The Q&A Archives: ground covers

Question: Need ground cover(s) for a 50'x6' area that we can no longer mow. Needs: low maintenance, weed free, and pest resistant. Any other suggestions very welcome. Thanks.

Answer: Here are a few suggestions:
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry, Kinnikinnick) - 12 inches tall. Forms a dense, spreading mat, rooting along its stems. Grows best in poor, sandy, infertile soils; pH 4.5 to 5.5. Needs shade. Bright-green, inch-long leaves turn red in winter. White or pink flowers followed by red or pink fruits. 'Point Reyes' has dark green foliage and is best for hot, dry summers. 'Radiant' has heavy crop of red fruits. Spacing: 3 to 4 feet.

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Blue Ceratostigma) - 6 to 12 inches tall. Flowers deep cobalt blue, 1/2 inch across; blooms profusely in late August to September. Foliage deep, glossy green; tufted habit; fall color reddish-bronze; considered evergreen. Grows in sun or light shade; can become invasive unless confined. Spacing: 12 to 18 inches.

Heuchera spp. (Coral Bells) - Several species and hybrids. Size ranges from 1 to 3 feet tall. Flowers bloom during spring and summer in scarlet, coral, pink, or white. Grows well in full sun to partial shade. xHeucherella is a hybrid between Heuchera and Tiarella, producing soft pink flowers above attractive foliage. Spacing: 12 to 24 inches.

Iberis sempervirens (Perennial Candytuft) - 12 inches tall. Procumbent and spreading with more or less evergreen foliage. Foliage is dark green and leathery; profuse white flowers appear in the spring. Several cultivars available varying from 4 to 10 inches in height. Sun. Spacing: 12 inches.

I'm sure you can find other plants in your local garden center if these suggestions don't appeal to you. Good luck with your new groundcover!

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