Groundcover plants are used extensively in landscaping to link ornamental plants into a grouping. These plants grow low to the ground -- typically less than two feet -- and are very low maintenance. Groundcover spreads easily and is dense enough to inhibit the growth of weeds. Landscapers and individuals also use groundcover to prevent soil erosion in steep areas and present a design element where other plantings, such as grass, are not feasible. Before choosing a groundcover, consider factors such as climate, sunlight and soil conditions in the area.
Hosta for Shady Areas
Hosta is a good choice of groundcover for shady areas. While hosta is popular as a border and accent plant, the plant's large leaves make it ideal for groundcover. Choose from a variety of sizes and colours in hosta plants, from green to blue green, grey-green and variegated. Some hosta leaves also have white around the edges, which can give a decorative appearance. If you are interested in a flowering groundcover, choose a hosta species that produces a white or lavender flower ranging from a few inches to two feet tall. Hosta plants grow best in moist soil.
Pachysandra Under Evergreens
Pachysandra is an evergreen groundcover that is popular in landscaping. It grows in shady or sunny locations, but thrives in partial or full shade. Pachysandra is often used as groundcover underneath evergreen trees or in other densely shaded areas. Plant your pachysandra plants one foot apart in the springtime using moist, organic soil. The result will be a groundcover of uniform height.
Creeping Juniper for Larger Areas
Creeping juniper will grow to one or two feet and is ideal for covering larger areas with groundcover. The needle-shaped leaves are green or blue-green in appearance, and make this woody, evergreen groundcover plant an attractive choice. Creeping juniper can withstand heat and low humidity, and the plant grows best in full sun. It is a good selection for a sloping area. Foliage will sometimes turn a purple or slate colour in the colder temperatures of winter.
English Ivy for Low Maintenance
English ivy is a low maintenance groundcover that is hardy for cold weather. It grows to six or eight inches, and presents glossy dark green leaves. When planting English Ivy, choose an overcast day to protect the plant from direct sunlight. English ivy grows quickly, and typically remains free of pests. This evergreen is a creeping vine that does well in partial or complete shade. If used near a building or tree, it will climb and may cause damage.