Creeping phlox and aubretia on a garden rockery

 

Let’s Cover Up with 20 Best Flowering Ground Cover Plants

Are you looking to fill some blank spaces in your garden this year?

Do you have some areas that need further coverage with easy to grow and maintain plant options? You can’t go wrong with low growing seasonal and evergreen ground cover.

There are many reasons for wanting to grow ground cover plants, be it to help repress weeds, to create year round colour, to cover bare soil patches, to hide an unsightly area or because nothing else will grow in an area or simply because we like them.

As with any type of plants there are certain ones for any given soil type, aspect and situation. So let’s take a look at the best flowering ground cover plants to give you an idea of which ones will flourish in your gardens.

For more information on buying any of the plants mentioned in today’s post click on the images or links.

I may earn commission if you shop through the links in this article.

What are Ground Cover Plants?

Well, they basically do what it says on the tin or in their cases on the plant pot.

Their low growing, dense, spreading habit marks them out as being a great choice if you want to cover an area of ground for any of the reasons mentioned above.

Some genres will grow quickly, others will take their time to grow and spread.

Many Alpine plants have these characteristics as do some herbs such as thyme or chamomile.

  • Ferns
  • Hostas
  • Sedum
  • Bergenia
  • Alpines
  • Herbs
  • Moss

These are all useful ground cover plants but are only a few of the myriad available.

They work well with other, taller, perennial and annual plants and provide year round interest if you select ones that flower in different seasons.

Choose carefully and you can have cover in shaded areas or in a more sunny spot.

They can be deciduous or evergreen, they are really valuable in terms of giving all over coverage where needed.

Even for areas where there is light footfall there are plants suitable and indeed, when the leaves are trodden on and bruised will give off more of their fragrance.

What is the Best Ground Cover Plant?

The answer to this question really lies in what type of area you wish to cover, as I have said already there are many different genres to choose from.

It depends on your preference, as well as having a harmonious planting scheme. Other plants and the style of garden should be taken into account when choosing any type of plant.

Your landscaping plans and plant wish list will determine which plants to choose.

They are perfect for a rockery where their low growing, mat forming habit will soon fill gaps between rocks and stones, scrambling over them.

Even some bulbs can provide seasonal ground cover, when planted in high enough quantities- think swathes of naturalised crocus, eranthis and snowdrops. Or Lily of the Valley which spreads through rhizomes underground. The choice of plants is only ever limited by your imagination and creativity and soil type of course.

Spring Flowering Ground Cover Plants

Spring flowering ground cover is a sight for sore eyes, what could be nicer than seeing clumps of flowers of all colours after the long winter months?

Aubretia

Aubretia is a long time favourite with many gardeners, with many varieties in shades of purple, mauve and lilac.

It needs very little care and will happily scramble everywhere, quickly covering the space it is in.

Deep purple Aubretia
Aubretia
20 Best Flowering Ground Cover Plants

Flowering Thyme

This has a lot of great qualities to endear it to us all, pretty white/mauve flowers for most of the year, scented and edible. Plant between paving or cobbles to add some colour and scent to a courtyard garden. Or it can be used in a rockery area.

Lamium maculatum – spotted dead nettle

This little perennial spreads quickly and has a profusion of pink flowers over grey/green variegated foliage. It flowers from spring through to mid summer. It is also deer and rabbit resistant. Although the rabbits in my garden seem to eat anything, I wouldn’t put it past them to have a go at this.

Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox and auberetia on a garden rockery
20 Best Flowering Ground Cover Plants
Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox is a great mat forming perennial plant, ideal for rockeries or in the beds and borders. It flowers from mid spring through summer, with tiny white, pink or purple flowers.

Happy in shady areas too as it is predominantly a woodland plant.

All the above spring plants are easy to maintain, requiring just a short clip with shears after flowering to keep them tidy.

Take a look at my article Four of the Best Cordless Garden Shears Review, a set of these will make this an easy task and are very reasonably priced.

Summer Flowering Ground Cover Plants

Plants for summer flowering come in all shapes and sizes too, most of the ones already mentioned will continue flowering through into summer.

Some other plants worthy of consideration are as follows:

Bergenia

With the wide range of bergenia available there are one or more suitable varieties for many garden styles. Clump forming with pale pink, deep pink or white flowers they quickly spread and are easily propagated. Their large, glossy, oval leaves can sometime hide the flower stems so I tend to take some of the leaves off when the plants are in full flower to show them at their best. Leaves also give interest and range from dark green, reds and deep purple.

Campanula “poscharskyana

This is so pretty and extremely versatile with a long flowering time.

It easily spreads and has masses of star shaped, violet flowers. A perfect plant for rockeries, front of borders and between paving or cobbles.

It is also a magnet for Bees and butterflies.

Hardy Geranium

A very easy ground cover to grow and quick growing, filling spaces with in a short time. A profusion of mauve, purple, pink or white flowers attract bees and other pollinators. It will continue flowering well into summer and after a light prune with shears, will often flower again.

hardy geranium with alchemilla mollis, 20 best flowering ground cover plants
Hardy geranium
20 best flowering ground cover plants

Evergreen Ground Cover Plants

Oxalis

Oxalis is clump forming with bright green leaves which are divided into 3 – 10 leaflets, most have 3 leaflets, hence the common name of false shamrock.

Pink, mauve or white flowers are born on long stems. It is a member of the wood sorrel family, making it ideal for shade gardens as it thrives in woodland situations. But it also loves full sun, it grows anywhere in my garden so give it a try, it won’t disappoint.

Ornamental varieties can also have purple leaves and flowers range in white, peach, yellow, bi-colour as well as pink and mauve.

lime green three leafed oxalis, 20 best flowering ground cover plants
Clump forming Lime Green Oxalis
20 best Flowering Ground Cover Plants

Helianthemum

Also known as rock rose or sun rose, Helianthemum are a wonderfully versatile ground cover plant. I love them.

They seem to go on and on flowering through the summer and as with some other plants that I have recommended, a light shear at the end of summer will often result in a second flowering.

They come in a variety of colours, white, yellow, pink, red, orange, apricot and lemon.

The foliage can be dark green through to a silvery grey/green, so you can choose one to compliment many colour schemes.

 

Creeping Thyme “Archers Gold”

I mention thyme again here as some are evergreen-Thymus Archer’s Gold being one such example, a perennial that loves full sun.

It is drought tolerant and thrives in well drained, dry soil.

It’s leaves are fragrant and when walked upon or bruised they release their lovely scent reminiscent of the Mediterranean. How To Make a Mediterranean Garden.

Perfect for planting between cobbles or stepping stones.

Succulent Ground Cover Plants

Sedums are considered to be succulent plants and many of them make great ground cover plants as they spread quickly forming a rich carpet of cover. They are drought tolerant, and also survive in coastal gardens. Easy to maintain they are a firm favourite with gardeners.

See here for more 20 Best plants for a coastal garden

Sedum “Angelina”

Sedum “Angelina” or Stonecrop “Angelina” is a mat forming, evergreen plant with bright yellow leaves in spring that change to yellow green through summer and then in autumn are red/orange, therefore providing plenty of seasonal interest.

Yellow flowers on upright stems in late spring and summer.

Bees and pollinators are attracted to its plentiful flowers for food.

Sedum “Coral Carpet”

Coral Carpet is a slow growing perennial ground cover. It creates dense mat coverage and bears white, star flowers. The leaves are a deep red turning orange in autumn providing colourfully changing interest.

It attracts bees and butterflies.

For details of where to buy Sedum take a look right here.

Mesembryanthemum

These are a very colourful and attractive plant and make an ideal choice for a sunny rockery. With free draining soil and plenty of sunshine they will flower all summer long. Daisy like blooms come in many shades of red, pink, mauve and orange.

They do not tolerate frost, so provide some winter protection or bring them indoors.

Mesembryanthemum flowers, 20 best flowering ground cover plants
Mesembryanthemum
20 Best Flowering Ground Cover Plants

Details on howto grow and care for succulent plants can be found right here. How to grow succulent plants

 

Conclusion

Now that you know more about these delightful, essential garden and landscaping plants, go and choose some and brighten up those bare patches of soil in borders. Or build a rockery, or add to an existing one, simply to house some of the fine examples in this article. The selection that I have included in this post are but a few of what are available but I hope they serve to give you a taster of what you can grow in your garden.

A wide variety of plants always adds more interest to gardens in terms of height, texture and seasonality. The more plants we can introduce the better our outdoor space becomes. Our garden will evolve and grow with the passing years, developing its own micro climate and eco systems, which of it that we will be beneficial to us and wildlife.

Gardening has been proved to aid our physical and mental well being, so the more that we can do or the more time just spent enjoying it the better we are. Gardening for well being Why gardening is good for you.

 

If you have found this post useful and inspirational in bringing your outdoor space to life, please share with friends and family and on social media.

Your views and questions can be added in the comments box below, I always reply and I enjoy hearing about your garden. Post some photos!

Happy Gardening

 

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