When it comes to landscaping, there are a few things that are essential: trees, shrubs, and flowers. But when you’re looking for something low-maintenance that will still add beauty to your garden, flowering ground covers are the way to go. And with so many different varieties available, there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for your yard or garden.
So if you’re thinking of adding some flowering ground covers to your garden this year, check out our list of the 13 best options. You won’t be disappointed!
What are some common reasons to use ground covering?
Ground cover plants are an excellent way to add greenery and beauty to your garden. They’re perfect for covering up spots where grass doesn’t grow well, or for adding a pop of color to an area that’s mostly paved or otherwise bare.
Ground covers can also help to protect your soil from erosion, and they can make it harder for weeds to take root. So if you’re looking for a way to improve the look and functionality of your garden, ground cover plants are a great option that many tend to overlook.
What are some tips for planting ground cover?
Before you plant any ground cover, it’s important to prepare the area where you’ll be planting. This means removing any existing grass or weeds, and tilling the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. You should also add some compost or other organic matter to the soil to help the plants get established.
Once the area is prepared, you can start planting your ground cover plants. It’s best to plant them in clusters of 3-5 plants, spaced about 12 inches apart. While it will look sparse to you in the beginning, the plants will quickly fill in and cover the ground.
Water the plants well after planting, and then water them regularly throughout the growing season. Be sure to mulch around the plants to help keep the soil moist and prevent weeds from taking root.
With a little care and attention, your ground cover plants will thrive and add beauty and functionality to your garden for years to come!
Which flowering ground covers should I consider for my garden?
While not all ground covers flower, there are many that do. Beautiful and diverse, here are 13 of our favorites:
Pachysandra terminalis, also known as Japanese pachysandra, is a flowering ground cover that is widely used in landscaping. It is a slow-growing perennial that typically reaches a height of 6 to 12 inches and spreads up to 18 inches. Pachysandra terminalis features glossy green leaves and produces small, fragrant white flowers in the spring.
This ground cover thrives in typically poor growing conditions such as dry shade and clay-based soil. It is also pest and deer-resistant and makes an attractive ground cover for woodland gardens. Pachysandra terminalis can be planted by dividing existing clumps or by planting new bulbs. It can also be propagated by rooting stem cuttings taken in late summer or early fall.
Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’
Another one of our favorite flowering ground covers is Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ also known as Carpet Bugle. This vigorous, semi-evergreen perennial forms a dense mat of deep purple leaves with scalloped edges. In late spring and early summer it blooms with spikes of blue flowers that rise above the foliage. Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ thrives in full sun to part shade and prefers moist, well-drained soil.
This ground cover is perfect for covering large areas quickly. It can also be used as a colorful edging plant or as an accent in rock gardens. Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ is relatively low-maintenance and easy to care for. It can be propagated by division in the spring or fall or by rooting stem cuttings taken in the summer.
Another method is to take advantage of the stolons Ajuga plants send up as they grow. These originate from the base of the plant and grow horizontally at or just below the soil surface. Plant stolons, also known as plantlets, can be removed from the mother plant and transplanted to new soil to establish a new colony. Stolons with roots visible on them may easily be rooted.
Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’
If you’re looking for a ground cover with dramatic color, Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’ is a great option. This succulent perennial forms a low, spreading mat featuring dark green leaves with red edges. In late summer it produces small pink flowers that attract bees and butterflies.
Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’ thrives in full sun to part shade and prefers well-drained soil. It is heat and drought-tolerant and is perfect for use in rock gardens, containers, and as a border plant. This plant is easy to care for and requires little maintenance once established. It can be propagated by division in the spring or fall or by rooting stem cuttings taken in early spring to mid-summer.
Armeria maritima ‘Victory’
The next plant on our list of the best flowering ground covers is Armeria maritima ‘Victory’. Also known as Sea Thrift, this is a beautiful ground cover that produces masses of small pink to lavender (sometimes white!) flowers in the spring. This perennial grows 6 to 12 inches tall and spreads 18 to 24 inches wide.
It is hardy in zones 3 through 9 and does well in full sun or part sun, while tolerating part shade. ‘Victory’ is low maintenance and drought tolerant, making it a perfect choice for gardens where water conservation is important.
Armeria maritima ‘Victory’ is easy to care for and requires little maintenance once established. It makes a great ground cover for rock gardens, coastal areas, and drought-tolerant gardens. This plant is virtually pest and disease free, attracting butterflies and bees.
Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’
If you’re looking for a ground cover with beautiful pink flowers, Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ is a great choice. This perennial thyme grows 6 to 12 inches tall and spreads 12 to 18 inches wide. It produces masses of small, fragrant pink flowers in the spring and early summer.
It is drought tolerant and does well in zones 4-9 and thrives in full sun planted in almost any well-drained soil. It can even tolerate occasional foot traffic making it an excellent choice for planting between stone pavers. This plant is a great option for those looking for a low-maintenance ground cover that will add color to their garden.
Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy’
Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy’ is a beautiful ground cover with variegated white and green leaves that are interesting even when not in bloom. This perennial grows 6 to 12 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide. It produces clusters of small, white flowers in the spring and early summer.
This plant does well in zones 3-8 and prefers partial shade to full shade. It is tolerant of a variety of soil types as long as they are well-drained. ‘White Nancy’ is a great choice for those in colder climates.
Hemerocallis fulva ‘Kwanso’
Hemerocallis fulva ‘Kwanso’ is a beautiful daylily that produces large, orange flowers in the summer. This perennial grows 18 to 24 inches tall and 36 to 48 inches wide so if you’re looking for a taller groundcover, this could be it. It does well in zones 3-9 and prefers full sun to part sun.
This daylily is easy to care for and requires little maintenance once established. It makes a great ground cover for gardens where wildlife is important as hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the flowers of this plant.
Liriope muscari ‘Big Blue’
Liriope muscari ‘Big Blue’ (aka Lily Turf) is a beautiful perennial grass that produces masses of large, bluish purple flowers in the fall. This plant is perfect for ground cover, as it will quickly spread to form a dense mat and thrives in warmer zones 8-10. The flowers are very attractive to bees and other pollinators.
This grass is on the taller side of our list and grows to be 12 to 18 inches tall and spreads 24 to 36 inches wide. It does well in zones 5-10 and prefers full sun or part sun. ‘Big Blue’ is tolerant of a variety of soil types but does best in moist, well-drained soil.
Euphorbia marginata, also known as Snow on the Mountain, is one of my personal favorites not only for its beauty but because it can be grown in almost any hardiness zone.
It’s a beautiful perennial with stunning green and white striped foliage forming at the tops in mid-summer along with masses of small, white flowers. This plant grows 12 to 36 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide, preferring full to part sun in zones 2-11.
This is an easy plant to grow and can even tolerate some drought once established. It’s a great choice for those looking for a fast-growing ground cover that will add some head-turning interest to their garden.
One of the most common flowering ground covers is Vinca minor (periwinkle or dwarf periwinkle). This evergreen perennial has glossy, dark green leaves and produces an abundance of small, star-shaped blue or purple flowers in the spring and sporadically throughout the summer.
Vinca minor grows 6 to 12 inches tall and spreads 2 to 3 feet wide in full sun to part shade and is tolerant of a wide range of soils. This tough plant is also deer and rabbit resistant!
It does best in zones 4-9 and is an excellent choice for those without pets as is it toxic if ingested.
Campanula poscharskyana (Serbian bellflower)
Another purple flowering favorite for ground cover is Campanula poscharskyana (Serbian bellflower). This low-growing perennial produces masses of small, blue-purple flowers in early to mid-summer. The foliage is dark green and forms a dense mat that is perfect for covering large areas or filling in gaps between other plants.
This plant grows 4 to 6 inches tall and spreads 18 to 24 inches wide, making it an excellent choice for ground cover. It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade and does well in zones 3-9.
Take care of where you choose to plant this ground cover, as it can be invasive and smother nearby sensitive plants.
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry)
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry or Kinnikinnick) is a beautiful, low-growing evergreen ground cover that produces adorable white lantern-shaped flowers in the spring and red berries in the fall. The glossy, dark green leaves form a dense mat that is perfect for covering large areas or filling in gaps between other plants.
This plant grows 6 to 12 inches tall and spreads 18 to 24 inches wide, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a fast-covering ground cover. It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade and does well in zones 2-6, making it one of the most cold-hardy ground covers on our list.
One thing to note is that this plant does not like to be transplanted so choose its planting location wisely.
Lamium maculatum (Spotted deadnettle)
Lamium maculatum (Spotted deadnettle) is a low-growing, deciduous ground cover that produces masses of small, white or pink flowers in the spring. The leaves are variegated and have a silver sheen that makes this plant stand out in the garden even when not in bloom.
This plant grows 4 to 8 inches tall and spreads 24 to 36 inches wide, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a fast-covering ground cover. It prefers part shade but will tolerate full shade and does well in zones 3-8.
Spotted deadnettle is both rabbit and deer resistant, as well as being almost pest and disease free too!