The term "Ground Cover" includes low-growing plants that never reach more than a couple of inches in height as well as others that might grow as tall as two feet or more. Most of these plants spread easily, which is why they're called "Ground Covers."
Just about any spreading perennial can be used as a ground cover, and even clump-formers can be planted en-masse to create the same effect. Begin your search for ground covers by observing what grows well now in your yard. If you have areas with many happy astilbes or hostas, why not plant more to create a ground cover?
There are many reasons that ground covers are planted. They are perfect for pathways and can be a great alternative for a lawn. Ground covers also help with weed control, and erosion control on steep hillside locations. Every plant is different, so be sure to know what you want. Do you want to walk on it? Should it be evergreen or flowering? What do you want from a prospective ground cover?
We hope this article helps you find the ideal plant that will provide you with the outcome and look you desire. This list is by no means complete, so feel free to ask an employee for more help and information about any questions you may have. Please note that all plants are subject to seasonal availability.
Plants are organized into categories for easier selection. Those that are in light font are suitable for partly shady areas and the plants in bold font can take full shade. All the others are best for sunny locations.
It is important to choose the right ground cover to fit your needs and the site requirements. Our ground cover sections are organized according to requirements such as evergreen, paths and drought tolerant to make your selection process easier.
The only maintenance required is to snip off the runners or simply walk on the plants. Many gardeners have relied on ground covers to serve some of the same functions as mulch
Before planting, remove all existing turf grass, weeds, and debris. Then amend the soil with compost at a ratio of 1/3 compost to 2/3 soil. Break up any large clumps of soil and rake the area smooth.
When planting, be sure the soil level of the plant is even with that of your planting area. If the plant is too deep the crown and stems can rot due to lack of oxygen. If planted too shallow the plant will not have enough soil contact for adequate rooting or for proper water absorption.
After planting, water thoroughly. It is especially important that new plants get adequate water in the first two summers while they establish themselves.
It is always good practice to use a starter fertilizer when doing any planting. This helps the plants re-establish roots that have been damaged or lost when transplanted.
Once the plants have been in the ground for a season you can feed them once in the early spring with any balanced fertilizer.
To calculate the number of plants you need, use the chart below. Once you have the information about the ground cover you have chosen (ultimate size, growth rate, etc.), pick the closest match in column 1 and then multiply your square footage by the corresponding figure in column 2.
Then write the resulting number in column 3. This number will be the approximate number of 4” plants you’ll need to fill the area within one growing season.
Example: A plant that gets 2’ wide, with a Sq. footage of 150 ft.
.25 x 150 = 37.5 ~ 38 plants are needed
|Space Between Plants||Multiply Sq. Footage By||# of Plants|
* = Good Lawn Substitute