Ground cover plants are all-around problem-solvers: They retain moisture, control erosion, and provide habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies. While grass is typically the best way to fill out empty space, sometimes low-growing plants are a better — and prettier — option. There are so many options to choose from, including old favorites like Pachysandra and Vinca, as well as small shrubs, perennials, and annuals.
Fix your garden’s trouble spots with these low-growing perennials, annuals, and shrubs.
To make sure your ground covers get the job done (ya know, dressing up your landscape), follow the instructions on their plant care tag to give them the right conditions. FYI: Full sun means an area gets 6+ hours of direct sunlight per day, part sun is anywhere from 3 to 6 hours of direct sunlight, and full shade is up to 3 hours of sun. If you’re planting a shrub or perennial that you want to last from one year to the next, make sure it’s suited according to your USDA Hardiness Zone (find yours here). And remember that although these ground cover plants are extremely tolerant, they still need to be watered during dry spells for the first year or two until their root systems are well-established.
Very true, Sarah. Ground covers that crowd out the weeds are a perfect solution. Thanks for commenting! All the best, Jill
I have a spot with limited sun and in need of ground cover so the dirt will not wash away on a slight slop on the East side of my yard. .
No matter which variety you grow, pollinators will be drawn to its broad flower heads.
I'm glad the article was helpful and wish you much success as you experiment.
Which is the fastest-growing ground cover?
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on May 18, 2017:
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 02, 2013:
Bobbi on August 03, 2017:
Which ground covers don't need mowing?
Thank you for this information. Of particular interest is the dragon's blood sedum.
Scott Davis on March 16, 2018:
There are many ways to prevent these weeds from getting established in your lawn. Good cultural practices such as not mowing your grass too short and giving your lawn the nutrients it needs throughout the year so your grass can outgrow and compete with the weeds will go a long way to keeping them at levels where you won’t need to spray. And knowing how to choose and apply mulch to your landscape beds goes a long way to keep them nice and tidy.
Commonly found in lawns that are cut too short, Creeping Charlie is probably the hardest weed to get rid of because even a small piece left behind can regrow and make a new plant.
You can identify this groundcover weed by its scalloped leaves and clusters of purple flowers in late spring.