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easy Ground Cover Plants You Can Grow

Lets find out about gorgeous, easy ground cover plants you can grow in your garden. They are great for hard to maintain areas that you just want to look better or keep weeds down in.

I am a big fan of low growing, matting plants also known as ground cover plants.  They are so wonderful between stepping stones, great as edging a bed and used in rock gardens.  

There a so many to choose from but I will share ones I have actually grown and had success with.  All of these make gorgeous ground covers.

Creeping Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) ground cover plant

Yes this is the short brother of the relaxing, sleep inducing herb.  It is used as a lawn replacement in many areas.

It takes foot traffic once established and with each step you get a sweet apple fragrance that is delightful.

This particular variety is Roman Chamomile and creates a thick mat and flowers later in the Summer.

Gorgeous easy ground covers, creeping chamomile or Roman chamomile

It is fairly easy to transplant.  I just dug up some clumps from an well established area and poked them in the ground between new stepping stones pavers I am placing in my Secret Garden.  

It grows great in Zones 4-9. It will fill in to create a carpet of green between the concrete pavers and soften the look of the edges.

Gorgeous groundcovers, creeping chamomile or Roman chamomile

Lime Thyme (Thymus citriodorus)

The plant along the outside edges that looks a bit ragged is Lime Thyme.  

I had just transplanted it from a larger clump.  It gets its name from the citrusy scent and not its color.

Unlike Lemon Thyme, Lime Thyme is not really good as a culinary herb as it does not taste as well as it smells.

Lime thyme grows in my garden in both full sun and part shade.  Once established it is very drought tolerant.

Lime Thyme a ground cover plant with a citrus scent

Lime Thyme starts out very chartreuse in the Spring and settles into a bright green for the rest of the summer.

It gets up to 6 inches tall but I easily trim it with my weed whacker.  Lime thyme dies back in winter and can look like it is dead.  

Don’t despair, it comes back with a vengeance when warmer weather arrives.  You can see the Lime Thyme starting to creep over my board walk in the photo below.

Gorgeous groundcovers, Lime Thyme

Woolly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)

Woolly Thyme is very different from the Lime Thyme.  

It has blue grey leaves that are fuzzy looking.  Woolly thyme blooms  small lavender flowers intermittently through the summer and in my garden stays a bit shorter than Lime.  

Drought tolerant and perennial in Zones 4-8 but I say probably even higher.  It likes full sun but can take partial shade.

Gorgeous Groundcovers, Wooly Thyme

It creeps along at a sedate pace and is well mannered in my garden but others have said it can get become a bit of a bully.  

I treat it the same as the Lime Thyme in that I just whack it back with my weed whacker when it needs a trim.  It takes foot traffic and has the spicy Thyme scent.  Woolly thyme can be used as a culinary herb.

Gorgeous Groundcovers, Wooly Thyme

The photo above was taken more early morning so it is a bit darker but you can see how it creeps over the flagstone here and is quite thick.

I also have Lemon Thyme, Elfin Thyme, Creeping Thyme and Ruby Thyme.

Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata)

Creeping phlox is one of my Spring favorites as it brightens up the garden before much else is blooming.  I have both the lavender and bright pink.

Gorgeous groundcovers, Creeping Phlox

The lavender blooms first then as it is just starting the fade the bright pink starts blooming in earnest making for a bright show.  

It creeps along at a tolerable rate on most soils. Where I have my creeping phlox planted the soil is very rocky and shallow yet it thrives,  and it is easy to pull up from where you may not want it.  

Creeping phlox gets to 4 to 6 inches tall and will cover banks, hills or flat areas with a carpet of color in Spring.  Once it is done blooming it maintains a lush green appearance.  It is hardy in zones 3-9 and comes in an abundance of colors, some is even bi-colored.

Blue Star Creeper

I became acquainted with Blue Star Creeper about 30 years ago.  I had it growing under my garden bench where it got dappled sun and it filled in so wonderfully.  

The the pale blue, star like flowers give it an elegant touch of charm.

gorgeous groundcovers blue star creeper

Here I have not found it invasive in the least but some in warmer regions may.  Mine stays where I want it and doesn’t really travel far.  

I have read of others in areas like the Southeast who have found it to be a bit of a bully.

One gardeners well mannered plant can be another gardeners nightmare so be sure to do your research and any local garden center with trained personnel should be able to tell you if something is right for your area and climate or not.

There is a white one of this and I have a new one I am trying as well it is a dwarf. I will let you know how it grows for me. 

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Chartreuse leaves on trailing stems that form a low growing mat that roots as it spreads.  I have read this is very aggressive in areas that get rainy summers like the Pacific Northwest and I have found it to be a bit rampant myself but I can contain it so far.  

What is lovely about this is it will do well in sun or shade.  It makes a great shady area ground cover as the foliage really lights up darker areas of the garden.  

It is wonderful as a spiller in containers as well.

Gorgeous Groundcovers, Creeping Jenny

Baby Tears ((Soleirolia soleirolii)

I love this for shady areas, I have it on the North side of my studio under my bench.   

I just replanted this year so it has not filled in yet but I will share a photo later on in the season to show you how pretty it looks all filled in.

Gorgeous groundcovers, Baby tears

Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii)

One of my favorites for walking on as it has such a fabulous minty scent, it is the lowest growing and it is so delicately lovely.  It looks a lot like Baby Tears but this one likes the sun.  

You need to keep it well watered to get it to spread thickly.  It goes dormant in winter and you think it has disappeared but when warm weather returns it makes itself seen. Zones 6-9

gorgeous groundcovers, corsican mint

Scotch Moss

Scotch Moss is a workhorse of a ground cover.  It grows in bright golden tufts and carpets an area so well it can be used as a lawn substitute. It has lovely little white flowers in Spring. It does better in part shade than full sun. It scorches in full sun in the heat of summer. 

Gorgeous Groundcovers, Scotch Moss

Creeping Speedwell -Veronica Replens

I have this one also in a chartreuse color and it is very slow growing, it is called Sunshine.  I have read that this darker green one can be invasive for some, just fair warning.

It is similar to the Blue Star Creeper in looks.  Veronica Replens will work in shade, part shade or sun.  Kind of an all purpose groundcover.  Zones 6-9.  

I haven’t grown this one long so I will have to chime in later on what I think of it after this summer.

Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum)

I have several different cultivars but they all make for a great ground cover in different areas.  

If you haven’t thought of these succulents as an easy ground cover you are missing out. 

They take tough conditions, spread out to about 2 feet and are easily divided to provide more. 

hens and chicks as an easy ground cover

The leaves vary in color depending on which cultivar you have but all make for a lovely, easy ground cover.  Meet their conditions and Hens & Chicks will reward you with an abundance of rosette shaped clusters. 

That is just some of the ground covers I grow.  I also have an entire collection of low growing or creeping Sedums that I will take an entire post themselves.

If you grow any of these ground covers above, please chime in and let us know how they work in your area.  

Are they invasive and bullies or do they grow in a more mannerly and contained fashion?

Happy Gardening!

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Patti

Saturday 17th of June 2017

Great article on lovely ground covers. They are great choices for so many places. At our old house I had quite a collection of thyme and mosses. I still have some and that pretty bright creeping jenny which I sometimes dig up and use in pots.

Pamela

Sunday 18th of June 2017

My creeping jenny has gotten a bit out of hand this year, I need to get tough with it and beat it back. But I love that it is tough and will put up with lots of abuse. I like using it in pots too, the color really is a good contrast for many other plants.

Joyce

Thursday 8th of June 2017

I share your love of Blue Star Creeper, but how do you keep the weeds out of it?

Pamela

Thursday 8th of June 2017

Honestly, I don't. I just pull them as best I can.

Judith L

Monday 5th of June 2017

Very informative. Thanks!

Debbie

Monday 5th of June 2017

I grow as a groundcover Austalian violets. They do so well here in my yard and can be sun or shade. I saw them growing on a garden tour a few years ago. They are my new go to for fairy gardens . Give them a try ! There are 2 varieties that I have seen and I like the larger leaf one best.

Pamela

Monday 5th of June 2017

I used to grow that one when I lived in the valley. I had forgotten all about it. I loved that one, it won't overwinter here where I am at now but maybe I can get it to keep in the greenhouse.

Allie

Monday 5th of June 2017

Nice hearing from you Pamela. Sitting here with dirt under my fingernails. Just working on the deck, transferring some seedlings to larger pots when a "had to respond to" phone call beckoned me back in the house..... Looks like another beautiful day and maybe rain here in Shingletown come Thursday..... Yes, come to think of it, I don't recall finding such great pics (as yours) of some of these smaller foliage. It is such a relief to see things clearly, so we can move on.......back to the deck :)

Pamela

Monday 5th of June 2017

Sounds like a wonderful day. I got to pot up a few things today but not near enough time outside. But tomorrow is another day. :) Looks like we can expect rain on Friday here.

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