Fast-growing ground-cover plants are an option when you want to cover a large area quickly for erosion control, decorative purposes or simply because grass won't grow there. Ground covers also stop most weeds from taking root. They spread by themselves, and can grow anywhere from an inch to 4 feet tall.
English ivy will cover large areas fairly quickly, but watch it, because this ground cover can be aggressive. Although it is less than an inch high, English ivy will grow up walls, trees and other barriers, so pruning may be necessary. This ground cover will thrive in either full sun or full shade.
Variegated goutweed grows quickly in either full sun or moderate shade. It can be aggressive, so keep your eye on it if you place it near other plants. This ground cover will grow up to 6 inches tall and produces white flowers in June. Plant it in well-drained, moist soil. Water frequently, as it can scorch in dry soil.
Creeping Lily Turf
Creeping lily turf will spread quickly, producing light blue flowers in the late summer and black berries in the fall, with 6- to 8-inch-tall foliage. Plant your creeping lily turf where it will receive full sun to light shade. This ground cover is drought-tolerant, so do not water excessively.
Golden Creeping Charlie
Golden creeping Charlie has bright yellow oval leaves. It grows 1 to 3 inches tall and will quickly fill areas of full sun to moderate shade. This ground cover needs moist soil and regular watering.
Lily of the Valley
Consider lily of the valley when you want a fast-spreading ground cover for a big area. This plant needs light to dense shade, and works well under shrubs and trees. Growing 6 to 8 inches tall, it produces white flowers in the spring and orange or red berries in the fall.