Ground covers are really any kind of plant, either sprawling or upright, that will spread to cover an area. It can be a perennial, annual, shrub, or vine. Although ground covers are often evergreen, this need not be so.
In the landscape, ground covers help to unify the various visual spaces within the area. In essence, they create a new dimension at ground level.
Ground covers serve many roles in the landscape. They can become an integral part of flower beds and borders, and foundation plantings. In addition, they are also used as edgings around other plantings, along and between stepping stones and driveways.
Ground covers can do more than add beauty to a garden. Hardy plants that can help minimize erosion on slopes.
Although some ground covers can usually take quite a bit of foot traffic, grass or stepping stones are more suitable for heavily trafficked areas.
When choosing ground covers, the color scheme of the site is an important consideration. Select species or cultivars of ground covers that will harmonize with the other plants.
Some ground covers will take dry weather once they are established. However, all of them will need watering for the first few months after they are planted.
Taller ground covers are able to crowd out weeds while the shorter ones are less able to do so. For a slope where weeding is difficult, choose tall ones.
Ground covers should be spaced close enough together so that the plants will minimize weeds. The planting distance depends upon the type of plant being used and one’s budget. Spacing closer together will mean the ground covers will grow quickly to fill in the area.
The ground covers can be arranged in various ways. Sometimes they are planted in straight or staggered rows. In addition, they can be planted in informal rounded masses.
Ground covers do require maintenance until they are established. This would include weeding, fertilizing, mulching, and watering. Depending on the species, some of these are mowed in the spring to encourage new growth.
There are many kinds of ground covers available. Some of the ones that are most commonly include periwinkle or vinca, daylilies, the stonecrops, hardy ice plant, and liriope.