What are Ground Cover Plants?

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Groundcovers serve many purposes in a landscape. You may wonder what exactly is a groundcover? The definition of a groundcover plant is “an  herbaceous, perennial plant that is less than 12” tall.”

There are several groundcover choices that spread at a steady pace and don’t choke out other plants. Some groundcovers that have better manners include Pachysandra, Myrtle (Vinca) and Bugleweed (Ajuga). These plants mingle well with other plants.

Groundcover plants can be aesthetically pleasing to the eye by adding additional color and texture to the landscape. They also have functional purposes as well. For example, they can help solve erosion problems. Another positive aspect is that groundcovers require less mulching than other beds without groundcovers.

One of the best reasons to incorporate groundcovers into a landscape is that, once they are established, they are very effective at keeping weeds at bay. Bare soil and unplanted beds are an open invitation for weeds to take root.

Groundcovers usually have a tendency to creep and crawl. Don’t panic. Not all ground covers are the same. Yes, some groundcovers can be weedy and invasive, because a weed is actually any plant out of place. Some groundcovers to be cautious of include: Ribbon Grass (Phalaris), Snow-on-the-Mountain (Aegopodium), and Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia). These plants are very aggressive and hard to eradicate once they are planted.

There are several groundcover choices that spread at a steady pace and don’t choke out other plants. For a shady site, we recommend Pachysandra. Myrtle (Vinca) and Bugleweed (Ajuga) will tolerate full sun and shady conditions. What is wonderful about groundcovers that tolerate any light conditions is that you can use them thoughout your landscape and that creates continuity in your design.