Although it looks delicate, phlox is extremely rugged, and it grows easily in shaded and full-sun areas. As a ground cover, the quick growth and dense cover shade out native plants and suppress their growth. It can form dense carpet-like mats that displace other ground plant cover. It prefers its soil to be kept evenly moist but tolerates dry soil. Trailing Periwinkle (Vinca minor) This ground cover plant yields beautiful periwinkle blue or violet … Sundrop (Oenothera biennis L.). •As a ground cover, this ivy chokes out other plants, creating an “ivy desert” where nothing else can grow. Evening primrose is not as hard to get rid of as some of the ground covers mentioned in this article, that spread by runners. In some areas, plants like these go beyond aggressive and become invasive. It may take a while, but eventually, they give up. Add these ground cover plants and flowers to your garden to fix your yard's trouble spots, whether it's grass that won't grow, erosion problems, or boring beds. David Beaulieu is a garden writer with nearly 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 years experience working in nurseries. Doone Valley grows to 5cm in height, has a feint lemon scent and features green and gold leaves with a purple flower. There’s no denying that the variegated form of Bishop’s Weed is an attractive plant. The flowers do attract beneficial insects, so the plant is not without its merits, but it is simply the wrong plant for many spaces. Now, however, we have available a wider selection of plants that can cover large areas of ground without the benefit of a … Removing a donut-shaped mat of ivy from around the base of the tree is sometimes referred to as a "lifesaver" cut. They will survive in your compost heap. Do you have a slope that’s hard to mow? Native Ground Covers, Vines, and Herbaceous Perennials for Riparian Buffers in Northern New Jersey Watersheds. Variegated leaves are the trademark of these ornamental shrubs. The bush displays some resistance to drought once established. Cut away the ivy on the ground. Like most Mediterranean herbs, it thrives in dry, well-drained soil. In full-sun, dry areas, Phlox subulata forms a thick, pretty carpet that keeps weeds at bay. Then gardeners began to catch on to the fact that this woody vine is invasive in many areas (ask your county extension to check if your area is one of them). This fall I decided to pull up all the English ivy (Hedera helix) in my yard, something I’d been meaning to do for 20 years.I was pushed into action by hordes of Asian tiger mosquitoes (they hide in it) but there were other reasons, too, and I thought I’d post the complete list in case others might be on the fence about this invasive, destructive, non-native weed. Most are still trying to get it out of their gardens, decades after planting it. Its leaves are needle-like, but it's valued much more for its flowers, which form a thick mat of color. Actually, the pinwheel-flowered periwinkle can take more shade than the bellflower but both are noninvasive and shallow-rooted, making them easy to control. Plants will spread over time. This shade lover needs an average amount of water. There are several very attractive flowers in the evening primrose genus. These last two plants are so vigorous, that they can only be recommended under the condition that non-invasive cultivars are selected. For good ground covering plants to replace your ground covering English ivy, try blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) or tussock sedge (Carex stricta). Because this flowering vine can take dry shade, it's a problem solver: Many plants don't like such conditions. These bushes become 2 feet tall x 4 feet wide; they're slow growers. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Sundrops are biennial and Mexican evening primrose can be ephemeral, so you may think they have disappeared from your garden after flowering. Cotoneasters are popular garden shrubs and come in a range of forms and varieties. The most common complaint is that it moves into the lawn and kills the grass. These spread too, but not aggressively. Best Salt-Tolerant Plants for Landscaping, 15 Best Zone 7 Plants to Put In Your Garden, 16 Silver Foliage Plants to Brighten Your Landscape. Follow the runner to the point where it emerges from the ground. Take a look at our top 10 best all-round ground covers and think about adding some of these very useful plants to your garden this summer. Any remaining root will simply form a new plant and continue spreading. Trace runners of the invasive ground cover one by one. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Ajuga "Chocolate Chip" has gotten good reviews for being attractive, yet slow growing and fairly well behaved. There are places, like hillsides, where mat-forming plants are welcome. Add them to your vertical garden kit. Both Autumn Joy and Chocolate Drop are upright plants; if you want a trailing plant to use as a ground cover, grow Angelina sedum. The fact that its flowers nod down to the ground makes it hard to see them; if possible, grow this ground cover on a landscaping berm or other elevated area so that you don't have to kneel on the earth to appreciate their beauty. One individual plant looks harmless and charming, but it will spread by runners and quickly form a dense mat. It was one of the only trouble-free plants available in nurseries to get the job done. It's signature quality is its grass-like blades, whose dark color makes it one of the truly black plants. Marie Iannotti is an author, photographer, and speaker with 27 years of experience as a Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener. To do so, suit … For partly to mostly shady sites, English ivy (Hedera helix), Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) and periwinkle (Vinca minor) are very popular plants. Creeping phlox is a classic perennial ground cover that's hardy in Zones 3-9. The candytufts are also drought-tolerant subshrubs that flower best in full sun. Ground cover plants. It is an evergreen twining climber whose flowers are hummingbird and butterfly magnets. The plant prefers partial shade or full sun and well-draining moist soil. Most all sedums resist drought. For example, some evergreen ground covers like full sun and are suited to xeriscaping, while others will tolerate shade or want more water. Bishop’s weed was first listed as invasive way back in 1863, in Rhode Island, however, you will still see if for sale. If you’ve already planted Bishop’s weed and regret it, your best chance of eradicating it is to exhaust it. Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens (zones 6 to 9) is semi-evergreen with moderate water needs. There are many to choose from – basically any plant that will hug the soil leaving very little bare soil exposed can be classed as a ground cover, whether it’s a herb, perennial or a low-growing shrub. But for landscapes where it's not invasive (or where having a strong ground cover for dry shade is important enough that you don't mind the extra maintenance in having to control it), creeping myrtle (USDA planting zones 4 to 8) can be a superb pick. Yet very often gardeners will plant a fast-spreading ground cover without really giving thought to what it will do in the future. Not only are they low-maintenance shrubs, but they also can save you work by holding back the soil on erosion-prone hillsides, thanks to their sturdy root systems. But its leaves are bigger, shinier, a brighter green, and fill in more densely, so the tradeoff can be worthwhile. While the odd topiary or trailing vine in a container is fine, use caution if you need to dispose of plants at the end of the season. Your friends may mean well, but the reason they have extras to give away is that these plants are such rampant growers. An evergreen ground cover plant is beneficial to your garden in two ways, each of which has significant value even when found separately on plants! You can still find bugleweed in garden centers and it is still a very popular ground cover in some areas. They cover the ground densely, keeping any other plants from gaining a foothold. The species plant, Ajuga reptans (zones 3 to 10), is another invasive plant, so be sure to explore cultivar options here. Lamium maculatum Orchid Frost (zones 4 to 8) is another pretty ground cover for dry shade. It’s fleshy rhizomes reach out and over anything in its path, forming a thick mat of roots that are impossible to thoroughly fish out and remove. Pachysandra terminalis (zones 4 to 8) is a classic broadleaf evergreen ground cover for shade and also tolerates dry shade. This is often exactly what you want out of a ground cover. Above: Native honeysuckles are not considered to be invasive like the Asiatic varieties. Many native evergreen groundcovers, such as moss phlox (white flowers), are non-invasive natives. Bishop’s weed also goes by the name goutweed (a mishmash of goat weed—goats will eat it) or Snow on the Mountain. This plant is a great choice as an edging plant along walkways in sunny areas because it's a low-maintenance ground cover. I need a good low growing, low maintainance, non vining ground cover to plant under a circle of red tipped photinias in my back yard. It’s true that these ubiquitous landscape plants make excellent evergreen groundcovers, … But you should not plant bugleweed anywhere near your lawn or garden beds. They perform best in full sun. Creeping Charlie, ground ivy or gill-over-the-ground (Glechoma hederacea) Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) was brought to the United States likely for food and medicinal reasons. A semi-evergreen, it grows in zones 3 to 9. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) Euphorbia cyparissias; Hypericum calycinum; Leptinella squalida; Periwinkle (Vinca major and V. minor) Pratia pedunculata; Rubus biflorus; Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) Yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon) Bulbous plants. First things first: Protect yourself and your plants. By the way, evening primrose is no relation to the popular spring flowering primroses (Primula). Where it is invasive, like in the Pacific Northwest, it will wipe out pretty much anything in its path, covering small trees, shrubs, and assorted vegetation, blocking sunlight and weakening them until it is the only thing left. In early summer it … As with English ivy, the variegated cultivars tend to be less invasive; Burgundy Glow is one. But there are many other instances where the species makes itself too at home. Ground covers are not all bad news. Left on their own, they will take over. Species include: Iberis sempervirens Purity is a good cultivar for moon gardens, as its flowers are a brilliant white. Perfect for low foot traffic areas, thyme is soft to walk on, looks great, and can help you keep the weeds down. Grow it in shade in the South, and in full sun in the North. There are several you can even walk on. Wall germander is a drought-tolerant, evergreen ground cover. Unfortunately, it's invasive in some areas, so check around locally before buying it to avoid making a common landscaping mistake. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a few innocent plants, to finally rid the area of this thug. Lenten Rose. This list of the best evergreen ground covers includes a variety of options for gardeners, from perennials all the way up to shrubs. Aureum has white leaves with golden margins; flowers are pink. has yellow flowers that only open during the day. Back home, here’s a patch of Periwinkle between my front yard and a … If you're looking to grow something different from what your neighbors have, try Chocolate Drop, so called for its deliciously dark leaves. As it spreads, its roots from a dense mat, smothering out any nearby plants. For example, some have: Hedera helix Glacier, for example, is a cultivar with variegated leaves. The color will be best in full sun; water needs are moderate. That may sound nice for weed control, but it will eventually take over your garden plants, too. Protect yourself and your plants. Native to Europe and Asia, these ground covers were introduced to North America as ornamental plants. Other species of Teucrium make excellent topiary plants. So it can be an effective evergreen ground cover if grown in a mass. Various cultivars offer different features; for example: There are a number of plants in the Sedum genus, a group of plants considered "succulents." Juniperus horizontalis is classified as a shrub. Hedera helix (English ivy) English ivy is a vigorous growing vine that impacts all levels of disturbed … I use it to rapidly fill in gaps between stepping stones or rocks. It grows to only 2 or 3 inches high with tiny leaves about 14 inch wide and long. Rest assured, the roots are not only alive and well, but the plants have probably also dropped seed. About Ivy Screens (Hedera helix)Hedera helix Ivy screens (a non-invasive variety) are an innovative screening solution that mean you can enjoy the security of a long lasting fence with the aesthetic and environmental benefits of a hedge. Euonymus fortunei Moonshadow is a broadleaf evergreen shrub for zones 5 to 8. While many gardeners who have succumbed to its charms, few would recommend it to others. Being only 1” to 2” (2 – 3 cm) tall, this is a perfect plant to give you a green cushion of foliage in large sunny areas. Its mat-forming habit, which is great for controlling. These are not the only troublesome ground covers, but they are some of the most popularly sold and grown. (Image by Jessie Keith) It’s time for American gardeners to move beyond Japanese spurge ( Pachysandra terminalis ), English ivy ( Hedera helix ), and periwinkle ( Vinca minor ). Cut it down as short as possible in the early spring and then cover the area with plastic. Although the flowers are hardly noticeable, it’s leaves are an eye-catching mix of red, cream, and green. Some species are highly invasive and are listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales. Be vigilant. Read about the best flowering ground covers for your unique property, here on Gardener’s Path. English ivy does not offer anything for wildlife or insects to munch on, so it will grow unchecked. Grass is the best known ground cover, but grass is not suited to all locations. No border, no matter how deep, is going to keep them in check and mowing just makes them shorter; they do not disappear. Red, pink, white, blue, bicolored, rose, lavender and purple are all possible flower colors for this early-spring bloomer. Invasive Species Removal Description •English ivy (Hedera helix) is a non-native invasive evergreen climbing vine that covers and kills trees. For shady, moist spots, try Phlox stolonifera for weed suppression. Ivy has been used so long as an ornament on venerable old buildings that it’s understandable that people would think it’s benign. If the tree is surrounded by a mat of ivy on the ground, you'll need to remove the ivy from the ground and control its growth so that it won't climb back up the tree. They are looking for instant impact and fool themselves into thinking they will stay on top of keeping it in check. For many years the quintessential American shade ground cover was ivy (Hedera helix and cvs.). The plants can't photosynthesize, they aren’t getting much water, and they are over-heated. Two ground covers that come to mind for part-sun situations are dwarf periwinkle (Vinca minor) and Serbian bellflower (Campanula poscharskyana), both of which have blue flowers. While the following 7 plants are often sold in garden centers, they are true garden thugs. You don’t often see these for sale in garden centers, but they do still get passed along from gardener to gardener, especially the seeds. Although it's more often seen with blue flowers, the Alba cultivar of Vinca minor offers white blooms. Some types of creeping thyme (zones 5 to 8) are evergreen. There’s no denying that the variegated form of Bishop’s Weed is an … Bugleweed has pretty purple flowers and grows from ground-hugging rosettes. If it escapes into the wild, it can potentially blanket entire forests. We certainly don’t need to invite trouble into our gardens. It even grows well in shady sites, where you need splotches of white to brighten things up. Updated October 17, 2020. Whereas Vinca has both nice leaves and pretty flowers, Pachysandra is just a foliage plant. Ivies), is a family of around 20 species of evergreen perennial plants. Juniperus squamata Blue Star isn't a creeping juniper, but it stays short (3 feet at maturity). While it has not been designated as invasive everywhere, it is still widely known to damage the buildings and trees it climbs on and clings to. Allium paradoxum and A. triquetrum; Arum italicum It eventually becomes wider (5 feet at maturity) than it is tall. Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is native to the Eastern United States. If you can smother it, as described above with bugleweed, or use another technique to deal with plant thugs, you should have success killing it eventually. Other ground cover plants should be used where grass is difficult to grow or maintain.Unlike grass, most ground cover plants cannot be walked on. Here's how to do it: Fortunately, if you really like this vine and need a tough plant to fill in a shady spot, there is a workaround: Since it is mainly the traditional types that are invasive, select from among the numerous new cultivars that are much less vigorous growers. When planted in groups, heuchera works well as a ground cover or along garden edging. The Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is a low-growing, low-maintenance sun-loving ground cover plant that produces stunning flowers every year.This hardy tiny plant has tall long creeping stems that provide good evergreen cover in your garden. Ground covers are low-growing plants that spread quickly to form a dense cover. It also creates lovely displays of yellow flowers in spring. There is also an attractive pink version (Oenothera speciosa) known commonly as showy evening primrose, Mexican primrose, or Showy Ladies, which blooms in the—you guessed it—evening. Or grow the Ivory Prince cultivar, which is the only kind with flowers that keep their heads up. One look at the white, umbel flowers, very much like Queen Anne’s Lace, and you can probably guess that it is a member of the carrot family. Creeping thyme has fragrant leaves; the smell is released when you step on it, so tuck it between garden stepping stones to enjoy both the sight of a green carpet and the smell of an herbal fragrance as you stroll through your garden. An easy-to-care for ground cover, there are a few varieties of thyme to consider. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. Cut the runner 1 inch from the ground with pruning shears. Although an attractive plant, you may not want an entire yard of it. Many of the new types of English ivy can be grouped by how the leaf differs from the species plant. Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens) is an excellent groundcover for shade. They're evergreen in the South, semi-evergreen in the North. With Teucrium chamaedrys (zones 5 to 9), we transition from perennials to subshrubs (plants with woody stems). For the best display, grow masses of the plants on a hillside, where they will double as erosion-control plants. The leaves of Golden Anniversary are green in the middle and yellow at the margins (a white stripe in the center adds a third color); flowers are lavender. They prevent erosion and don’t need mowing or maintenance. Many have attractive foliage, as well as blue flowers. This slow-growing shrub for sun (zones 4 to 8) is valued for its blue, awl-shaped, evergreen needles. Such plants are usually evergreens or have densely twiggy growth. The bicolored pattern can be thought of as an inside-out version of the more popular Euonymus fortunei Emerald 'n' Gold (where the green is in the middle of the leaf and the brighter color on the edge). The formation of flower buds on Helleborus orientalis (zones 4 to 9) is a sure sign of … I know I do not want vinca, English Ivy, or other hard to maintain types. On wooden siding the dense cover retains moisture, which causes fungus and decay, while the rootlets pry apart siding and eventually rip your outer walls apart. Compounding the problem is the fact that these aggressive plants are still widely available for sale. But you will never have just a little Bishop’s Weed. If you don’t want to be ripping them out for years to come, resist planting them in the first place. It’s hard for a new gardener, and many experienced gardeners who should know better, to resist this plant. In general, when you see the words “ground cover”, do some research before you welcome it into your garden. The chameleon plant is a very rapid spreader. In contrast with Vinca and Pachysandra, Phlox subulata is a ground cover for full sun. The spot is mostly shady but in summer can get late afternoon to evening sun in spots. Need an alternative to grass under a shady tree? It's a flowering ground cover (pink) that doubles as a foliage plant, thanks to its silvery leaves edged in green. Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) Added benefits with Lenten rose are that it reseeds well and is vole-resistant. Check the list of introduced, invasive, and noxious plants for your state, before you let one of these plants ​on the loose. 2. It can take over disturbed areas and is considered weedy in urban gardens and turf lawns. Depending on their surroundings, these woody plants can be both ground creeping or climbing nearby trees, rocks, buildings, and pretty much anything they can lay their stems on. Ground covers definitely have their place in the landscape, but they need room to roam. January 7, 2018 3:58 pm. However, because of its self-sowing habit, you will find clusters of evening primrose popping up throughout your garden and yard. But, because it has a creeping form, it bridges the gap between subshrubs and the great majority of shrubs. In tree canopies, the enormous weight of the Ivy will eventually topple each tree. GreenStrides: Great Native Ground Covers. Creeping junipers resist drought once established. If the English ivy vines are what you are looking for, you might consider Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) or trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans). Both Vinca and Pachysandra are deer-resistant and well-suited to xeriscaping in the shade. Hedera, which we commonly refer to as English Ivy (pl. Those leaves can be either evergreen or semi-evergreen, depending on conditions. But remember, the flip side of the coin for so-called “invasive plants” is that they are vigorous growers, meaning that they tend to be successful at filling in an area. Plants suited to use as ground covers that also bear evergreen leaves must then be considered some of the best plants for landscaping. But that’s not always possible when it’s become intermingled with other plants. The formation of flower buds on Helleborus orientalis (zones 4 to 9) is a sure sign of spring. Golden creeping thyme (Thymus X citriodorus "Aureus') looks dainty, but it's a tough and fast-growing ground cover. One of the most widely grown is Autumn Joy. Green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum) This plant hugs the ground and is evergreen in our area. English ivy (zones 4 to 9) was a popular evergreen ground cover for shade in the U.S. for a long time. Bishop's Weed/Goutweed. They add beauty to the landscape and at the same time help prevent soil erosion. Always match a plant's growing needs to its location when selecting plants. This drought-tolerant plant is a perennial for full sun. It’s easy to see why gardeners are still tempted to grow them, but we have enough headaches trying to stay ahead of weeds. Whereas Autumn Joy has nice pink flowers, Chocolate Drop and Angelina are more often grown as foliage plants. If the excess is unwanted in the original planting area, divide them and spread the wealth to another spot in the yard. Ground cover plants offer a low-maintenance alternative to the carpets of lawn to which we have become accustomed. Many plants are low-growing and spreading in habit and may be termed ground-cover, but the prime requisite of a good ground cover plant is to provide a rapid, dense cover, to suppress germination and development of weed seeds and to eliminate the need for weed control measures. The Thymus citriodorus Archer's Gold cultivar is one. Houzz: Native Alternatives to English Ivy, Japanese Pachysandra and Periwinkle. The one place English ivy is safe is as a houseplant, in a container. Common invasive ground covers (periwinkle, English ivy and goutweed) are found throughout various areas of North America. There are some promising new varieties with dark purple leaves, like Ajuga "Atropurpurea", bronze leave varieties, like "Gaiety", and some edged with white, such as "Silver Beauty". Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. As invasive ground covers, these species thrive in disturbed areas and prefer shady or semi-shady areas. 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