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Perennial Groundcovers

Need 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.

** Please Note:  Availability of specific varieties listed below will vary depending upon time of season and sales. Please visit us to view current varieties.

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

 

Perennial Groundcovers for Shade

Bugleweed / Carpet Bugle (Ajuga)

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
Bronze Beauty

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)

Height: 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)

Dead Nettle /Lamium (Lamium maculatum)

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.

Varieties:

Orchid Frost: Silvery-white and green leaves with pink blooms
Pink Pewter: Green leaves with silver "stripe" and light pink blooms
Red Nancy: Silvery-white and green leaves with deep lavender-rose blooms
White Nancy: Silvery-white and green leaves with white blooms

Moss, Irish and Golden (Sagina subulata)

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)

Height: 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)

Height: 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)

Height: 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)

Height: 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)

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)

Height:  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, Carpathian/Groundcover Types (Campanula)

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:
Clips Blue

Rapido Blue

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Height: 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 Phlox (Phlox subulata)

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.

Varieties:

Candy Stripe
Drummond's Pink
Millstream Daphne
Nettleton's Variation
Purple Beauty
Red Wing
Spring Blue
White Creeping

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

Evening Primrose (Oenothera)

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)

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.

Varieties:

Berry Bomb
Gold Nugget
Honeycrisp Twist
Pacific Blue Ice
Sugar Shimmer
Truffle & Tarts

Ice Plant (Delosperma)

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
Yellow (D. nubigerum): one of the hardiest with dainty yellow blooms

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'
Granita Orange: orange flowers with yellow centers
Granita Raspberry: Magenta flowers
Lavender Ice (D. 'Psfave): pastel lavender flowers
Mesa Verde: light salmon/pink flowers
Red Mountain Flame: Red flowers
Table Mountain (D. cooperi 'John Proffit'): magenta flowers
White Nugget: clean bright white flowers with a cheerful yellow center

Lamb's Ear (Stachys)

Height: 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)

Height: 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)

Height: 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)

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)

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.

Rockcress, Alpine (Arabis)

Variety:  Little Treasure Deep Rose (A. blepharophylla)

Height: 4"-6"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: Deep Pink rose flowers

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes:  Abundant, fragrant flowers and attractive foliage make this a wonderful small-scale ground cover. Attractive cascading over stones or as edging near the front of the garden. Shear after blooming to encourage new growth and a neat appearance.  Zone 4.

Sedum / Stonecrop Low Growing Types (Sedum)

Height: 2"-6"

Spread: 6"-24"

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

Season of Bloom: Summer

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

Varieties:
Angelina (S. rupestre): BRIGHT yellow foliage tinges red/orange in fall.
Atlantis: dark green edged in wide cream bands. Yellow flowers in summer. Zone 4.
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.
Gold Moss: (S. acre) small leaves covered in yellow flowers in summer.
Lemon Ball - low growing yellow type with pine-needle shaped leaves
Mossy Stonecrop (S. lydium)
Old Man's Bones (S. globosum): Oval leaves are stacked on each other to give a unique texture. Yellow flowers.
Red Carpet
Sunsparkler Angelina's Teacup
Sunsparkler Blue Elf
Sunsparkler Lime Twister: Decorative green leaves edged in cream. Pink flowers.
Sunsparkler Plum Dazzled
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.

Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum)

Height: 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)

Height:  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)

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.

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

Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Height: 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.)

Height: 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.

Varieties:
Elfin
Doone Valley
Lemon
Pink Chintz
Red Creeping

Map of Colorado Springs with Phelan Gardens location marked

Visit Our Central Colorado Springs Location

We are open all year round and always offer the seasons most popular varieties for gardeners and plant lovers alike!

Phelan Gardens
4955 Austin Bluffs Parkway.
Colorado Springs, CO, 80918

(719) 574-8058

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A photograph of various signs that point to sections of Phelan Gardens such as Perennials, Vines, Grasses and more
Phelan Gardens Perennials section of their store