Are you looking to add texture and color to your garden, especially the undeveloped areas?
You should start considering planting ground cover plants. They will radically change the look of your garden by giving it outstanding colors and generous textures, asking for very little maintenance in return.
What Are Ground Cover Plants?
Ground covers plants usually refer to low-level plants that spread rapidly. They are known for their low maintenance and are used to cover a vast section of the ground.
They are the best way to completely change the look of your garden and get a perfect carpeted effect matching big stately homes.
But not only are they used for aesthetic purposes; they are known for eliminating weeds. They actually grow so dense that weeds are blocked out.
They are also used to fill the gaps in the ground where the grass is not practical or where mowing can be difficult.
For example, you can use a variety of shade-loving ground cover plants in the shaded areas where grass can’t grow well. You can also use ground cover plants instead of grass in arid climates to minimize the watering expenses.
Do Not Confuse Ground Cover Plants and Cover Crop Plants!
Ground Cover is a group of plants used for ornamental purposes and can live for many years.
On the other hand, the cover crop is a totally different group of plants. They are annual plants, planted in a garden and expected to grow seasonally to be tilled and nourish the soil. They are used in food production and vegetable gardening as a kind of living mulch.
Here is a list of the types of ground cover plants and some examples we picked:
1. Low Growing Ground Cover Plants:
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Bearberry is a low growing ground cover plant that can be used on rocky or sandy soils, or on completely dry soils.
This plant blooms in early spring and gives really small white or pink flowers that will turn into little rounded fruits similar to berries in August and September.
2. Fast-Growing Ground Cover Plants:
Creeping Phlox (Phlox Subulata)
Creeping Phlox is a ground cover plant with tiny green leaves that turn into outstanding flowers. They spread faster than most of the other ground cover plants.
Therefore, it is the choice to make if you are looking to transform your flat space into a colorful tapestry of flowers.
To keep it look good, it will need to be regularly trimmed, especially if you are using it in borders.
3. Quick Spreading Ground Cover Plants:
Trailing Periwinkle (Vinca Minor)
This ground cover plant should never be left unattended because it will spread so quickly you will not be able to maintain it. If you want to avoid that, control its growth to keep it off your garden’s other areas.
The trailing periwinkle plant is an excellent ground cover plant though because it will grow dense in shade as well as in sun. It also makes a beautiful array of sweet-smelling periwinkle blossoms.
4. Evergreen Ground Cover Plants:
Tufted Creeping Phlox (Phlox Stolonifera
The tufted creeping phlox is a ground cover plant that is usually planted in partially sunny areas with moist soil.
The small flowers it produces in early spring are pink or white. Its leaves look a lot like a needle, and the fact that they are evergreen makes a dense and thick layer on the ground and is very efficient to suppress weeds.
5. Shade-Loving Ground Cover Plants:
Mazus (Mazus Reptans)
The Mazus is a perennial ground cover plant that grows in partial shade and even in full shade.
This plant is perfect for you if you live in a place with mild climates. The plant will stay green almost the whole year except for the spring when it blooms.
If you live in a place with a tropical climate, you can still plant the mazus, but you will need to keep it moist and constantly water it in hot weather.
6. Sun-Loving Ground Cover Plants:
Creeping Thyme (Thymus Serpyllum Coccineus)
Creeping Thyme is a plant that is very tolerant of heat that grows in full sun. In summer, its green color turns into beautiful deep red flowers.
It is also very efficient to suppress weed since it grows really close to the ground.
How To Choose Your Ground Cover and Select The Best One?
Since every ground cover plant has its own specificities, the first step before planting your ground cover is to know the nature of your area’s soil.
Whether it is dry, wet, or sandy, you will have to take it into consideration. You might have to change its natural texture to adjust it with the ground cover, either by adding gravel or other organic substances.
You will also have to check its acidity level so that you can adjust it as well by raising or lowering its pH.
Take time to evaluate the environment of the area too. Ground cover plants will vary according to the amount of shade and sun they are exposed to.
The wind and sun protection are also very important to consider, especially in the winter season.
Once you have all the information needed and come to understand the nature of your soil, you can start picking the plants that are best suited to all its characteristics.
Disadvantages of Ground Cover Plants:
Although ground cover plants have numerous advantages, you might want to get to know some of their disadvantages, to be more careful and avoid they will ruin your garden.
- If you live in an area that is popular with slugs, planting ground cover plants can turn out to be a very bad idea. Snakes, snails and pests consider these plants as their natural environment and home.
- You should be very careful when choosing your ground cover plant and make sure it is well suited to your garden and the other surrounding plants. Because, ground cover plants can turn to be pretty vigorous in growth, and that could make them take over the vegetation nearby.
- Ground cover plants do choke out weeds, but, prevention is better than cure. So, until you make sure they are blocking the weeds, keep your garden safe.
We hope that you will find all of the information we provided to be helpful and that you will be able to choose your ground cover plant like an expert!