Tired of snuffing out stubborn weeds and trying to achieve defined spaces in your garden? A simple solution to both – growing ground cover plants. We have curated a list that covers (fittingly) a variety of lit areas, soil requirements and growing types. Whatever your needs, you’ll be sure to find some well-known plants and also meet your new plant of choice.
Breaking ground on some garden basics
Before we launch into the world of ground covers, review these important points and considerations for your plants.
Areas in the garden
When selecting your ground cover plants, the amount of shade or sunlight your garden receives will determine the type of area you are dealing with. There are three main classifications of garden sunlight spots:
- Full sun – spaces which receive over 6 hours of direct sunlight
- Partial sun – spots that vary between 3-6 hours of directly received sunlight
- Full shade – areas that only have up to 3 hours of sunlight
In addition to the amount of sunlight acquired, also consider the types of soil you will be planting in. Some require well-draining environments, whereas others need moist spaces. To achieve the ground type you want, explore our organics page for a variety of soil, growing mediums and more.
Types of ground cover plants
We have highlighted four main categories for a variety of spaces and regions, and ideas for the look/s you want to achieve.
General ground cover plants and shrubs
Get volume with these small-to-medium-sized perennial woody plants, tufted grasses and blooming bushes. Shrubs in this category will have persistent woody stems above the ground and can be deciduous or evergreen.
Think of cascading ornamentals grasses like our carex varieties which are available in greens, yellows and bronzes. Or enjoy the bursts of colour with hemerocallis (day lillies) which love full sun, or alternanthera, which prefer full sun to semi-shade.
Welcome in bright, beautiful and bountiful colours. This collection of indigenous ground covers pops with our sunny selection of yellows, oranges, magentas and purples. Find your perfect palette in gazanias (African daisies), tulbaghia violacea varieties (wild garlic) or bulbine wildfire. You can never go wrong with succulents, especially those that grow in hen and chicks. Try our Crassula capitella ‘Campfire’ for its full sun and cold hardy profile.
For popular year-round coverage and colour, choose Evolvulus ‘Blue My Mind’
(also known as the dwarf morning glory). Not only do they do well as ground cover, but they also perform well in containers, where it forms a mounding mat of blue flowers. Its leaves are silvery-green and have a fuzzy texture.
Tips for growing ground cover plants
- Pick plants suited to your growing zone (region, soil type and light exposure).
- Before planting, always prep your space by removing weeds, loosening soil and providing all-purpose fertiliser once planted.
- Avoid growing invasive species.
- Consider area use (don’t plant tender, delicate plants in high traffic areas).
- On slopes which are prone to erosion, grow plants with deep root structures.
- To keep things tidy and controlled, install a protective barrier between lawns, ground covers and flower beds.
- When wanting to introduce ground cover and perennial beds, give priority to the beds. Bushes and trees need to establish their root systems and gain adequate nutrients before bringing in ground cover plants, which could potentially compromise other plants’ early rooting stages.
Ready to begin? We have you covered.
For more advice on establishing and choosing the best ground cover plants for you, contact our plant experts.