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Ground Cover Plants Types, List, Advantages

Introduction: Ground cover plants can add color and depth to a home garden, pathway, or lawn. Ground cover plants are low-growing, low-maintenance, and sometimes tolerate being walked on.

Most ground cover plants spread quite freely and can be divided so it is a simple matter to build up a good stock of plants within a few years.

Ground cover can be used in different situations. It is probably pre-eminently appropriate under and around trees and shrubs and there is a very wide range of plants that can be used in such situations. Another good use for ground cover is as a companion for bulbs.

A step by step guide ground cover plants

Ground cover plant can be used with herbaceous perennials, though greater care is necessary here in the selection of plants to make sure that they do not out-compete the perennials. There are successful methods of using a ground cover with annuals though in general, we have found ground cover and annuals do not do well together.

Groundcover has been known to influence the placement and growth of tree seedlings. All tree seedlings should first fall from their origin trees and then permeate the layer created by groundcover to reach the soil and germinate. The groundcover filters out a large number of seeds but lets a smaller portion of seeds pass through and produce.

Ground cover plants do not produce overnight. Like grass, they can take a few seasons to attain full coverage. To obtain a good start, you must plant in spring or early summer. The ground cover plants root well when planted in the growing season. Arrange the soil before planting by digging and aerating the soil. Fertilize and add manure as necessary. When planting, space out the plants and you do not want your plantings to be competing with one another.

Ground Cover Flower Plants.
Ground Cover Flower Plants.

The main important part is choosing the right plant. You would not want a plant that produces a foot high, or a plant that eats away other plants. A good ground cover plant is one that requires the least maintenance, yet does not look uncultured or weedy.

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Ground-cover plantings must be evenly thick and it helps to set plants in place at a regular spacing in the first place. Start by preparing the ground for any garden bed. Then use a wire with regularly spaced openings at 3-inch intervals or another size if appropriate to help you distribute the plants.

Types of ground cover plants

The best types of ground cover plants need little maintenance and aren’t invasive. There are different types of ground cover plants that you can turn depending on your needs.

Perennial plants come back each year to give visual interest, weed cover, and moisture retention. These are perfect for a low-maintenance garden.

Evergreen plants provide cover all year round without the required for much maintenance. These are useful for maintaining an attractive winter garden.

Annual ground cover plants are perfect for the indecisive gardener or for those who don’t want to commit to a particular plant for too long. They often feature brilliant blooms at some point throughout their lifespan.

Herbs like mint or thyme are very excellent ground cover options and provide food, color, medicine, and fragrance.

Ground Cover Herbal Plants.
Ground Cover Herbal Plants.

Advantages of Ground cover plants

Some of the advantages of ground cover plants are given below;

  • Ground cover plants provide visual interest at a time when many other plants are completely dormant.
  • Groundcover plants are low-growing plants that serve many different purposes in the landscape.
  • They provide shelter to overwintering beneficial insects and pollinators.
  • Also, several varieties of evergreen groundcover have fibrous roots that help limit soil erosion.
  • All year long, their green shoots will help diffuse heavy rain and snowfall before it hits the soil.
  • And one last benefit of using evergreen varieties of groundcovers is they act as a living mulch, constantly shading the soil and limiting weed seed germination. Plus, established groundcovers are exceptional at out-competing several weeds.

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List of Ground cover plants


Bugleweed is a fast-growing ground cover, an evergreen perennial that generally creeps within just a few inches of the ground. Bugleweed plant is a dense, mat-forming ground cover with shiny, dark green leaves. Tiny, blue-violet flowers bloom in mid- to late spring on spikes that can increase 8 to 10 inches. Plant Bugleweed in well-draining, fertile soil in full sun to partial shade, in an area where air circulation is excellent. Bugleweed plant does well in full sun to partial shade locations. The plant prefers medium moisture, well-drained soils with an excellent amount of organic matter. Water weekly while plants are getting established, then once every 2 to 3 weeks and it is fairly tolerant of dry shade locations.

Moss Rose

This Moss rose pretty little plant with needle-like foliage and tiny colorful flowers look stunning. It is an annual or perennial ground cover plant that spreads densely. The blooms come in yellow, pink, red, white, orange and several more colors. Moss rose plant is very tolerant of poor conditions and dry soil.

Canadian anemone

Canada anemone commonly called Anemone Canadensis. The Canada Anemone plant is commonly found in large colonies, growing along rivers next to levees and on river flood plains. The anemone plant does well in medium to wet conditions in full sun or part shade. This is a perfect choice when an aggressive native ground cover is needed.


Candytuft plant care involves planting in well-draining, alkaline soil in a sunny location as the candytuft plant won’t grow in shade or overly damp soil. Acidic soil may need amendments such as lime to generate the candytuft plant. Growing candytuft plant is worth the effort as the delicate flowers appear in early spring through summer, often reblooming in fall. Candytuft holds its name from the amazing blooming that renews itself from spring to fall. Easy care and plant well suited for ground cover.

Creeping phlox

Creeping phlox plant is a short, spreading relative of upright garden phlox. Creeping phlox produce best in sunny areas, although they will also do well in areas of mixed sun and shade. The plants choose moist, well-draining soil, so if you are planting creeping phlox as ground cover, it’s a good idea to work in organic compost before planting. Growing creeping phlox over a rockery or in tough soil conditions gives a nearly carefree ground cover or cascading plant.


A low growing evergreen shrub, the Bearberry plant can be planted in dry, sandy, and rocky soils. It is a hardy winter plant that is slow-growing and it typically grows between 6 and 12-inches high, and 3 to 6-feet or more in width. The bearberry plant begins to bloom in early spring with miniature, drooping, white flowers or pink flowers, transitioning into rounded, berry-like fruits in August and September.

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Creeping thyme

Creeping thyme is also known as ‘Mother of Thyme,’ which is an easily grown, spreading thyme variety. It is excellent planted as a lawn substitute or among stepping stones or pavers to make a living patio. Creeping thyme plants normally stay short and can be effective ground covers. Creeping thyme plants are very useful, serving as ground covers or filler plants between stepping stones in sunny areas; they also can be used in cooking.

Golden Creeping Jenny

Golden creeping Jenny plant is a low-growing, rampant, evergreen ground cover with rounded, golden yellow leaves and this rugged, ground cover plant thrives in wet areas. While it will grow in partial shade, planting it in an area with the full sun will give you more vibrant colors.

It has long trailing stems, round chartreuse leaves, and vibrant yellow color flowers. It can speedily cover large areas, choking out weeds and pulling out roots along its stems.

Big Root Geraniums

The big root geraniums require to be planted in well-drained soil which also helps to kill fungus gnats and thrive in dry to medium moisture and full sun. The plants can grow to 12-inches in height and form a thick, weed-resistant ground cover.

Big root geranium is also known as Geranium macrorrhizum. It is a rhizomatous semi-evergreen perennial that typically grows to 12 inches tall but spreads to 24 inches wide to form a thick, weed-resistant ground cover. It is one of the easiest geraniums to produce. Plants spread by thick rhizomes to form a dense ground cover plant.


Spotted deadnettle ground cover plant is an easy to grow plant with a wide range of soil and condition tolerance. Choose either a shady or partially shady location when growing spotted deadnettle plant.

Dead nettles produce a unique tapestry beneath small trees or among plants that can stand up to the competition. Spotted deadnettle grows well in full shade and part shade, making it an appropriate plant to fill in shady areas as well as garden areas that transition from shade to sun.


Hosta is it is also called plantain lilies. Hostas are generally well-behaved plants that grow and spread slowly. You can use them without fear of rampant spreading. Hostas are hardy perennials that are mainly perfect for a shady garden.

Clean up around the plants and remove brown leaves in the fall to help to control diseases and slugs. For the best care of hosta plants, plant them in rich organic soil with a slightly acidic pH. Good hosta care wants good drainage. When newly planted, maintain the roots moist, not wet.


Chamomile is a delightful herb to grow in the home garden, it is a non-flowering form that remains compact and spreads slowly to form a good ground cover in a sunny position. It needs quite a bit of weeding until it is established, occasional weeding even when established. The chamomile plant is a superb companion plant, enhancing the health of plants growing close to it. Many species of bulbs produce well through the chamomile.

Trailing Periwinkle

This ground cover plant yields beautiful periwinkle blue or violet blossoms that discharge a lovely scent. If it is left unattended, it will quickly spread throughout the garden. The periwinkle plant is a great selection because it grows just as strong and dense in full sun as it does in full or partial shade.

They typically stand 3 to 6 inches off the ground, but their trailing stems can reach 18 inches in length. Periwinkle grows in partial sun, partial shade, and full shade. It tolerates deep shade conditions but can burn in direct sunlight. It requires good drainage.

Dragon’s Blood

Dragon’s Blood is a beautiful and bold ground cover plant, this loves the sun. It boasts an attractive deep red color, and the more sun it absorbs, the more brilliant color it will develop.

After several years, when it’s fully established, it can stand 8-inches tall and becomes a superb perennial. It grows quickly and will spread thickly throughout the yard. Dragon’s Blood plant is an extremely hardy ground cover plant and will tolerate dry soil and temperature variations.


Mazus is a perennial ground cover plant that’s low-maintenance. This is one of the shade perennials that perform best when planted in partial shade but will grow in full shade. If planted in mild climates, it will remain green throughout the year and will start to bloom in early spring. If you live in a tropical environment, it’s necessary to keep the mazus moist during hot weather.

Brass buttons

Brass buttons or golden buttons have tiny, fine-textured foliage that has a tinge of black, is button-shaped and has bronze-colored flowers. The advantage of having brass buttons as a ground cover is that it can be walked upon to some degree.


Lamium is one of the best choices for a tough yet showy perennial groundcover plant. Lamium plant is a fast-growing, perennial ground cover that deer and rabbits avoid. Lamium generally blooms in the summer with clusters of pink and white flowers. They have silver marked foliage; hence look excellent even when not blooming.

Barren root

The barren root is the common name for the Epimedium genus of plants, comprised of several dozen species, a few of which are very important landscape plants. It reaches a height of 12 to 18 inches with rose-colored flowers. The barren root is one of the taller types; it bears white flowers with yellow centers.

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