Aegopodium Podagraria, Goutweed

Common Name: Goutweed
Zone: 4 to 9
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.5 to 1 foot
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: May - June
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium

Goutweed is one of the most popular ground covers for quickly covering large areas. Will rapidly form a continuous mound of attractive foliage typically growing to 8" tall with an indefinite spread. Variegated foliage is light green with creamy white margins. Individual leaflets (to 3" long) are oval and serrated. Tiny white flowers appear in flat-topped, dill-like inflorescences which are typical of the parsley/carrot family. Flowers appear above the foliage in May-June. Common name is in reference to a former use of the plant in the treatment of gout.

Ajuga Reptans, Bugleweed

Common Name: Bugleweed
Zone: 3 to 10
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.5 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.5 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: May - June
Bloom Color: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

It is a ground cover that flowers from the end of April to the beginning of July and well marked by its solitary, tapering flower-stalks, 6 to 9 inches high, and its creeping scions or runners. These are long shoots, sometimes a couple of feet or more long, sent out from the rootstock. At intervals upon them are pairs of leaves, and at the same point rootlets are given off below, which enter the earth. As winter approaches, the runners die, but at every point where the leaf-pairs and the rootlets were formed, there is a dormant plant waiting to develop fully in the spring. The flowers are of a purplish blue, crowded into a spike formed of about six or more rings of whorls.

Ceratostigma, Plumbago

Common Name: Plumbago
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.50 to 1 foot
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: July - September
Bloom Color: Deep blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

Plumbago (also commonly called leadwort) is a wiry, mat-forming perennial which spreads to form an attractive ground cover. Typically grows 6-10" tall on generally erect stems rising from the rhizomes. Oval, shiny, medium green leaves (to 2" long) turn bronze-red in autumn. Clusters of 5-petaled, blue flowers (1/2 to 3/4" diameter) appear above the foliage over a long summer to frost bloom period.

Coronilla Varia, Crown Vetch

Common Name: Crownvetch
Zone: 3 to 10
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 1.5 to 2 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: Summer
Bloom Color: Pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium

Crown Vetch is an excellent groundcover for erosion control on steep banks, or large areas where rapid cover is desired. Pink flowers appear in June and continue until frost.

 

 

 

 

Cotoneaster Dammeri

Common Name: Bearberry cotoneaster
Zone: 5 to 8
Plant Type: Shrub
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: Early Spring
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

Bearberry Cotoneaster is a prostrate evergreen shrub usually growing to 12", with trailing branches often rooting at the joints. Leaves are 1" long; flowers are white and berries bright red in the fall.

Euonymus Fortunei, Wintercreeper

Common Name: Wintercreeper
Zone: 4 to 9
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.5 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Color: Greenish white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

Euonymus fortunei 'Coloratus' (Purpleleaf Wintercreeper) is a dense, woody-stemmed, broadleaf evergreen plant which is grown primarily as a trailing groundcover. It features lustrous, ovate to elliptic, dark green leaves (1-2" long) which turn dark purple in fall and winter. Inconspicuous, greenish-white flowers may appear in June. 'Coloratus' is one of the most popular evergreen ground covers available today. Euonymus 'Minimus' has a smaller leaf, and is slower and lower growing.

Festuca Glauca, Blue Fescue

Common Name: blue fescue
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.75 to 1 foot
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: June - July
Bloom Color: Green with purple tinge
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium

Blue fescue is a low-growing, semi-evergreen, clump-forming ornamental grass noted for its finely-textured, blue-gray foliage. Foliage forms a dome-shaped, porcupine-like tuft of erect to arching, needle-like blades radiating upward and outward to a height of 6-8" (inflorescences typically bring total clump height to 10-14"). Light green flowers with a purple tinge appear in terminal panicles atop stems rising above the foliage in late spring to early summer, but inflorescences are not very showy. Flowers give way to buffy seed heads.

Galium Odoratum, Sweet Woodruff

Common Name: Sweet Woodruff
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.5 to 1 foot
Spread: 0.75 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: April - May
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

Sweet Woodruff is a mat-forming perennial that is most often grown as a ground cover in shady areas. Plants typically grow 8-12" tall and feature fragrant, lance-shaped, dark green leaves in whorls of 6-8 along square stems. Small, fragrant, 4-petaled, white flowers appear in loose cymes in spring. Aromatic intensity of the foliage increases when dried, thus dried leaves are popularly used in sachets or potpourris. Plants have also been used commercially in perfumes. Leaves are sometimes used to flavor teas and cold fruit drinks. Leaves are also used to make May wine, a punch made from white wine flavored with woodruff, orange and pineapple.

Hedera Helix, Ivy

Common Name: English ivy
Zone: 4 to 9
Plant Type: Ground cover or vine
Height: 0.5 to 1 foot; climbing to 50 feet
Spread: 3 to 50 feet
Bloom Time: September - October
Bloom Color: Greenish white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

English ivy is a fast-growing, evergreen perennial that is primarily grown as a climbing vine or trailing ground cover. Leaves are a deep green with a pronounced central lobe and creamy white veins. Baltic Ivy has a small, pointed leaf, Thorndale Ivy a mid-sized leaf, and English Ivy a broad , larger leaf. All become reddish in winter.

Houttuynia Cordata, Korean Houttuynia

Common Name: Houttuynia
Zone: 4 to 10
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.75 to 1.5 fet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: May - June
Bloom Color: Greenish white with showy white bracts
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium

Houttuynia is a perennial ground cover that typically grows 9-15” tall and spreads indefinitely. It is primarily grown as a ground cover in moist to wet areas. ‘Chameleon’ features green leaves variegated with shades of red, pink, yellow and/or cream on bright red stems. Foliage is aromatic when bruised. Tiny, inconspicuous greenish-white flowers in 1-1.5” spikes are subtended by four showy white petal-like bracts. Flowers appear in mid to late spring.

Hypericum Calycinum, St. John’s Wort

Common Name: St. John's Wort
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: July - August
Bloom Color: Bright yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

St. John's Wort is a shrub, typically growing 12" high and 24" wide, which is frequently planted as a ground cover. It features large, rose-like, 5-petaled, yellow flowers (2-3" diameter) having numerous, bushy stamens with reddish anthers. Flowers appear singly or in groups of 2-3 and cover the plant in summer. Oval to oblong leaves (to 4" long) are rich green in sun but are a lighter, yellowish green in shade.

Lamiastrum Galeobdolon, Yellow Archangel

Common Name: Yellow Archangel
Zone: 4 to 9
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.5 to 1 foot
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Color: Yellow, flecked brown
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

Also commonly called Yellow Archangel, this spreading perennial is most often grown as a ground cover. Typically forms a loose mat of foliage (to 12" tall) which spreads indefinitely. Ovate, medium green leaves are usually splashed with silver. Whorls of small, two-lipped, yellow flowers appear in whorls on short axillary stalks (to 3/4" long) in late spring.

Lamium Maculatum, Spotted Dead Nettle

Common Name: Spotted Dead Nettle
Zone: 3 to 8
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: May - July
Bloom Color: Light pink, White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

Spotted Dead Nettle is noted for its compact size, variegated foliage, white or pink flowers and spreading habit. It is a mat-forming perennial ground cover that typically grows 3-6” high and spreads to 12-24” wide or more by sprawling stems which root in the ground at the nodes as they go. It grows vigorously in optimum conditions but is easy to control and is not considered to be too aggressive. Features arrowhead-shaped, silvery white leaves with thin green margins. Clusters of small, white or light pink flowers appear at the stem ends in late spring to early summer, sometimes with a brief fall rebloom.

Liriope, Lilyturf

Common Name: Lily Turf
Zone: 5 to 10
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: August - September
Bloom Color: Lavender
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

'Big Blue' lilyturf is a tufted, grass-like perennial which typically grows 12-18" high and features a clump of strap-like, arching, glossy, dark green leaves (1" wide). Variegated lilyturf has arching leaves of yellowish-white and green. Clumps slowly expand by short stolons, but do not spread. 'Spicata' is a creeping lilyturf which has a spreading habit. Erect, showy flower spikes with tiered whorls of dense, lavender flowers rise just above the leaves in late summer. Flowers give way in fall to blackish berries which often persist into winter. Evergreen in the South, but foliage can turn brown in areas with cold winters such as Ohio.

Pachysandra Terminalis, Japanese Spurge

Common Name: Japanese pachysandra
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Ground cover or vine
Height: 0.5 to 1 foot
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

Japanese pachysandra is a shrubby, evergreen ground cover which grows 8-12" high and spreads by rhizomes to form a dense carpet of rich, dark green foliage. Oval leaves (2-4" long) appear primarily in whorls at the stem ends. Tiny white flowers in 1-2" long spikes bloom in early spring. 'Green Carpet' pachysandra typically remains lower than terminalis, while Variegated pachysandra has green and white foliage.

Phlox Subulata, Creeping Phlox

Common Name: Creeping Phlox
Zone: 3 to 9
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: March - May
Bloom Color: Violet-blue, pink or white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

Phlox subulata (also moss pink, mountain phlox or creeping phlox) is a vigorous, spreading, mat-forming, sun-loving phlox that grows to only 6” tall but spreads to 24” wide. It is noted for it creeping habit, its linear to awl-shaped leaves (which retain some green in winter) and its carpet of mid-spring flowers with notched flower petals. It is native to somewhat dry, rocky or sandy places, open woodland areas and slopes from Michigan and Ohio south to Kentucky and Tennessee. Loose clusters of fragrant, tubular flowers (to 3/4” wide) bloom in April-May. Each flower has five, flat, petal-like, rounded lobes that are distinctively notched. Flowers are violet-blue, pink or white.

Sedum, Stonecrop

Common Name: Stonecrop
Zone: 3 to 8
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: June - July
Bloom Color: Various
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

Sedum is a low-growing, sprawling, mat-forming ground cover (also commonly called Stonecrop). It typically rises only 2-6” tall but spreads to 12-18” wide. Creeping, branching stems root at the nodes. Leaves are attractive throughout the growing season. Varieties are available with many flowers colors.

Sempervivum, Hens & Chicks

Common Name: Hens & Chicks
Zone: 5
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: .05 to 1 foot
Spread: .05 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: Summer
Bloom Color: Various
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry
Maintenance: Low

Hens and chicks comprise a group of succulent plants that make interesting rock garden specimens. Rosettes are of various colors and sizes. The flowering stem from a rosette will die and is replaced by offsets (called chicks) that it has produced.

Thymus Pseudolanuginosus, Woolly Thyme

Common Name: Woolly Thyme
Zone: 5 to 8
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.25 to 0.25 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: June - July
Bloom Color: Pale pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

Woolly thyme is a creeping, woody based perennial which is used as a ground cover. Hairy stems give rise to the common name. Stems form a flat mat often no more than 1/2" tall but spreading to 12" wide, with very tiny, elliptic, gray leaves (to 1/8"). Leaves have little if any fragrance and are unsuitable for culinary use. Tiny, tubular, pale pink flowers appear in the leaf axils in summer in a somewhat sparse bloom. Flowers are attractive to bees.

Thymus Serphyllum, Creeping Thyme

Common Name: Creeping Thyme
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.25 to 0.25 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: June - July
Bloom Color: Deep pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

This thyme (sometimes commonly called creeping thyme, wild thyme or mother-of-thyme) is a creeping, woody based perennial which is primarily used as a ground cover. Numerous, thin, somewhat woody stems form a flat mat (2-3" tall) with tiny rounded, glossy blue-green leaves (to 1/4"). Although leaves are aromatic, strength of scent varies according to season and habitat and leaves are usually not considered to be of culinary quality. Clusters of tiny, tubular, deep pink flowers appear in summer. Flowers are attractive to bees.

Vinca Minor, Myrtle/Periwinkle

Common Name: Myrtle/Periwinkle
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Spread: 0.5 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: May - June
Bloom Color: Lavender blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium

This species of periwinkle is one of the most popular and widely used ground covers. Trailing stems with smooth, evergreen leaves (to 1.5" long) root at the nodes as they go along the ground and quickly spread to form an attractive ground cover. Tubular, lavender blue, phlox-like flowers (to 1 inch across) appear in the leaf axils in spring and continue to flower intermittently throughout summer into fall. Foliage will mound up to 6" tall. Also commonly called dwarf periwinkle and creeping myrtle.

Waldsteinia Ternata, Barren Strawberry

Common Name: Barren Strawberry
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Ground Cover
Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Spread: 0.5 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: April - June
Bloom Color: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

Waldsteinia, which is also known as Barren Strawberry, is a compact plant grown primarily as a ground cover. Features strawberry-like, trifoliate leaves arranged in rosettes, 5-petaled, strawberry-like, yellow flowers and inedible fruit. Typically grows 4-6" tall and spreads by stolons and rhizomes to form a thick carpet of foliage.