Many perennials can also be considered groundcovers. Certainly, low-growing spreading plants are groundcovers but so are clumping, non-spreading plants that look nice when grown in large groups. Check out our huge selection of the best groundcovers for shade or sun. Low maintenance and tough!

Read More about Groundcovers

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More Information About Groundcovers

What Is a Groundcover Plant?

There are a lot of plants can be considered perennial groundcovers. Certainly, low-growing spreading plants are groundcovers but so are clumping, non-spreading plants that look nice when grown in large groups. Flowering groundcovers cover large open areas of garden, help prevent erosion, suppress weeds, reduce soil water loss through evaporation, and with proper plant selection, they look great while doing it. Plus, groundcovers reduce your need for mulch, which is nice because who likes spreading mulch all over the place every year?

Garden Design With Groundcover Plants

  • Flowering groundcover plants are an interesting alternative to conventional lawns if you do not walk on them too often.
  • In woodland areas, where turf will not grow, you should use groundcovers for shade.
  • You can grow groundcovers in between patio pavers and along paths and over the tops of stone walls to soften the edges of the stones.
  • Hill sides that are hard to access and tough to maintain should be planted with groundcover perennials to minimize erosion and still look manicured. Especially drought tolerant groundcovers.
  • In open spaces try growing taller flowering perennials that push up through your groundcovers for a two-layered effect.

What Are the Best Groundcover Perennials?

If all you can find at your local garden center are the ubiquitous vincas and ivies, check out our rare and unique perennials that make good tough groundcover plants. Below are some groundcovers that we especially like.

Best Groundcovers for Shade:

  • Carex - evergreen groundcover for shade with grassy texture. several variegated forms to choose from.
  • Hardy garden ferns - shade groundcover with great texture for the shade garden.
  • Woodland phlox - beautiful blue flowers in spring. Spreads around by seed into a groundcover for shade.
  • Ophiopogon (mondo grasses) - dwarf varieties are great in-between pavers.
  • Hosta - always a classic groundcover for shade!

Best Groundcovers for Sun

  • Dianthus - blue foliage (some varieties) and clove scented flowers.
  • Sedum - Drought tolerant succulent looks great draping over walls
  • Liriope - tough as nails. easy to maintain.
  • Verbena - attracts butterflies
  • Delosperma - colorful flowering succulent
  • Muhlenbergia -fine textured grass that looks great growing in mass
  • Laurentia - teeny tiny leaves topped with teeny tiny blue flowers...cute as a button

Be sure to check out our many blog posts about groundcovers at the Juniper Level Botanic Garden blog.