Ground cover plants fill the empty space in your garden.
While you can also use grass to do so, these add to the aesthetic, prevent weeds and soil erosion.
Moreover, they are low-maintenance perennials that add color to your garden and are evergreen.
So if you have an empty space at the base of shrubs, bare legs of roses or in front of a border, you can cover them using these low-lying perennials or even creeping shrubs.
This article discusses what ground cover plants you can introduce to your garden.
Learn which ones will cover the empty spaces in your garden.
Planting Ground Covers in Your Garden
Following landscape ideas, ground covers can fill space in your garden while adding color and beauty to it.
This also adds texture to your garden.
However, they can simply be used to cover up the empty spaces where you cannot plant turf grass instead.
It can be a more practical alternative for turfgrass in tiny spaces or environments where it is not feasible.
For instance, in a shade garden, ground covers that are shade tolerant are a better option.
Another place is steep slopes.
These are rather difficult to mow. Hence, turfgrass will overgrow there.
Similarly, if you live in arid conditions then it will be hard to meet the water demands of the grass.
Thereby, you can use these instead of grass to cover any empty space in your garden.
However, yes the initial cost of planting them will be higher than sowing grass seeds.
That said, they can compensate for that in the long run.
They do not require expenses such as lawnmower fuel, watering the grass, maintaining the grass and extensive feeding.
When we talk about ground covers, we refer to ornamental perennials and creeping shrubs that will cover the empty spaces, not cover crops.
A cover crop grows annually in a field or garden, growing for a season.
It is later tilled to add nutrients to the soil from the crop.
Hence, its purpose is not to cover the ground but to act as a living mulch.
When it is tilled, it provides nutrients for vegetable gardening and food production.
Moreover, cover crops are annual plants whereas ground covers will stay in place and cover the area for several years.
While they are covering the garden, they provide several benefits such as becoming mulch and suppressing weeds.
Let’s find out about that below!
Using Ground Cover Plants
The uses of ground covers are extensive in covering your garden.
But besides that, they can also add nutrients to your soil.
They lock in moisture, as well as nutrients, preventing soil erosion and also becoming a mulch for the garden.
Moreover, they are also a habitat for pollinators.
Unlike grass, they attract bees and butterflies facilitating pollination.
Additionally, they can choke out and suppress weeds.
This usually happens when they are dense enough to block weeds completely such as dragon’s blood sedum.
In short, they are an all-rounder.
Besides that, you can plant them at several places in your garden.
Turfgrass will not grow well in shade.
However, these spreading plants that are also shade-loving can thrive in places where there is little sunlight.
Similarly, areas with high traffic do not retain grass well.
In that case, a creeping plant can remain sturdy and persist.
Such as Soleirolia soleirolii or Thymus serpyllum.
Mowing is difficult on steep slopes.
Hence, low-growing shrubs and other ground covers like creeping plants can fill in that space.
For instance, daylily can provide good cover for large slopes.
Covering Dry Areas
The dry and hot areas need plants that sustain in arid climates.
These include sedum or ice plant.
Choose the covers according to their needs so that they can persist beyond a year.
Plants requiring full sun need 6 plus hours of sunlight daily.
Those that can sustain in the partial sun can thrive in 3 to 6 hours of sunlight.
On the other hand, full shade plants can cope up with only 3 hours of sunlight.
While they are quite tolerant, they need watering especially during dry spells.
This helps to establish their root systems well enough for the first or second year.
Ground Cover Plants for Your Graden
While essentially ground covers are great to fill up the empty space they all serve different purposes too.
They can add aesthetics and texture to your garden while also keeping the weeds away, helping in pollinating and acting as a mulch.
If you are looking for ground covers to fill up space in your garden, refer to the following list.
Thyme – Creeping and Flowering
Flowering thyme is edible as well as ornamental.
It can cover your tiny gaps in the garden while also adding a herb to your kitchen garden.
On the other hand, creeping thyme contains low-growing purple and white flowers.
Hence, they are great pollinators.
What’s more, it can survive in harsh climates.
Whether it is full sun, poor soil, drought or cold climates, it will thrive and sustain.
Besides thyme, other creeping herbs can go well with your garden too.
For all spreading and creeping herbs, the flowers are great pollinators.
If there is enough sunlight, you can plant oregano, camomile, thyme and rosemary.
They can prevent soil erosion on a slope.
Sweet woodruff can thrive in shades and in inhospitable environments.
Moreover, you can also use it as an insect repellant.
Lily of the Valley
It can grow in a woodland garden or partial shade as well as border.
In fact, it can even bloom in moist soil.
Hence, it is easier to grow and maintain.
Plus it has a strong sweet scent that can liven up your garden which comes from the white dangling bell-shaped flowers that bloom in spring.
Plant it in walkways or in places close to the foundation of the house as it spreads pretty easily.
However, the foliage will die in winter, it does bloom beautifully in the springs.
Thus keep it planted in shade with little sun.
Other Plants to Grow
Ajuga grows in almost any climate.
Moreover, its vibrant colors bronze and deep green add to the aesthetic of your garden.
They can thrive in both sun and shade.
Also in summers blue, pink or white flowers will bloom adding vibrancy to your garden.
The purple and blue flowers of the lavender perennial can be planted in the front of a border.
They can also line a path, stay in the bare legs of roses and also cover a sunny area.
It needs a full 6 hours of sun to grow properly.
The soil should be well-drained and flowers need trimming.
Covering a large area with a mix of wildflower meadows fills a big space together.
Especially if the soil is in poor condition and the area is not suitable for turfgrass.
The mixes available are for all sorts of soils, annuals and perennials.
You can also sow seeds of a wildflower turf.
You do not need extensive maintenance for meadows.
Only require cutting a year or two.
Hence, you can even think about replacing all the empty spaces in your lawn with a wildflower meadow.
A Mexican Daisy can grow in tiny spaces at the front of a border, grow between paving slabs, fit into the crevices of walls and also the sides of steps.
It is a low-maintenance plant that self-seeds and starts spreading through its roots.
It will bloom between May to November with white flowers that turn pink as they age.
Dragon’s Blood Sedum
The Sedum varieties add color to your garden even in the dark winters.
The dragon’s blood is red in color providing vibrancy throughout the year.
Other low-growing varieties too are easy to grow and care for.
The fleshy leaves store water.
Hence they thrive even in a dry spell.
They, however, need full sun to flourish.
Moreover, the colorful foliage from chartreuse to bronze adds brightness.
Bellflowers can fill up raised beds, gravel gardens, front of a border and rockery.
The flowers are blue, blooming from June to September. However, the foliage dies in winter.
They require well-drained soil to grow.
These versatile and sturdy plants can thrive in both sunlight and shade as well as different kinds of soil.
Plus they complement contemporary gardens or even old-school ones.
The best place to plant them is under shrubs and roses.
Moreover, they bloom for a long time even if the foliage dies in winters.
Plus, they are great pollinators as they attract bees because of their vibrant colors.
If you want to grow covers along the top of the walls that just slightly spills over a slope or an edge, then go for aubretia.
They are mostly blue and purple in color.
Aubretia needs well-drained soil and full sunlight.
Plus they are ideal for rockeries and gravel gardens.
However, they bloom in spring and will die in winters.
These are 11 ground cover plants that you can grow in your garden to fill up empty space.
Planting them will add color and texture to your garden along with eliminating weeds and welcoming pollination.
Thus, if you have a vacant space in your garden that looks unappealing, plant some ground covers there.