Convallaria majalis – Lily of the Valley

 

Epimedium spp. – Barrenwort

 

Euonymous fortunei – Wintercreeper

 

Ferns – (many varieties)

 

Galium odoratum – Sweet Woodruff

 

Gaultheria procumbens – Wintergreen

 

Hedera helix – English Ivy

 

Helleborous – Hellebore

 

Hosta spp. – Plaintain lily

 

Hypericum calycinum – St. John’s Wort

 

Iris cristata – Dwarf Crested Iris

 

Lamiastrium – Golden Archangel

 

Lamium – Spotted Dead Nettle

 

Liriope spp. – Lilyturf

 

Pachysandra spp. – Spurge

 

Phlox stolonifera – Creeping Phlox

 

Pulmonaria – Lungwort

 

Tiarella – Foamflower

 

Vinca minor – Periwinkle

 

Viola – Violets

 

Waldesteinia – Barren Strawberry

 


Groundcovers for Sunny Areas

 

Achillea tomentosa – Wooly Yarrow

 

Alchemilla mollis – Lady’s Mantle

 

Arabis spp. – Rock Cress

 

Armeria maritime – Sea Thrift

 

Artemesia spp. – Wormwood

 

Campanula carpatica – Bellflower

 

Cerastium tomentosum – Snow in Summer

 

Coreopsis spp. – Tickseed

 

Delosperma – Hardy Ice Plant

 

Dianthus spp. – Pinks

 

Euphorbia polychroma – Cushion Spruge

 

Festuca – Blue Fescue Grass

 

Fragaria – Alpine Strawberry

 

Geranium spp. – Hardy Cranesbill

 

Gypsophilia repens – Creeping Baby's Breath

 

Helianthemum – Rock Rose

 

Hemerocallis spp. – Daylilies

 

Houttuynia – Chameleon Plant

 

Iberis – Candytuft

 

Lavendula spp. – Lavender

 

Lysimachia nummularia – Moneywort

 

Nepeta spp. – Catmint

 

Oenothera spp. – Evening Primrose

 

Phlox subulata – Creeping Phlox

 

Sedum spp. – Stonecrop

 

Sempervivium – Hen’s and Chicks

 

Stachys lanata – Lamb’s Ear

 

Thymus – Thyme

 

Veronica spp. – Speedwell