Groundcover is an important and sometimes overlooked part of landscaping. It prevents soil erosion, provides habitat for wildlife, and helps keep out invasive weeds. It also just plain looks good. Whether you’re fighting erosion in a hard-to-plant part of your yard, filling in under bigger shrubs, looking for an interesting alternative to a traditional lawn, or just like the look of a low growing, creeping carpet of vegetation, groundcover plants are for you.
Here are our top 5 groundcover plants for landscapes:
1. Pachysandra – This is an evergreen groundcover that is especially good at crowding out weeds. This also means that it will be good at crowding out other things, so make sure to plant it where nothing else will have to compete with it. It tends to reach 6 to 9 inches (15-23 cm.) in height, and grows in a very dense, spreading habit. There are many varieties of pachysandra available, both the popular Japanese pachysandra and several other native North American types.
2. Creeping Phlox – Phlox subulata is the low growing, spreading variety of the popular flowering phlox plant. Hardy in USDA zones 3b to 8, creeping phlox tends to top out at 6 inches (15 cm.) in height. Its tiny, needle-like leaves are evergreen and accompanied in the spring by a multitude of pink, purple, or white flowers.
3. Creeping Juniper – This variety of juniper is very drought tolerant and tough. It needs well drained soil and performs best with full sun exposure. Creeping juniper is suitable for filling in areas in foundation plantings or other garden areas but may also be used as an attractive accent in flower borders.
4. Lantana – Creeping varieties of this flowering plant top out at 12 to 18 inches (30-46 cm.). Lantanas like full sun and well-draining soil and will do well in salty areas. They produce beautiful and often multi-colored flowers, which are magnets for butterflies.
5. Cast Iron Plant – A creeping evergreen plant with thick, dark green leaves, the cast iron plant is very tough and will grow in almost any soil and even dense shade. A little on the tall side, it can reach up to 18 inches (46 cm.) in height.