Perennial Groundcovers

aegopodiumwide_pcojen

aegopodiumwide_pcojenNeed to edge the front of a border, add foliage between flagstones or want an alternative to traditional mulch?  Listed here are hardy plants that cover the ground.  These plants tend to spread and are usually short.  Most offer flowers as well.     If you have a rather large area to cover--as on a hillside--consider planting a vine and letting it spread and root into the ground. As with other perennials flowers, some will do better in sun, while others prefer shade.  Also, perennial flowers typically bloom most during one particular season but may overlap into another season. Look for those with decorative leaves for an ongoing show of texture and color.

Perennial Groundcovers for Shade
Perennial Groundcovers for Sun

Please Note:  Availability of specific varieties listed below will vary depending upon time of season and sales. Please call (719) 574-8058 for current availability.

 Click here for a listing of ALL TYPES of perennials by bloom time


 

Perennial Groundcovers for SHADE

Brass Buttons (Leptinella)

Height: 1-2"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: Yellow (insignificant)

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Looking for a groundcover for a shady area?  This will form a dense mat of fern-like foliage in shade or morning sun.  Though new growth will start out green it will tinge bronze in summer.

Varieties:  Platt's Black Brass Buttons


Bugleweed / Carpet Bugle (Ajuga)

ajugablackscallop_pcowaltersgardensinc
Black Scallop Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Height: 6"

Spread: 8"-10"

Bloom Color: Blue

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Foliage can grow in shade under trees where grass is hard to establish.  Flowers best in moist locations.

Varieties:
Black Scallop: near black scalloped leaves with 4" blue flower spikes in Spring.  Striking contrast and foliage looks nice all season even when not in bloom
Burgundy Glow
Chocolate Chip


Creeping Buttercups (Ranunculus repens)

Height: 6"-8"

Spread: 2'-4'

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: This is an aggressive spreader that blooms with bright yellow flowers and has attractive deep green leaves.  Best sited in an area where you don't care if it roams.  Keep it away from lawns.


Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

lysimachiagoldi_pcojenlysimachiacreepingjennygreen_pcojenHeight: 1"-3"

Spread: 2'-6'—can be an aggressive spreader

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Grown for foliage which hugs the ground in a dense mat. Plant shade, bright shade, or sun.

Varieties:
Green
Yellow (Aurea)


Creeping Mazus (Mazus reptans)

mazusalba_pcostepablesHeight: 1-2"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: White or lavender

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: This dainty little groundcover will grow in both shade and sun.  It can take moderate foot traffic (as between a flagstone pathway).  Pretty in fronts of beds or borders too.  Blooms cover the plant in late Spring.   The bright green foliage forms a dense mat. 

Varieties:
Lavender
White


Dead Nettle /Lamium (Lamium maculatum)

White Nancy
lamiumorchidfrost_pcowaltersgardensinc
Orchid Frost Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Height: 6"-12"

Spread: 6"-12"

Bloom Color: Pink or white

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Early Summer

Other Notes: Brightens up a shady (or partly shady) spot. Can be planted in dry shade as under trees, where grass is hard to establish.

Pink Pewter Photos Courtesy Ball Horticultural Company

Varieties:
Orchid Frost: Silvery-white and green leaves with pink blooms
Pink Pewter: Silvery-white and green leaves with light pink blooms
White Nancy: Silvery-white and green leaves with white blooms  


Kenilworth Ivy (Cymbalaria muralis)

Photo Courtesy EPlant Source

Height: 2"-3"

Spread: 12"-18"

Bloom Color: Dainty blue snapdragon-like flowers

Season of Bloom: Mid-Summer to Early Fall

Other Notes: Pretty scalloped leaves are a wonderful filler between flagstones. Tolerates full sun if given consistent moisture. If you can't offer this, it will also grow in a morning sun location. Will self-sow.


 

Moss, Irish and Golden (Sagina subulata)

saginairishmosslr_pcojp
Irish Moss
saginascotchmosslr_pcojen
Golden or Scotch Moss

Height: 1"-2"

Spread: 6"-8"

Bloom Color: Tiny white star-shaped flowers

Season of Bloom: Early Summer

Other Notes: Good between rocks or stepping stones.

Varieties:

Irish Moss (Deep Green)

Golden Moss (Lime-Yellow Green)


Plumbago / Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

ceratostigmaplumbago_pcojenHeight: 8"-12"

Spread: 12"-24"

Bloom Color: Blue

Season of Bloom: Late Summer to Fall

Other Notes: Glossy green foliage turns bronze red in fall. Plant in bright shade. It will emerge slowly in spring.


Snow on the Mountain / Bishop's Weed (Aegopodium)

aegopodiumwithvinca_pcojenHeight: 6"-12"

Spread: 18"-24"—can be aggressive spreader

Bloom Color: Creamy white sprays on 14" tall wand-like foliage

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Foliage is white and green and interesting when not in bloom. Brightens up a shady spot.


Vinca Vine / Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

vinca_pcojenHeight: 4"-6"

Spread: 8"-10"

Bloom Color: Single, 5-petaled, lavender blue flowers

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: A nice deep green groundcover. Performs well in dry shade. Technically an evergreen vine—it holds its leaves well into winter.

Variety:
Bowles


Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortuneii)

euonymus_wintercreeper_gaiety_pcojenHeight: 12"-18"

Spread: 24"-36"

Bloom Color: n/a

Season of Bloom: Popular for fall/winter color of reddish-maroon.

Other Notes: Broadleaf evergreen, shrubby groundcover.


Yellow Dead Nettle, Yellow Arch Angel, False Dead Nettle (Lamiastrum)

Herman's Pride Photo Courtesy Ball Horticultural Company

Height: 10"

Spread: 14"

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Early Summer

Other Notes: Will grow in full shade or morning sun.  Works well when planted with spring blooming bulbs.

Varieties:
Herman's Pride:  Metallic silver and deep green variegated leaves brighten up a shady spot even when this plant is not in bloom.


 

Perennial Groundcovers for SUN

 

Baby’s Breath, Creeping Types (Gypsophila repens)

gypsophilarepenswhite_pcojenHeight:  4”

Spread:  8”-10”

Bloom Color:  White or pink baby’s breath blossoms.

Season of Bloom:  Summer

Other Notes:   MUST be planted in well drained soil.   Drought Tolerant.  Dislikes wet feet in the winter—so plant in a full sun location where snow tends to melt off quickly.

Varieties: 
Alba (white)
Pink


Bellflower, Groundcover Types (Campanula)

Dickson's Gold

Height: 6-12"

Spread: 18"-20"

Bloom Color: Profuse white, lavender or purple

Season of Bloom: Late spring into early summer (and longer if you shear/deadhead blooms)

Other Notes: Neat, mounding habit. Does well in well-drained, consistently moist soil.

Varieties:
Dickson's Gold (Golden Adriactic Bellflower)  6"-12"H x 18"W:  protect from afternoon sun for best leaf color
Blue Waterfall (Serbian Bellflower) 8"-10"H x 20"W


Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

lysimachiagoldi_pcojenlysimachiacreepingjennygreen_pcojenHeight: 1"-3"

Spread: 2'-6'—can be an aggressive spreader

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Grown for foliage which hugs the ground in a dense mat. Plant shade, bright shade, or sun.

Varieties:
Green
Aurea


Creeping Mazus (Mazus reptans)

mazusalba_pcostepablesHeight: 1-2"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: White or lavender

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: This dainty little groundcover will grow in both shade and sun.  It can take moderate foot traffic (as between a flagstone pathway).  Pretty in fronts of beds or borders too.  Blooms cover the plant in late Spring.   The bright green foliage forms a dense mat.

Varieties:
Lavender
White


Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata)

phlox_creepingredwing_pcowaltersgardens
Red Wing Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc
Coral Eye Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Height: 4"-6"

Spread: 12"-24"

Bloom Color: White, pinks, blue, lavender

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Forms a dense mat of color in spring. Foliage tends to brown out later in the season.

phlox_creepingnorthhills_pcowaltersgardensinc
North Hills Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc
phloxsubulatasnowflake_pcowaltersgardens
Snowflake Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Varieties:
Candy Stripe
Coral Eye
Drummond's Pink
Emerald Blue
North Hills
Red Wing
Snowflake

*Note:  Best availability for this perennial is in Spring.  We often sell out by summer.

phloxsubulata_candysripe_pcojen
Candy Stripe
Drummond's Pink
phlox_creeping_blue_pcojen
Emerald Blue

Evening Primrose (Oenothera)

oenothera_missouriensis_photocourtesywaltersgardensinc
Missouri Yellow Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Height: 8”-12”

Spread:  18”-24”

Bloom Color:   Large profuse yellow or pink cups followed by interesting seed pods.   Blooms close during the heat of the day.

Season of Bloom:  Summer

Other Notes:    Nice deep green leaves.  Drought tolerant.  Self sows and can be invasive especially in sandy soils.  However this quality makes it a great plant for difficult areas such as sunny slopes.   

Varieties:
Missouri Yellow (Oenothera missourenis)  AKA (Ozark Sundrops)
Twilight Pink (Oenothera berlandieri)


Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum)

sempervivumredbeautyclose_pcowaltersgardensinc
Red Beauty Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc
sempervivumcobweb_pcowaltersgardensinc
Cobweb Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Height: 2"-6"

Spread: 6"-18"

Bloom Color: Star-shaped flowers form on upright stalks from the mother 'hen'

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Succulent rosette shaped groundcover. Drought tolerant. Spreads by 'chicks' from the mother 'hen.' Does well planted between stepping stones. An easy-care perennial to plant in containers.

Sunset

Varieties:
Cobweb (rose red flowers, white threads criss-cross between the tips of the leaves)
Red Beauty
Sunset
Traditional 

Traditional
Traditional in Cool Weather

Himalayan Border Jewel (Persicaria AKA Polygonum)

polygonumhimalayanborderjewel_pcoval
Photo Courtesy Valerie Belding

Height: 4" mat forming leaves and 12" when in bloom

Spread:  24" - 36"

Bloom Color: Erect bottlebrush spikes of pink to rose-red blooms

Season of Bloom: Late Summer

Other Notes: This is a vigorous spreading plant.  Great groundcover for slopes.  Leaves turn a very pretty pronounced red in fall.


Ice Plant (Delosperma)

Cooperi Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Height: 2"-4"

Spread: 12"-24"

Bloom Color: Showy, profuse flowers in yellow, pink, purple, or peach.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Succulent plants that must be planted in soil with excellent drainage. Not for clay.

Varieties:
Cooperi: Bright pink
Jewel of the Desert Moonstone (D. cooperi): white flowers
Yellow (D. nubigerum): one of the hardiest with dainty yellow blooms

delospermafirespinner_pcoplantselect
Firespinner Photo Courtesy Plant Select
delospermafirespinnerclose_pcoplantselect
Firespinner Photo Courtesy Plant Select

Colorado Plant Select Iceplant:
Alan's Apricot (D. 'Alan's Apricot'): peachy pink flowers
Fire Spinner: vibrant flowers with orange outer edge and magenta/purple ringed inner 'eye'
Lavender Ice (D. 'Psfave): pastel lavender flowers
Mesa Verde: light salmon/pink flowers
Red Mountain: Red flowers
Starburst: Lilac with white eye
Table Mountain (D. cooperi 'John Proffit'): magenta flowers

delospermaiceplantlavenderice_photocourtesyplantselect
Lavender Ice Photo Courtesy Plant Select
delospermamesaverde_pcoplantselect
Mesa Verde Photo Courtesy Plant Select
delospermatablemountainiceplant_photocourtesyplantselect
Table Mountain Photo Courtesy Plant Select
delospermaredmountain_pcoplantselect
Red Mountain Photo Courtesy Plant Select
Starburst Photo Courtesy Plant Select

Lamb's Ear (Stachys)

stachys3_pcojenHeight: Foliage 6" Flowers 15"

Spread: Yes! 12"+

Bloom Color: Small lavender flowers on fuzzy silver stems.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Fuzzy pale gray foliage. Very soft. Wonderful for children's gardens. But! A word of caution—this plant travels! Keep it deadheaded so that it does not self sow or it will take over an area.


Mount Atlas Daisy (Anacyclus)

anacyclus_matatlasdaisylr_pcojenHeight: 4"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: White daisy-like blooms

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Summer

Other Notes: Ferny, mat-forming foliage. Short-lived but re-seeds easily.


Ornamental Strawberry (Fragaria x anannasa)

fragariaornamentalstrawberryclose_pcojenHeight: 6"

Spread: up to 36"

Bloom Color: Bright pink

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Fall.  Long bloom time! 

Other Notes: Forms a dense mat of green foliage. Older beds produce small strawberries but the plant is primarily grown for ornamental use.  For fruit production, plant a traditional strawberry plant.

Variety:
Lipstick


Partridge Feathers (Tanecetum densum)

tanacetumpartridgefeather_photocourtesyplantselect
Photo Courtesy Plant Select

Height: 3"-5""

Spread: 15"-24"

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Drought tolerant. Likes sun and a hot spot. Striking silver leaves are great for contrast. A Colorado Plant Select perennial.


Poppy Mallow / Winecups (Callirhoe involucrata)

callirhoeinvolucrata_photocourtesyplantselect
Photo Courtesy Plant Select

Height:  4”-6”

Spread:  12”-36”

Bloom Color:  Magenta

Season of Bloom:  Late Spring to Summer with potential to bloom most of the summer

Other Notes:  A Colorado Plant Select perennial. Sun to Part Sun.  Note:  do not plant next to grass, it will intermingle.  A Plant Select plant.


Potentilla, creeping

Variety: Potentilla tonguei

Height: 3"

Spread: 10"-24"

Bloom Color: Single flowers in yellow and orange tones (some varieties have red centers)

Season of Bloom: Late spring to early summer

Other Notes: Glossy green leaves form a dense mat. Plant it away from lawns so that it doesn't intermingle.

Variety: Melton Fire

Height: 12" mound of leaves, 18"-24" in flower

Spread: 18"

Bloom Color: Showy and sweet 5 petaled saucers of bi-colored red centers surrounded by apricot

Season of Bloom: Blooms from early to late summer (and into Fall if deadheaded)

Other Notes: Very pretty cottage garden looking perennial with a long bloom time. Deadhead regularly for best show. Foliage is a deep green and reminiscent of strawberry leaves. Easy to grow in well drained soil.


Rockcress, Alpine (Arabis)

Variety:  Snowcap (A. caucasica)
arabissnowcap_pcoivygarth
Photo Courtesy Ivy Garth

Height: 6"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: White

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes:   Will cover itself in a mass of bright white, fragrant flowers.  A good perennial to plant with late Spring-blooming bulbs.  Works well in the front of your borders.  Zone 4.  

 

Variety:  Pixie Cream (A. caucasica)
Photo Courtesy EPlant Source

Height: 4"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: Creamy White with a Yellow Center

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes:   Will cover itself in a mass of creamy white, fragrant flowers.  A good perennial to plant with late Spring-blooming bulbs.  Works well in the front of your borders.  Needs well-drained soil.  Zone 4.


Sedum / Stonecrop Low Growing Types (Sedum)

sedumbertram_anderson_pcowaltersgardensinc
Bertram Anderson Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc
sedum_angelina_pcojen
Angelina

Height: 2"-6"

Spread: 6"-24"

Bloom Color: Starry flowers in shades of pink, white, or yellow.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Blue Spruce

Other Notes: Succulent foliage is very drought tolerant. Sunny, hot, dry—it can take it.  


John Creech
Ogon
 

Varieties:
Angelina (S. rupestre): BRIGHT yellow foliage tinges red/orange in fall.
Bertram Anderson (S. cauticola): Deep purple leaves.  Pink flowers.
Blue Spruce (S. reflexum): Unique gray-green foliage shaped like pine needles. Yellow flowers.
Dragon's Blood: Green foliage turns red in Fall.  Magenta/red flowers.
John Creech: Light green succulent foliage. Pink flowers.
Ogon: Tiny yellow leaves.  Yellow flowers. Compact grower.
Old Man's Bones (S. divergens): Oval leaves are stacked on each other to give a unique texture. Yellow flowers.
Sunsparkler Firecracker: Blue-grey leaves early on turn deep red in full sun. Pink flowers.
Sunsparkler Lime Twister: Decorative green leaves edged in cream. Pink flowers.
Tricolor (S. spurium): White, pink, and light green foliage is striking.  Pink flowers.
Yellow Stonecrop (S. acre): Green succulent foliage.  Yellow flowers.
Variegated Stonecrop (S. kamtschaticum): Green succulent foliage has a slight white tinge.  Yellow flowers. 

Old Man's Bones
S. kamtschaticum
Sunsparkler Firecracker
Sunsparkler Lime Twister

Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum)

cerastium_snow_in_summer_pcojenHeight: 6"-12"

Spread: 24"-36"

Bloom Color: White

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Early Summer

Other Notes: Silvery foliage brightens the front of the border even when not in bloom. Can be sheared after flowering to freshen up the foliage.


Soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides)

saponariasoapwortclose_pcojenHeight:  6”-9” 

Spread:  12”-18”

Bloom Color:  Prolific, small, pink blossoms cover this plant.

Season of Bloom:  Spring

Other Notes:   Pretty mounding habit works well at the front of a border or on the edge of a wall/raised bed where it can trail over the edge.  Sun to Part Sun.


Speedwell, Creeping (Veronica)

veronicaliwanensis_turkish_photocourtesyplantselect
Photo Courtesy Plant Select

Height: 1"-3"

Spread: 12"-20"

Bloom Color: Blues, pinks, or whites.

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Early Summer

Other Notes: Wooly or glossy, low-growing green foliage. Extremely drought tolerant once established.

veronicacrystalriver_photocourtesyplantselect
Photo Courtesy Plant Select
Sunshine

Varieties:
Crystal River:  tiny sky blue flowers, profuse bloomer
Snowmass: white with blue Eye.  Plant Select Perennial
Sunshine Yellow:  yellow foliage with blue flowers
Wooly: dense habit with deep blue flowers


Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

galium_close_pcojengalium_with_bulbs_pcojenHeight: 6"

Spread: 24"

Bloom Color: Dainty, fragrant white flowers held above bright green foliage

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Excellent ground cover for dry shade.   Nice when paired with taller bulbs or perennials that grow up through it.


Thyme, Creeping (Thymus sp.)

thymelr_pcovalthyme_pcojenHeight: 2"-12"

Spread: 18"+

Bloom Color: Small white, pink, or red flowers

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Some varieties are ornamental while others can be used for culinary purposes too.

thyme3_pcojenthymepathway_pcojenVarieties:
Elfin
Lemon
Pink Chintz
Red Creeping
Wooly

thymewooly_pcojen
Wooly Thyme

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