Ground cover plants are a great addition to any garden, they can also be used as a flowering carpet, and a lawn substitute as well as providing different height levels in the garden.
The very nature of ground cover plants is that they are low growing and form a dense matt of foliage.
They can be used between pavers as well as in the general garden border. The denser the foliage the better they are at performing their duty. Some also have great flowers, so making a colourful addition to the overall garden design.
The best varieties will spread naturally without becoming invasive, some will spread by underground rhizomes, others by sending out runners. Some such as Casuarina glauca prostrate, grow from a single stem, yet are still very effective. Choosing the right plant for the right landscaping solution is important before planting.
If there is one thing that makes garden difficult, its bare soil, it causes many problems that ground cover plants can help overcome.
What do Ground Cover Plants Do :
- They form a dense mat and help with suppressing weeds.
- Some create a cover of flowers near ground level.
- They act low growing foliage plants.
- They can also act as a ‘living mulch’ and help preserve moisture in the soil.
- They are useful as erosion control plants.
- Can be used as a lawn or grass alternative.
- Assist with decreasing garden maintenance.
Varieties for shade:
Some of the best ground cover plants for shade include : Hosta, Bergenia, Epimedium, Cornus canadensis, Parthenocissus, Potentilla, Ferns including Athyrium, Brunnera, Helleborus, Pultenea pedunculata and Tiarella all make great ground cover plants.
Varieties for sun:
Achillea, Armemaria, Arabis, Coreopsis, Dampiera Diversifolia, Euphorbia, Gazania, Nepeta x faassenii (cat mint), Stachys byzantina ( Lamb’s Ear), Low growing or Dwarf Conifers are also excellent. Thymus longicaulis or creeping thyme, Verbena and Veronica all work well as ground covers.
Drought resistant Varieties:
Acacia redolens is an interesting low growing acacia, fairly dense and shrubby reachin 1m, works well as a ground cover plant. Hardenbergia violacea, Myoporum parvifolium (Creeping Boobialla) is dense growing and tough, look for the new cultivar Myoporum parvifolium Yareena, also try Chrysocephalum apiculatum, or Yellow Buttons.
Conifers as Ground Cover Plants:
Low growing conifers such as Juniperus Squamata Prostrata make outstanding ground covers.
Ground cover plants are available for sale from the following suppliers
357 Monbulk Road SILVAN VIC 3795
Guaranteed "garden worthy" bulbs, plants and perennials. Visit the website to browse our large range of daffodils or request the latest free catalogue.
470 Monbulk-Silvan Road Monbulk VIC 3793
"Guaranteed mail order flowering bulbs, perennials, roses, trees, landscaping plants, garden accessories and community fundraising Austra lia-wide."
'Umbango' 750 Humula Rd, Humula NSW 2652
Phone 0408692773 Great Range of Perennial plants available for sale by mail order.
52 Rodd St Canowindra NSW 2804
An online nursery specialising in drought and frost tolerant perennials and fragrant, edible and herbs.
Ground Cover Plant Ideas and Tips
Ground cover plants are not really suitable for use in high traffic areas, use stepping stones as a ‘natural pathway’ through areas of ground cover plants.
When establishing an area of ground cover, pay particular attention to weeding during the first few years. This will dramatically cut down on weed problems later on.
Mulch between plantings to prevent weeds, ground covers that will clump and spread however may need a finer mulch to allow the natural spreading process.
Consider mixing and contrasting species to add a variety of textures and colours where appropriate.
List of Ground Cover Plants
- Acacia Cognata – Low growing forms
- Carpobotrus glaucescens (Pigface)
- Casuarina ‘Cousin It’
- Conifers (low growing)
- Dichondra Repens
- Eremophila Kalbarri Carpet
- Ornamental Grasses
- Stachys byzantina (Lambs Ears )
- Stachys thirikei (Miniature Lambs Ears )
- Westringia fruticosa (prostrate forms)