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Groundcovers: Growing A Wall-To-Wall Carpet

This post was updated in February 2021. Original post is from 2015.

Groundcovers may be some of the smallest plants we carry, but low-growing plants can have a huge impact on a landscape. Thanks to their trailing growth habit, they will spread out over large areas, creating a living carpet in your garden beds. They can be used to fill in gaps along a garden path, protect against soil erosion and cover difficult to maintain sections of your landscape. These days people are beginning to use them as lawn alternatives as well.

Most groundcovers are evergreen, but many of them bloom in the spring, and some in the summer.

Things to Consider about Groundcovers

Before selecting your groundcovers, consider the following:

  • How much light will your plants receive? Check the area where you will be planting first so that you can choose a compatible groundcover.
  • Will they be receiving occasional foot traffic from humans or pets? If so,  consider choosing “Stepables,” a selection of low-growing plants that can withstand an occasional stomping. Dianthus, campanula, sedum and veronica are a few options from this brand.
  • Will you have time to weed during the first year? After about a year, your groundcovers should be grown in enough that they will choke out weeds from growing among them. However, you will need to weed or apply weed preventers until this happens.
  • Are you willing to prune occasionally? Once your plants are established, you will probably want to edge them each spring, then trim them periodically with hedge shears.

You will need to water periodically, especially as the plants are becoming established during the first year. We also recommend fertilizing your groundcover once per year to encourage their growth and bloom. Merrifield Flowering Plant food is a good choice for fertilizing.

Groundcovers for Sun

Periwinkle

This is one of our most popular groundcovers, and features delicate lavender flowers in the spring.

Carpet Rose, Shrub

Carpet Roses

If you have a space with full sun, ground-covering roses are a beautiful option. They are blanketed with blooms from the end of May through November, making them a great choice for areas where you want to add lots of color. These roses are reliable and durable, too.

Creeping Juniper, Groundcover

Creeping Juniper

Junipers, which thrive in sunny, dry conditions, are frequently used to cover sunny slopes that would otherwise be difficult to maintain.

Groundcovers for Shade

Variegated Mondo Grass, Groundcover, Istock

Mondo Grass

Mondo grass makes an excellent groundcover in shady areas. In places where you do not have enough sun to grow grass, a dwarf variety of mondo grass can replace your lawn or be grown between stepping stones. Black mondo grass can provide contrast with other shade garden plants.

Pachysandra, Groundcover

Pachysandra

This is an excellent choice for areas that are too shady to grow grass or other plants. In the spring, it produces small, white flowers.

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