While evergreen ground cover plants will provide color in your garden for the whole year, they offer other benefits as well. They fill in gaping, unattractive patches, reduce erosion in your garden, provide food for wildlife, and thrive where turf grasses won’t. Their pretty flowers also add beauty and attract wildlife like bees. Come autumn and winter, you will be treated to a dazzling display as their leaves change color.
However, keep in mind that some evergreen ground cover plants will spread wildly if they’re not controlled. Monitor their growth and divide or dig them up when necessary. Try adding some of these popular choices to your garden.
Wintercreeper (E. fortunei) is a member of the Euonymus genus, a popular group of woody flowering plants. Without support, wintercreeper will provide ground cover just where you need it all year long.
Its evergreen leaves come in green or a combination of green and gold. Some varieties have leaves that turn reddish-purple or a bronzy color in autumn. In spring, small, greenish-white flowers appear adding some subtle, extra visual interest to your garden. By autumn, they will offer up a bounty of small berries in red, burgundy, orange, or pink.
Early fall or spring are the best times to plant wintercreeper in full to partial shade and slightly moist or moist loamy soil.
This dense, evergreen ground cover (Juniper horizontalis) is a conifer that has long, trailing branches and soft, scale-like leaves in green or bluish-green. In winter, its foliage turns a mauve or plum purple, creating a stunning contrast against a white or dreary landscape.
If you are into bonsai, you should definitely add creeping juniper to your wish list. Plant them six to 12 feet apart in a spot that gets at least six hours or more of direct sunlight. They do best in dry, sandy, or rocky soil.
Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) is one of the most popular ground cover go-tos for gardeners. It produces bright green leaves with serrated edges that grow in clusters. Grow it along borders, under large trees, between garden beds, or in areas where grasses do not thrive.
For larger woodland or wild gardens, consider adding its lesser-known kin Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens) to bare spaces. But be aware that it is a semi-evergreen ground cover, so it will lose some of its leaves in winter.
Both Japanese and Allegheny pachysandras creep along the ground by its rhizomes, or underground stems. They will do this best in partial to full sun and well-draining soil with lots of organic matter.
A member of the Vinca minor species and better known as periwinkle, creeping Myrtle is another ground cover favorite. While it provides lush, green mat-like coverage all year long, gardeners also treasure it for its star-shaped flowers in hues such as traditional periwinkle, blue, white, ad pink. Watch for them — and the bumblebees they attract — in both spring and summer.
This evergreen ground cover is a favorite because it is hardy, easy to grow, and spreads quickly. Keep periwinkles their perkiest and most profuse in rich, moist soil with organic matter and partial shade. However, it will also withstand full sun and poor, salty, and dry soil.
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) is a low-maintenance, evergreen perennial shrub with leathery, green leaves that turn bronze in winter. Its name comes from the Greek arctos, which means “bear,” and staphyle, which translates to “grape.” No surprise, its drupes or berries are tasty treats for those wildlife giants that share its name. So, if you live in an area where bears roam you might want to avoid planting it.
When planting this evergreen ground cover, pick a spot where it will last as it doesn’t transplant well. It flourishes in full, partial or dappled sunlight and neutral to slightly acidic, well-draining soil that can be wet or dry. Space your bearberry plants about 12 inches to 3 feet apart.
If the name alone doesn’t convince you to plant this evergreen ground cover, its clusters of showy white-and-yellow or pinkish flowers will. They blossom in mid-spring to early summer among the leathery, green leaves and attract butterflies and bees. Grow candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) in rock gardens, borders, walkways, or anywhere you need to add a touch of greenery and beauty.
Candytuft prefers moist, well-drained soil but it will also tolerate drought conditions. Be sure it gets at least six hours of bright sunlight and cut it back every other year to help it keep its compact form.
Evergreen Ground Covers for Every Garden
As you can see, there is an evergreen ground suitable for a variety of landscapes and sun conditions. Best of all, they are easy to grow so you won’t have to spend months wondering how well they are doing.
For maximum impact, consider adding more than one and say goodbye to dreary gardens in winter or barren spaces. Let us know in the comments below which ones you’re adding to your list.