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Ground Covers

August 31, 2021

Ground Covers

Ground Covers

Ground covers can be used anywhere that bare soil needs to be covered. Most often they replace areas of lawn where grass won't grow. They can be used on slopes where erosion is a problem, replace grass grown on a slope when mowing is difficult.

Ground cover can be used with small gardens, compacted soil and shade for city dwellers. They are being used more because of their colour and offer interesting texture compared to grass alone.

HOW TO CHOOSE A GROUND COVER

First you need to carefully evaluate the area where you want to grow a ground cover. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it sunny or shady in the location?
  • How tall do you want it to grow?
  • How fast do you want it to spread?
  • Do you want one that’s deciduous or evergreen?
  • Do you want it to flower?
HOW TO GROW GROUND COVER

All plant material benefits from the addition of organic matter like peat moss, manure, or compost to the soil before planting.

  • Space your ground cover plants according to the tag instructions.
  • For larger installations, purchase your ground cover in flats of 50 or 100 plants and tear them apart gently at planting time.
  • Keep new plantings moist while they are establishing themselves and spread cedar mulch between plants to maintain moisture and discourage weeds.
  • If the large planting of a low ground cover looks flat, consider interspersing clumps of spring-flowering Daffodils, Ferns, or Hostas. This will give a bit of height, contrasting colour, and a variation of leaf shape and size.
  • Plant several different varieties. Each mass should be separately contained with an edging so they don’t grow into each other.
  • Ground covers like to spread. They need the containment of an edging like black plastic to keep them in check.
GROUND COVERS FOR SUN
  • Low spreading Junipers
  • Bearberry
  • Coral Beauty Cotoneaster
  • Bangle Gold Broom
  • Paxistima and Mountain Cranberry provide evergreen interest
  • Rockspray Cotoneaster and Stephanandra have an arching form.
  • Sun Rose, Creeping Phlox, Snow-in-Summer, Serbian Bellflower, Cranesbill, and low Stonecrops are all perennial flowers.
  • Lamb’s Ears and Silver Brocade Artemisia have distinctive silvery-grey foliage.
GROUND COVERS FOR SHADE
  • Periwinkle
  • Wintercreeper
  • English Ivy
  • Wintergreen
MOIST CONDITIONS
  • Bog Rosemary is Evergreen
  • Creeping Jenny, Foamflower, and Chameleon plants are perennials.
DRY CONDITIONS
  • Evergreen choices include low spreading Junipers & Bearberry.
  • Perennials include Woolly Yarrow, St. John’s Wort, Low growing Potentilla, Fleece Flower, Hens & Chicks, and low Stonecrops.
SMALL AREAS
  • Creeping Thyme
  • Scotch and Irish Moss
  • Corsican Mint
  • Hens & Chicks
  • Woolly Yarrow
  • Pussytoes
  • Ice Plant
  • Creeping Mazus
LARGE AREAS
  • English Ivy and Hall’s Honeysuckle are evergreen vines that spread quickly.
  • Virginia Creeper is fast growing but deciduous.
  • Crown Vetch and Ribbon Grass are perennials, deciduous, and grow rapidly.
DECIDUOUS GROUND COVERS
  • Wild Ginger
  • Ferns
  • Foamflower
  • Bugleweed
  • Lily-of – the-Valley
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Lamium
  • Lamiastrum
  • Barrenwort

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