Ground covers are an essential element of any garden as they provide an aesthetic appeal while serving a practical purpose. They help prevent soil erosion, retain moisture, and reduce weed growth. Ground covers are a vital element in any garden or landscape. In addition to their functional benefits, ground covers can also provide a habitat for beneficial insects and other wildlife. Some species even attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which can help improve crop yields in nearby vegetable gardens. Ground covers come in many different forms and textures, making them versatile design elements that can complement a wide range of landscapes.
Top 23 Best Shade Loving Ground Covers
Hostas are easy to grow, low maintenance, and thrive in many different soil types. Hostas prefer shaded areas with moist, well-drained soil. They can also handle some sun exposure but may need more water during hotter months. Hosta is an excellent choice for those looking for attractive foliage that requires little effort upkeep-wise while providing benefits such as pest resistance.
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Lenten Rose is a beautiful flowering plant that thrives in the shade. Lenten Roses prefer well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter and thrive best in partial shade or filtered sunlight. They can tolerate dry periods once established but don’t like soggy soil. Avoid planting them in areas prone to flooding or standing water.
Christmas Ferns is a popular ground cover option for those who want to add greenery to their shady gardens. They don’t require much water or fertilizer and can survive in various soil types. Christmas Ferns are a great choice if you want to add texture and depth to your garden. Another benefit of Christmas Ferns is their ability to stabilize slopes and prevent erosion.
Bunchberry is a compact, low-growing ground cover option that thrives in shaded areas. This plant produces bright white flowers in the late spring, followed by clusters of red berries later. Bunchberry prefers moist soil conditions, making it ideal for planting near ponds or streams where the soil stays damp. However, it can also tolerate drier soils rich in organic matter.
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Spotted Dead-nettle is an attractive ground cover that thrives in shady areas. Apart from its beautiful foliage, Spotted Dead-nettle blooms in spring and summer with pink, purple, or white flower clusters. The flowers add a pop of color and attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. It forms dense mats that choke weeds while providing an excellent low-maintenance ground cover option. As long as the soil drains well, Spotted Dead-nettle can tolerate dry spells too.
Variegated Ground Ivy
Variegated Ground Ivy is a popular choice for ground cover in shady areas. It has heart-shaped leaves with green and white variegation that brightens the dark spaces beneath trees or shrubs. This plant spreads quickly and forms a dense carpet, reducing weed growth. One of the benefits of Variegated Ground Ivy is its ability to thrive in poor soil conditions.
It can tolerate dry spells but prefers moist soil, making it an ideal option for gardeners who want low-maintenance plants. Variegated Ground Ivy is easy to care for; regular watering during drought periods keeps this plant healthy while trimming back any overgrown stems maintains its tidy appearance. However, this aggressive grower can become invasive if left unchecked.
Sweet Woodruff is a charming ground cover that thrives in the shade, adding beauty and fragrance to any garden. Its white flowers bloom in late spring and early summer, releasing an appealing vanilla scent that attracts bees and butterflies. This plant prefers moist soil but can tolerate short periods of drought once established. One of the reasons why Sweet Woodruff is widely used as a ground cover is its adaptability to different growing conditions. It can grow well under trees, shrubs, rock gardens, or containers. Its low-growing foliage makes it perfect for covering bare spots or creating borders.
Bugleweed is a wonderful ground cover that thrives best in areas with partial to full shade. The plant grows fast and produces stunning blue-purple flowers in spring. One advantage of Bugleweed is its ability to suppress weeds effectively. Once established, it forms a dense mat that chokes out unwanted plants.
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It’s an excellent choice for gardeners looking for low-maintenance ground covers. Gardeners can propagate Bugleweed quickly through division or stem cuttings during spring or autumn when the soil is not too dry or soggy. However, it’s worth noting that this plant spreads quickly; hence it requires regular pruning to keep it under control.
Cuban Oregano is an excellent ground cover option for shaded areas due to its rapid growth habit, which spreads outwards by producing new shoots during the growing season. It’s drought-tolerant but prefers moist soil conditions with good drainage. This plant can thrive indoors, too, if placed near a window where it receives some natural light throughout the day. Its ornamental value makes it perfect for indoor use, where its striking foliage adds color to any space.
Creeping Jenny is a low-growing ground cover that thrives in shaded areas. This plant adds beautiful pops of bright yellow color to any garden or landscape design. It can grow in various soil types and moisture levels, making it an ideal choice for many environments. It’s also easy to propagate, so you can quickly spread this plant throughout your garden. Its spreading nature makes it great for erosion control on slopes or along streams and ponds. Plus, it acts as a natural weed suppressant by crowding out unwanted plants.
Blue Star Creeper
Blue Star Creeper is an excellent option for those looking to add color and texture to their shaded landscapes. This low-growing ground cover features small, star-shaped blue flowers that bloom from spring through fall. In addition to its attractive appearance, Blue Star Creeper has practical landscaping uses. Its dense mat helps prevent erosion on steep slopes or hillsides while providing a natural weed barrier. The Blue Star Creeper is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a beautiful yet practical shade-loving ground cover that will add interest and depth to their landscape design project.
Barrenwort is a low-maintenance ground cover that is perfect for shady areas. This plant can thrive in almost any soil type and doesn’t require much water or fertilizer. Its heart-shaped leaves come in shades of green, bronze, and purple, with delicate flowers blooming from late winter through spring. Barrenwort spreads slowly through underground rhizomes so that it won’t take over your entire garden overnight.
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Carpet Box is a small evergreen shrub that thrives in shaded areas. Carpet Box is the perfect shade-loving ground cover for those looking for something low-maintenance but visually appealing. It does not require much attention or watering and can tolerate pruning well, making it easy to shape into any desired form. Carpet Box is the ability to create a dense mat-like formation that effectively suppresses weed growth. Additionally, this hardy plant can survive extreme weather conditions, such as cold winters or hot summers, without losing its color or texture.
Blue Lily Turf
Blue Lily Turf is a ground cover that can bring an exotic touch to any shade garden. This plant has attractive foliage, with long, narrow leaves reminiscent of lily pads. The leaves have a distinct blue-green hue and a slightly wavy texture, which adds depth and interest to the overall appearance. Blue Lily Turf grows slowly, but once established, it forms dense mats that help suppress weeds while providing excellent coverage for bare soil areas.
Wandering Jew is a beautiful, versatile ground cover that can thrive in shade or partial sun. The plant features delicate, trailing stems with deep green leaves tinged with purple hues. This ground cover grows quickly and spreads easily, making it an excellent option for filling large garden areas. Wandering Jew doesn’t require much maintenance. It prefers moist soil but can tolerate periods of drought as well.
Wild Geranium is a shade-loving perennial ground cover that can add color to any garden. It also requires little maintenance once it’s established. This hardy plant spreads quickly but not aggressively, making it an ideal choice for filling in gaps between other plants. Wild Geranium attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Wild Geranium is a versatile ground cover offering many benefits beyond aesthetics.
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Purple Heart is a low-maintenance ground cover that thrives in shaded areas. One of the best things about Purple Heart is how easy it is to care for. It doesn’t require much water or fertilization, making it perfect for those who don’t have much time to spend on gardening. Its trailing nature makes it an excellent choice for adding vertical interest to your garden.
Leatherwood Fern is a beautiful, versatile ground cover for shady garden areas. It has striking dark green fronds that provide an elegant backdrop to other plants, making it an excellent choice for adding texture and depth to your landscaping. One of the great things about Leatherwood Fern is its ability to grow in various conditions. Whether you have moist or dry soil, this plant will thrive if planted in the shade. Additionally, it’s easy to care for and requires little maintenance.
Impatiens is a popular shade-loving ground cover with bright and colorful flowers. This plant thrives in cool, moist soil. One of the benefits of Impatiens is their versatility when it comes to color options. They come in different shades, such as pink, red, white, purple, and orange, making them perfect for adding pops of color to any garden or landscape design. Impatiens are easy to care for since they don’t require much attention once established. Their low-maintenance nature makes them ideal for those who want beautiful plants without much work.
Mint is a popular herb that’s easy to grow and maintain. It’s also an excellent ground cover for shady areas, making it a valuable addition to any garden or landscape. With its strong fragrance and refreshing taste, Mint can be used in cooking, teas, and even as an insect repellent. Each variety has a unique flavor profile and aroma, making them stand out. They all have their benefits, such as aiding digestion or relieving headaches.
Yellow Archangel is a beautiful ground cover plant that thrives in shaded areas. Yellow Archangel is an excellent ground cover option for shady spots in your garden because it spreads quickly and suppresses weed growth. This plant prefers slightly moist soil conditions but can tolerate drought once established. Yellow Archangel grows well under trees and shrubs where there is limited sunlight.
Golden Star Grass
Golden Star Grass is a low-growing perennial plant that thrives in shaded areas. Golden Star Grass prefers moist soil and partial shade. It’s an excellent choice for rock gardens or borders, where it forms a dense mat of foliage and adds cheerful color to the landscape. This plant does not require much maintenance once established.
Wild Ginger is a great choice for ground cover if you’re looking for something low-maintenance and shade-loving. This plant has heart-shaped leaves that are glossy green and have an attractive texture. Wild Ginger grows slowly, which makes it ideal for areas where you don’t want to do much upkeep.
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The flowers of this plant are hidden beneath the foliage and bloom in early spring before most other plants have started to grow. These flowers also have an interesting shape resembling tiny brown bells. Wild Ginger thrives in shady areas with well-draining soil rich in organic matter. It can tolerate drought once established, but regular watering will help keep it lush and healthy.
Plenty of options are available if you’re looking to fill in the shady areas of your garden with some vibrant ground cover. Each plant has unique characteristics that can add depth and texture to any landscape. Consider factors such as soil type, moisture levels, and overall maintenance before making your final selection.
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