Ground cover plants can dramatically change the way your garden looks and feels to give your garden a polished and complete look that is seen in parks and stately homes.
These plants are low-level foliage and flowers that spread at the base of borders to provide a carpeted effect that will fill any odd gaps, and they can also benefit hugely by suppressing weeds.
Some varieties are great to use as insulation for your soil, locking in moisture and keeping it warm during winter, in the same way that mulching does. They can even help with soil erosion, using their roots to hold everything together on steeper slopes during rainfall.
Generally, ground cover plants are planted at the front of borders creating a carpet that leads up to the path or lawn, with medium plants behind and larger shrubs and plants at the back.
Here are some of the best ground cover plants and why they might work best in your garden.
Evergreen plants are a great no fuss choice, as they are often very undemanding and resilient, staying put during winter and providing your borders with structure all year round.
Some other great evergreen ground cover options are Hedera helix (ivy), Mahonia aquifolium (oregon grape), Erica vagans (Cornish heath), Cotoneaster dammeri (bearberrry cotoneaster) and Euonymus fortunei (emerald gaiety).
Perennials are great in established borders, and will pop up each year, providing reliable and often very attractive ground cover with some incredible foliage and flowers.
A few more favourites of perennials for ground cover choices are Saponaria ocymoides (tumbling Ted), Pulmonaria officinalis (common lungwort), Ajuga reptans (bugle), and Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox).
A good choice if you like to be creative and change things around from year to year, annual ground cover plants are less common but an especially stunning and unique addition to your borders.
A few more ideas for annual plants for ground cover are Limnanthes douglasii (poached egg flower), Lobelia erinus (trailing lobelia), Osteospermum ‘Blue Eyed Beauty’ (Cape daisy) and Petunia (Purple Velvet).
Top tips for ground cover:
- If weed prevention is your main aim, try to find evergreen varieties of ground cover that are really dense.
- Make sure you have fully eradicated all existing weeds before you plant, especially perennials such as dandelions, as these will be near impossible to remove once your ground cover is in.
- Keep an eye out for new weeds sprouting up before your ground cover has had the chance to spread.
With these tips and top recommendations for ground cover plants you’ll be able to reduce the amount of weeding that needs to be done whilst sprucing up any lifeless looking borders.