Low growing ground cover plants

Updated November 21, 2016

Good ground cover should be dense enough to prohibit weeds and fast-growing enough to quickly cover spaces. Ground cover plants typically grow less than 60 cm (2 feet) tall, but the lowest-growing options are best for some areas. Choose a low-growing ground cover plant if you are working in a small area. A low-growing variety may work best to satisfy the design of your garden or landscape.

English ivy

English ivy is a common ground cover choice, and a good option if you want a low-growing plant. It reaches only 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) tall. This plant will climb trees, buildings, fences or other obstructions, so if you don't want that look, pruning may be necessary. English ivy grows in almost any soil type. It shouldn't need watering, except in drought conditions. Winter wind can harm this plant, so it's best planted in a shielded area.

Creeping thyme

Creeping thyme grows between 5 and 10 cm (2 and 4 inches) tall and is a slow spreader. It is a low-maintenance plant and will thrive in dry, sunny and exposed areas. This ground cover can even survive being walked on. Creeping thyme produces flowers in shades of lavender, red, pink or white. It prefers moist, organic soil and will only need watering in severe drought.

European ginger

European ginger has glossy, shiny, green leaves that are shaped like small hearts and grow between 7.5 and 12.5 cm (3 and 5 inches) tall. This plant grows best in shady areas and thrives in slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. It produces small purple flowers.

Greek yarrow

Greek yarrow is a ground cover that produces a thick evergreen mat. It is a slow spreading option and grows up to 10 cm (4 inches)tall. Plant Greek yarrow where it will receive full sun. In the springtime, it will produce masses of small white flowers with yellow centres.

Turkish speedwell

Turkish speedwell spreads quickly and has round, shiny, green leaves. It also produces small, pale-blue flowers in the spring. Turkish speedwell is one of the lowest-growing ground cover options, only reaching about 5 cm (2 inches) tall. It is a good choice for a spot with poor soil, because it can survive most conditions.

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