Our Favorite Groundcovers
This is my site Written by Geoff on July 1, 2005 – 5:23 pm

Every gardener uses groundcovers in their landscapes even if they do not realize it. Often times groundcovers are overlooked, simply taken for granted as the green stuff growing on the hillside. When we do get around to discussing groundcovers, the first thing that pops into our minds are low spreading ivy, vinca minor, spreading junipers, and ajuga that we planted to hide something bad. 

Ask a lawn maintenance company in our local to name a ground cover and he will state without hesitation “Kentucky Blue Grass.” Personally, I think groundcovers are any plant used to protect the soil by forming a dense protective blanket, if it is attractive so much the better. 

Well just what then is a groundcover and what does it do! The Melbourne Water District defines groundcover plants as: 

“Groundcovers are tough, prostrate-growing plants that can help retain soil moisture, keep soil cool and suppress weeds.”

While the Virginia Extension Service describes groundcover as: 

“Groundcovers are low-growing plants that spread quickly to form a dense cover. Grass is the best known ground cover, but grass is not suited to all locations.”

Usually ground cover plants are utilized for, steep banks, shady areas under trees, under plantings in shrub borders and beds, where tree roots grow close to the surface and prevent grass from growing, and very wet or dry locations. 

Groundcovers not only solve problems but also unify different components in the landscape. A low groundcover can provide a transition between the lawn and taller plants used in beds. They soften hardscapes such as walks, steps, and driveways. 

What plants you use are based on the conditions of the site and on what you like. The groundcovers you choose should require only minimal care. They should be able to depend mainly on the rainfall for nourishment. An annual application of fertilizer may be given, but not necessary, to keep the plants growing vigorously. Selected plantings should only be divided if they cease to grow well through overcrowding. The most common mistake made by the home gardener is in not using enough plants in the initial planting to adequately cover the area. Please do not skimp in this area to save money, it will only give you years of grief. 

Groundcovers are merely another gardening tool, one when correctly used will, save you time and money, while adding to the overall beauty of your landscape. Choose your planting wisely and they will provide years of carefree charm. Do not be afraid to experiment with different plants, all groundcover does not need to look like English Ivy.

Posted in  
Modified: March 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm UTC

Comments are closed.