The Best Trailing Plants

Updated April 17, 2017

Accenting a planter box, container garden or sloped flower bed can be simple when the right trailing plants are used to add texture and dimension to the space. Count on these celebrated sprawlers to create a long-lasting, fuss-free display in your planter or garden. Many, such as English ivy, provide nearly year-long beauty to your outdoor space.

Bacopa (Sutera grandiflora)

Bacopa is a tender annual available in tiny red, pink, blue-lavender or white flowers. The minute buds stand out like stars against a sea of dark green. Thriving in full sun to moderate shade, the hardy bacopa will bloom and re-bloom all summer long, without much fuss. Maintain even soil moisture for best results, so this beauty will trail up to one-foot in length, depending on the species.

Spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum)

Do not let the common name of this little charmer fool you. Spotted deadnettle is a lovely, delicate plant that produces heart-shaped leaves along a slender stalk. This trailing plant boasts beautifully irregular flowers in shades of purple, pink and white. The leaves are often light in the centre, deepening close to the edges. Often, the flowers feature silvery spots. In part sun to full shade, these fast-growing perennials are perfect as mounding ground cover or for spilling over containers.

Trailing petunia (Calibracoa)

Petunias are one of the most popular bedding plants in the United States. For a waterfall effect in containers and window boxes or for a sea of colourful ground cover, count on Calibracoa. Commonly available in series, such as Million Bells, Lirica Showers and Colorburst, miniature trailing petunia blooms in just about every shade imaginable. Preferring full sun and moist soil, these hardy annuals will thrive the entire growing season.

English ivy (Hedera helix)

Widely used for ground cover, vertical gardening and containers, Hedera helix is a versatile and nearly indestructible trailing plant. Tri-tipped, glossy leaves come in rich variations of greens, sometimes variegated with cream. Miniature or dwarf varieties, such as Conglomerata and Minima, have small leaves a 1/2-inch in breadth that conform nicely to more compact spaces. Be aware that English ivy grows vigorously and trails indefinitely, unless trimmed. On the plus side, little watering is required to keep English ivy looking vibrant and beautiful. English ivy often turns deep red in autumn, adding to the golds, browns and reds of the season.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Desirae Roy began writing in 2009. After earning certification as an interpreter for the deaf, Roy earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Eastern Washington University. Part of her general studies included a botany course leading to a passion for the natural world.