Turfgrass is the most common ground cover used in modern landscaping. It does its job very well.
Turf grasses, however, require much maintenance and are often unsuitable in certain growing conditions. They must be replaced or repaired frequently. It cannot be established in specific locations, like under trees or in heavy shading.
Some groundcovers can be more trouble than their worth.
First, I’d like to discuss popular and heavily promoted floor covers. I don’t recommend them because they are invasive. Ajuga can be an absolute monster in some gardens. Rhizomes are the primary means of spreading it. It is essential to know that this plant belongs to the mint family.
Some plants should be grown with caution. The Lily of the Valley ( Convallaria Majalis), a hardy plant in zones 2-9, is attractive and beautiful. Be prepared to use a shovel on it when it starts to move around your yard. I inherited it, and I have to rein it in every year. While the entire plant is highly poisonous and can be dangerous to children, it smells lovely.
It is difficult to determine the best groundcovers.
Vinca is a beautiful plant, but it can be challenging to establish. One yard has a huge show, which the previous owner planted. Two yards keep adding plants and fail to establish a reliable cover.
Take care when planting certain grasses. They can behave differently depending on the location. It stayed put in a zone with a high pH and dry climate. It grew wildly in a low pH area with less sunlight. Like miscanthus, which behaves well for me, but is invasive in other places. Some plants survive barely and become a problem when moved to another horticultural area. Many plants can be beautiful and carefree without any negatives.
It can be fun to have a suitable ground cover in your garden.
Many names know the Gaultheria Procumbens. Winterberry and American wintergreen are the most popular. This beautiful little plant can be grown in zones 3 to 8. According to Wikipedia, it is a species called gaultheria, which is native to the northeastern part of North America, from Newfoundland to southeast Manitoba and south to Alabama. It is also a member of the heath family.
It was established in Zone 5a about two years ago. Ironite is the only thing it needs. It’s best to keep it moist and acidic. It is perfect for ground-covering plants such as azaleas or rhododendrons. However, acidifying it is well worth the effort because it’s a beautiful little plant. It is an evergreen plant that produces white flowers that turn into red berries. These berries are edible. It creeps, but quite slowly. It is flexible in tolerating anything from partial to complete shade. It is also one of the few plants attractive during the winter.
What a beauty! This is a plant that can be grown in Minnesota and Georgia. The glossy, leathery leaves grow from the rhizomes. White flowers are bell-shaped. There is also a new cultivar that has white berries. Many geraniums make good groundcovers, but the big foot hardy variety’Bevans Variety, a macrorhizum-type geranium, is superior. It will never become leggy. It remains evergreen in my zone 5a winter climate (it is hardy from zones 4 to 8). It grows well in the shade or sun, is resistant to ph, and can grow anywhere. It is a dense plant that never gets leggy or bare.
You can remove the flowering stems without ever having to shear them. The foliage has a beautiful fragrance. It is also excellent. It is easy to move sections once it begins to clump. The plant can grow up to three feet wide. It is the plant that I “donate,” as a professional, to anyone who claims that nothing can grow in a specific location. The flowers are a lovely shade of pink. Alchemilla mollis, or ladies’ mantle, is another classic groundcover plant. It is an attractive, easy-to-grow plant. However, at 30 inches wide, it may be too large. It’s hardy from zones 3 to 8. Alchemilla Alpina is a similar plant, 5 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The scalloping of the leaves, however, is more sharp. Both plants are beautiful.
Cantabrigiense Biokovo is another geranium that goes well with roses. This is a charming and picturesque perennial plant. It was named Perennial Plant Of The Year 2015! It needs to be easier up to zone 4. The ground cover remains neat all season. It never looks scraggly, and the foliage turns red in the fall.
The woodland strawberry, Fragaria Vesca, is a plant that has many benefits. There are many varieties. ‘Reugen’ is the variety that I’ve grown for years. Make sure to distinguish this beautiful little plant from that one with inedible, hard berries. It is not aggressive. It simply grows in bunches and produces tiny edible strawberries. You can grow it from seed, so you don’t have to buy it. This is great, because I use it a lot as an edger, and it is expensive. The plants are hardy in zones 4-8 and produce beautiful white flowers that ripen to delicious, small berries. Some varieties have yellow berries or are called by slightly different names. It is essential only to buy runners wood strawberries.
Last but not least, I have to mention Japanese anemones. Many varieties are available in pink and white, single and double. The first is my favorite: Anemone x hybrida “Honorine JOBERT,” which dates back to 1858. Hardy from zones 4-8. Great in partial shade to the sun. This incredible plant makes an excellent ground cover even when it’s not blooming.