Ground Cover Plants

June 7th, 2021

     Ground covers are a great way to decorate your yard, lessening weeds, soil erosion, and help minimize water usage! There are many different colors, variations, and environmental needs. Fossil Creek Nursery can help you decide what ground cover would work best in your yard! 

    A ground cover should spread by itself. Species that produce rhizomes or stolons or that spread by offsets or tip layering are best suited for ground covers. They will develop rapidly into a dense cover. Some, however, grow so fast they can become invasive.

    A ground cover should be sufficiently dense to inhibit competition from weeds. If the ground cover will be used to prevent soil erosion on a steep slope, it should have a vigorous growth habit.

    Control existing weeds before planting ground covers, or weeds may
reduce the attractiveness of the ground cover planting. No one species of ground
cover plant works for every landscape problem. Consider the following factors
before selecting a ground cover for a specific situation:

  • To maintain design balance, select lower-growing ground covers for smaller areas and taller ones for larger areas or steep slopes.
  • The amount of sun versus shade and the exposure to winter sun and winds are important considerations in selecting a ground cover.
  • Most ground covers will not tolerate excessive foot traffic. If foot traffic is anticipated, install a walkway through the area before planting the ground cover.
  • Improve soils with good quality organic matter before planting. Incorporate 2 to 4 cubic yards of compost or other organic materials into every 1,000 square feet.

    All ground cover plantings require maintenance, some more than others. This contradicts the common perception that ground covers are “no-maintenance plants.” Lawns also are considered ground covers but may require more moisture, sunlight, fertilizer, and maintenance than other ground cover choices. Evergreen ground covers, such as creeping juniper, require little care.

Ground covers that develop flowers and fruit often require more maintenance to keep them attractive. Weeds may become a significant maintenance problem in ground cover planting. Ideally, a ground cover should be dense enough to inhibit weeds.


Source: CSU Extension