10 Perennial Ground Covers - Backyard Boss
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10 Perennial Ground Covers

Perennial ground covers are a great way to add color and interest to your landscape while minimizing maintenance. They are also an excellent choice for problem areas in the yard, such as slopes or places that receive little sun or foot traffic.

There are many types of perennial ground covers to choose from, so it’s important to select one that will thrive in your specific climate and soil conditions. Here are 10 of the best perennial ground covers for a variety of different conditions:

1. Lindheimer’s Beeblossom

gaura in sets
Image Credit: Nennieinszweidrei via Pixabay

Lindheimer’s beeblossom or Gaura (Gaura linkheimeri or Oenothera lindheimer) is native to Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Mexico. Some cultivars can grow as tall as 5 feet, but some, such as “Whirling Butterfly” and “Belleza,” are more compact, which makes them suitable for ground cover.

Lindheimer’s beeblossom begins blooming early in the summer with white or pink flowers and prefers full sun but will tolerate some afternoon shade. This plant is drought tolerant and does not require much maintenance. If you are looking for a ground cover that will add some interest to your landscape, this perennial is a good option.

2. Woodland Stonecrop

Sedum ternatum Woodland Stonecrop Found by the creek in South Central Kentucky
Image credits: Fancy26 via Shutterstock

Woodland stonecrop is a perennial ground cover native to the Eastern United States. The flowering branches reach for the sky up to 8 inches at most. Its red, purple, burgundy or pink flowers bloom from July through late fall.

When looking for a woodland stonecrop ground cover, make sure to choose a variety appropriate for the size and sun exposure of your space. This is important because woodland stonecrop ground covers can quickly take over if they’re given enough room to spread.

3. Cheddar Pink

A beautiful Cheddar pink Dianthus with a Bokeh background.
Image credit: J K Laws via Shutterstock

The perennial Cheddar Pink or Dianthus gratianopolitanus grows in zones 4 through 8. It prefers full sun to partial shade and can grow in normal or sandy soil. Cheddar pink can be propagated by seed or by taking cuttings. It’s important to realize there are many varieties ranging from annual to perennial or biennial, so make sure you know which type you have in order to provide it the proper growing conditions.

You can also grow cheddar pink in a container, making them ideal for patios and small gardens. The ground-hugging Dianthus Sternkissen cultivar is a good ground cover for sunny areas.

4. Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme in rock garden
BodenseeAkademie via Pixabay

The creeping thyme plant produces tiny flowers in shades of white, pink, and purple; It’s a good choice for rock and sun gardens. These plants prefer well-drained soil and full sun.

Creeping thyme can also be used as an edging plant along paths and walkways. These perennials are drought tolerant and are easy to grow as they can thrive in poor soil.

5. Creeping Mazus

Vertical image of the ground-hugging perennial known as creeping mazus (Mazus reptans), in bloom, growing in between paving stones
Image credits: Nancy J. Ondra via Shutterstock

Creeping mazusMazus miquelii, is an annual ground cover that grows about 2 to 3 inches tall and is hardy in zones 5 to 8. It’s great for rock gardens and blooms from mid-spring to summer with clusters of small blue and purple flowers with white and yellow accents.

Creeping mazus prefers moist soil with full sun to partial shade. In rich soils, it requires little or no fertilization and requires little-to-no maintenance.

6. Snow-in-Summer

Snow-in-Summer ground cover
Image Credit: Elstef via Pixabay

The snow-in-summer is a beautiful plant that can form a carpet of white blooms. It is native to Italy and has star-shaped white flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer. Each stem of the snow-in-summer can produce up to 15 blooms about 1 foot above the ground.

Because it is a short-lived plant, this may result in dead patches in areas where the plant is covered. Bad drainage can cause root rot, so it is vital to provide good drainage for this plant to survive.

7. Common Periwinkle

common periwinkle ground cover
Image Credit: WikimediaImages via Pixabay

Common periwinkle or Vinca minor is an easy-to-grow perennial ground cover that typically grows to be between 3 to 6 inches tall. It blooms an abundance of blue or purple flowers throughout the summer.

Common periwinkle is a very hardy plant that can grow in moist, organic soil types and requires little care. It is an excellent choice for areas that receive full sun as well as partial shade.

Its flowers are a great addition to your garden if you want something that will attract butterflies and other pollinators.

8. Black-Eyed Susan Vine

black-eyed susan vine three flowers
Image Credit: Hans via Pixabay

If you’re an avid container gardener, you’re likely already familiar with the black-eyed susan vine (Thunbergia alata). While this vine’s yellow, orange, white, or pink flowers look lovely climbing up your trellises, they also serve as delightful ground cover.

Thunbergia alata is only hardy in zone 10 and may be hardy in zones 9 and 11. This beautiful plant will bloom from late spring through fall. It’s an excellent choice if you want to attract pollinators such as butterflies.

9. Golden Oregano

Yellow Oregano 'Aureum' (Origanum vulgare)
Image credits: Edita Medeina via Shutterstock

You can add beautiful color to your garden with this perennial ground cover! It will grow 1 foot tall, with white or pink flowers. The flowering season for this plant is midsummer to fall, so it’s a great choice if you want something that blooms after most annuals have died back.

Better yet, its spicy, fragrant leaves and flowers are edible.

10. Bergamot or Bee Balm

Brilliant pink bee balm plant, monarda didyma, highlighted by the morning sun.
Image credits: Molly Shannon via Shutterstock

Bergamot, or bee balm, is a perennial plant that can grow up to 4 inches tall and is native to the northern United States. It has oval-shaped leaves with pointed tips and serrated edges. The flowers are purple-pink and bloom in summer/late summer.

While Bergamot prefers evenly moist and well-draining soil, it will also tolerate dry conditions once established. They need full sun for the best growth, but they can also survive partial shade.

If you are looking for a ground cover to add color and interest to your landscape, consider one of these ten perennial varieties.

Wrap Up

Perennial ground covers are a great way to add color and interest to your landscape. In addition, these plants also reduce maintenance.  They cover large areas or fill in gaps between other plants.

There are many different varieties available, so choosing one suitable for your climate and soil type is essential. With some care, these plants will provide you with years of enjoyment.

Share your experience with ground covers in the comments below. And as always, don’t forget to share with your friends and family!