Ground covers are a great way to add texture to your garden and they will fill in some difficult to plant spots. Ground cover will be great in places under trees, in rock gardens, or bright sloped areas. They can also provide a nice edging to flower beds if you choose varieties that can be kept tidy and from overtaking the other plants in your garden, for this I prefer creeping veronica and sedum.
Here are my six favorite ground covers!
Creeping thyme, sometimes called “Mother of Thyme” is hardy, easy to grow and smells wonderful when stepped on along the edges of a garden path. This plant produces mounds of tiny pink flowers early in the season, but looks and smells nice all season long.
Creeping thyme can stay quite low to the ground, rarely getting over just a few inches tall, and will look beautiful around a stone pathway. It may get up to 8 inches high, and does best in zones 3-8. This plant has the same scent as the thyme you would use in your cooking and requires very little upkeep or maintenance to make a nice ground cover.
You can even plant creeping thyme as a lawn substitute or harvest some to add flavor to your dinner plate.
Creeping jenny, also called golden moneywort, is a fast growing, light green ground cover with tiny leaves on thin stems. This plant will very quickly fill in a garden bed, or crawl down a rock garden, so be sure you like the way it looks and want to have it take over an area. Be sure to check your local garden information to make sure that this isn’t an invasive plant in your area. Look for an area that is contained by a pathway or rock wall to help keep this stunning plant in check.
Creeping jenny can also be used in the edge of planters and baskets to create a dramatic effect since it grows so quickly. This plant is hardy for zones 3 to 7 and will do well in sun or part shade but does prefer a moist soil.
Sedum Ground Cover
One of my favorite, striking, garden ground covers, is sedum! It is very hardy and comes in so many different shapes and colors, you could plant a few different varieties and let it fill in a rock garden or edge of a perennial garden bed.
Hardy for zones 4-9, it prefers a sunny location and can tolerate drought well once established. It doesn’t produce large showy flowers like its taller varieties but the bright green foliage and yellow flowers are very beautiful. Look at this page from The Spruce for ten great varieties of creeping sedum.
Soapwort is another very low maintenance perennial ground cover that looks great on the edge of a rock garden. This lovely ground cover creates a mat of deep green leaves and bright pink flowers while it is in bloom.
This plant has been easy for me to keep in check and the flowers make it quite stunning along the edge of a perennial flower bed.
Soapwort is hardy from zones 3 to 7, and will do well in full sun to part shade. It grows a little bit higher, reaching about 10 inches in height.
Don’t confuse this with the mounding perennial geranium (another wonderful plant) as this one will spread quite slowly and create a beautiful low ground cover. Pull up the roots if you find it is getting into an area where you do not want it, given the right conditions it will happily fill up a very large area with uniquely shaped green foliage and relatively large flowers.
You can find these in color varieties of white, purple and blue and are hardy for zones 4 to 8. Similar to the others in this list, they will do well in sun and part shade locations.
Creeping Veronica (Speedwell)
One of the least talked about, and in my opinion, one of the best garden ground covers available is creeping veronica. This plant stays low to the ground, has evergreen foliage and produces lovely little flowers in shade of white, blue and purple.
The flowers will attract native bees and butterflies and spread color in the early months of the garden season.
This plant is hardy for zones 4 through 8 (though I am growing mine in zone 3 with success) and enjoys a full sun location. My favorite variety is “tidal pool” with its bright blue flowers and compact structure.
If you’re looking for more perennial ideas, be sure to look at my six favorite scented perennials for your garden.