16 Low-Growing Ground Cover For The Garden
Ground covers vary in height and spread, and the ones listed below are some that grow the shortest, making them good under plantings for shrubs, flowering plants and even substitutes for lawn turf.
1. Creeping Jenny
The golden color of this low-growing creeper makes it perfect to plant in shady areas of the garden. Hardy in zones 2-10.
2. Mondo grass
Choose the dwarf mondo grass to use as dark, green carpeting for your garden. Plant along paths, in between pavers, in flower beds and under trees. Hardy in zones 6-11
For most people, mention thyme and cooking comes to mind. But there are a few species of this culinary herb that’s actually bred and used as ornamentals. The creeping, low-growing caraway thyme and woolly thyme are both used by gardeners as ground covers. Hardy in zones 5-9.
Mint is another herb that you can plant as a ground cover. Certain varieties grow low to form a very low, tight carpet that can replace grass. But be careful though, because mint spreads so fast it can be invasive and take over your garden.
Oregano is another herb that you can use as a ground cover that offers a variety of foliage texture and colors. Use in full sun to partial sun/shade areas, and be wary of its spreading abilities-it is from the mint family, after all. Hardy in zones 5-9.
6. Golden Sedum
There are different types of sedum out there that you can use as ground covers. The golden sedum grows and creep low enough to look like a high-pile carpet on the ground. Hardy in zones 8-11.
7. Blue star creeper
If blue is your favorite color then this is the ground cover for you. The low-growing blue star creeper grows to about 3 inches high, forming a low, tight mat of green that burst with blue flowers that last all through summer. It can be used in relatively high traffic areas, making it a good replacement for lawn turf. Hardy in zones 5-9.
8. Spotted dead nettle
The spotted dead nettle is a good alternative to use in shade where grass normally wouldn’t grow. The low-growing dead nettles can have bright green or variegated foliage that are spotted with a silvery-white color, and produce white flowers in spring or early summer. Hardy in zones 3-8
Commonly known as the bugle weed, this low-growing and fast-creeping plant is a beautiful ground cover with a wide range of foliage. Some varieties have bronze foliage, some have dark green and some are variegated. The flowers are either white or blue and bloom from spring to summer. Be careful in using ajuga though as it can be very invasive. Hardy in zones 3-10.
The leaves of this shade-loving, low-growing, spreading plant are a deep green during spring and summer, but become tinged with a bronze color come autumn. The white flowers bloom in spring, and develop into fruits that are bright red. Hardy in zones 2-7.
11. Wild ginger
The wild ginger has aromatic, heart-shaped leaves. It grows well in full shade, is fast-growing and spreading, and low maintenance. They flower from late spring to summer with purple blooms. The Canadian wild ginger is hardier than the European wild ginger. Hardy in zones 2-8.
12. Hens and chicks
Hens and chicks are spreading succulents used mostly in rock gardens. They are drought tolerant and low maintenance. The largest rosette in the bunch is known as the hen (the main plant) and the smaller ones growing near are the chicks. Hardy in zones 4-8.
Cerastium tomentosum is a beautiful, low-growing plant that spreads out to cover the ground. This sun-loving, silvery-leafed plant bloom with flowers as white as snow in summer, hence its name. Hardy in zones 3-10.
This South African native is another low-growing, carpet-like plant. Even though it’s low, it doesn’t really like getting walked on much, so plant it in areas that don’t get much foot traffic. If you’d like to use dymondia in high traffic areas, consider planting them in between the pavers of your path. Hardy in Zones 9-11
15. Creeping phlox
As its name implies, this low-growing plant blooms with white, blue, red or pink flowers. Best thing about it? It’s quite low maintenance. Hardy in zones 3-9.
16. Creeping mazus
Mazus reptans is a low and quick-growing perennial that forms bright green clumps on the ground. It blooms in spring and summer with white or bluish-purple flowers. Hardy in Zones 5-8.