The Q&A Archives: Ground Cover

Question: I have a few areas around my home that I would like to plant a ground cover that will flower from spring to fall. One area is around my holly bushes and receives late afternoon sun. Another area is along the garage that receives morning and afternoon sun, the area slopes down a little and stands a good chance of getting pretty wet from the pool water. The last areas will be by themselves and receive morning sun. I planted portulaca last year and they did pretty well but someone told me they were an annual and needed to be pulled up before the first frost. Would this be an option?

Answer: Portulaca is an annual flower so, yes, you'll have to replant every year. There are lots of annual ground covers ("bedding plants") to choose from--including spreading petunias, and New Guinea impatiens, for example. If you'd like to plant a perennial ground cover that will come up every year, consider Euphorbia 'Golden Spurge', periwinkle (Vinca minor), candytuft, or creeping phlox--or how about planting some prostrate juniper, and mix in a few annuals for color each spring? (Few perennial ground covers will flower all summer, so you might want to intermix any perennial with some long-lasting annual flowers.)

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