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4 Great Ground Covers

Updated on March 23, 2017

Creeping Jenny

This plant can take some sun, but needs to be  shaded from harsh afternoon sun.
This plant can take some sun, but needs to be shaded from harsh afternoon sun. | Source

Healthy Ground Covers Add Color and Keep Down the Weeds

This is "Creeping Jenny", just one of 5 great ground covers that add a variety of color from chartreuse to dark green, and even purple to your garden, paths, and areas where grass just won't grow. They seem to be very happy here in my new home in central Florida, however.

I have all of these in my yard. I enjoy the contrasting colors of the various ground covers. If you don't mulch heavily or plant ground covers in those areas where nothing else will grow, Nature's ground covers will take over. "Nature's ground cover" is just another name for weeds.

Purple Ajuga

Source

Purple Ajuga

a.k.a. Bugleweed

The plants in this photo are still quite young, and have not yet turned the purple/green that is so popular. Nor have they bloomed yet. Next spring they will be gorgeous.

This is one of my favorites because it blooms, and its dark green and purple leaves add interest to the garden. Once established, it is self-sufficient and drought tolerant. In late spring it sends up little stalks about 8 - 10 inches tall that have tiny purple flowers.

Ajuga does best with morning sun and dappled light, but it can take full sun. However, you will see fuller coverage and larger healthier plants with some afternoon shade.

Fiskars Professioinal Bypass Pruners

Fiskars Professional Bypass Pruning Shears
Fiskars Professional Bypass Pruning Shears

These are some of the best little pruners I've ever had. If you're a gardener, you will need these. For more info, see my lens entitled, One Must-Have Garden Tool

 

Sweet Potato Vine

Sweet potato vine can be invasive, so be careful where you plant it.
Sweet potato vine can be invasive, so be careful where you plant it. | Source

Sweet Potato Vine

No 'Taters, Just Foliage

While this sweet potato vine does not produce potatoes, it does provide beautiful foliage that adds gorgeous color to your landscape. You can get the chartruese type shown here; you can also get a dark purple/black type that is equally beautiful, especially when paired with pink flowers such as impatients or petunias. Last year, in my former home, I paired this chartreuse potato vine with hot pink vinca. The contrast was really nice around our mailbox. It spreads quickly to cover large areas. Because of this, it has become a common plant in commercial landscaping, as well as the home landscape. It likes full sun -- at least 6 hours per day.

Here, in my new home of central Florida, the local master gardeners recommend against planting this ground cover, as it is so very prolific. It has actually become invasive, along with asparagus fern that I love, and planted before I knew of their recommendations. I have since removed the asparagus fern. For the next several months, I found tiny seedlings of asparagus fern popping up in my planting beds. I think I am finally rid of it now.

Mondo Grass

Source

Mondo Grass

This is mondo grass. It is in the lirope (monkey grass) family, but is much smaller, growing to only about 6 inches tall. It's a shade-loving plant, and spreads quickly and stays green year-round. The ends of the blades may turn brown in times of extreme drought or long periods of extreme cold. It should be watered well until established. After becoming established, it can be left on its own to flourish.

Mondo grass, as well as dwarf mondo, which reaches heights of only 3 to 4 inches, are great ground covers for shady areas where little else will grow. Both are especially good to plant underneath large trees that block the sunlight so that lawn grass cannot survive.

What is Your Challenging Area?

What is your challenging area of your garden or lawn?

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Creeping Jenny Photo

Source

Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny can tolerate all but intense afternoon sun. It will need shelter from the harsh heat in the afternoons. Jenny does not bloom, and, unless you live in the warmest climates, will die back in winter. With a mild winter, it will stay around, but may begin to look a bit ragged, When spring was arrives Jenny will perk right up.

One downside of Creeping Jenny is that it is NOT drought tolerant. It must be watered during dry weather, but it is worth the effort for the lime-green color that contrasts so well when set among or near the darker greens and purple/black leaves.

Do you use ground covers in your landscape?

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Do you have one of those spots where grass simply refuses to grow? Do you make use of ground covers? They can serve a wonderful purpose in your garden and yard. They can sometimes move into your grass, too, though, so keep an eye on them. Of course, if you hate mowing lawns...

Thank you for visiting this page. I hope you enjoyed it and will plant some new ground covers.

© 2012 MariaMontgomery

Do You Use Ground Covers?

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    • MariaMontgomery profile image
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      MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      I love moss gardens. I can't have one here -- too much sun.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 2 years ago

      I have most of these growing in my moss garden...thanks for sharing! Love the photos too!

    • MariaMontgomery profile image
      Author

      MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      The wild violets probably would not survive there, but I believe the other would be happy in your location. If you try any of them, please let me know how they do for you. Thanks for visiting, Raimer.

    • profile image

      Raimer Gel 2 years ago

      I am an avid gardener but none of those plants could thrive in my place. I live in the tropic and I wonder if they too can live in here. Thanks for the information then.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image
      Author

      MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      I bet at least some of these will grow in your area. Let me know if they do.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image
      Author

      MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      When we lived in Alabama, my creeping Jenny would look bad in winter, but would come right back in spring. I hope you have good luck with it. Thanks for visiting.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image
      Author

      MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Hi, Phyllis. I'm glad you enjoyed my article. I love those ground covers, too. Thanks so much for sending the link to another gardener.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Maria. This is a very useful and interesting hub. When I lived in California I had the Purple Ajuga and along a border in the front yard and Wild Violets under in my Camellia garden out back. I loved those ground covers. Another hubber was looking for some good ground covers to try under a large shade tree. I will have to send her the link to this hub to help her out with that. I enjoyed reading this.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have the wild violets in my yard and love them. I will look and see if I can find creepy Jenny and plant that in the Spring. Pinning on my Gardening board.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I will have to see if these will grow in our climate. We have pachysandra but none of the ones listed here.

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 3 years ago from France

      Just what every gardener needs to keep their gardens a little less high maintenance. Nice lens.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image
      Author

      MariaMontgomery 3 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      @ecogranny: Hi, Grace! I love those little violets, too. Thanks so much for the squidlike and comment.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Nice selection of plants! Yes, when we owned our home, we had a large yard and made use of ground covers. I have always been particularly fond of violets peeping up in the grass, and always encouraged them. Of course, that meant digging out the dandelions and crab grass by hand. I didn't mind though. It meant we were not putting poisons on the lawns little feet ran over.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image
      Author

      MariaMontgomery 4 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      @Mickie Gee: Thanks for this squidlike, too. Creeping Jenny is nice, isn't it?

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      Love that Creeping Jenny! I discovered many years ago (maybe 25 years--oh my!), by accident, that a plant that I thought would only grow indoors made a beautiful ground cover.