Ground Cover Plants For Shade
Ground-cover plants are all-around problem solvers. They are vigorous, low-growing plants that can be used as living mulch, suppressing weeds by absorbing water and nutrients, blocking out light, and forming a physical barrier. They even provide habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Galium Odoratum (Sweet Woodruff) blooming in the spring
These suggestions provide ground cover in shady “problem areas” that do not receive a lot of light, such as the base of walls or fences, or beneath trees or shrubs. Incorporating more than one variety will increase the interest, color and texture. Choosing two or three varieties that bloom at different times is key to having constant interest in any bed throughout the summer.
Ajuga reptans (Bugleweed) "Burgundy Glow" – has wonderful tri-colored foliage and bright blue, spiked flowers in the spring.
Aegopodium podagraria Variegatum (Bishop's Weed, Snow on the Mountain) - vigorous growth habit, coupled with quick regeneration and copious seed production, make this plant a beast to control. Has white, flat-topped flowers in spring.
Brunnera macrophylla Emerald Mist – slow spreading, native to woodland areas. Prized for its spray of spring, blue flowers and large shimmering leaves.
Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley) – spreads quickly because of its rhizomes which can form extensive colonies. Has bell-like, dainty white flowers in the spring that have a strong, sweet perfume.
Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff) – is exceptionally easy to grow and adapts to a wide variety of soil and moisture conditions. Has pretty clusters of white, star-shaped flowers in spring and fragrant, lance-shaped leaves.
Hosta "Moonlight Sonata", "Raspberry Sundae" and "Jurassic Park" – are ideal shade-tolerant ground covers due to their low maintenance and spreading nature. Blooms in late spring to early summer, though is grown primarily for its foliage.
Lamium maculatum "Purple Dragon", "White Nancy", or "Aureum" (Spotted Deadnettle) – quick spreader with soft, purple, white or rose-purple flower spikes in spring and reblooms.
Lysimachia nummularia "Goldii" (Creeping Jenny) – very vigorous, often grown as a trailer in hanging baskets or pots for its graceful, heart-shaped leaves.
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virgina Creeper) – is known as a vigorous climber and for its vibrant red fall color.
Sagina subulata "Aurea" (Irish Moss) – mat forming, light green short grass-like foliage with small, white, daisy-like blossoms in spring.
Vinca minor "Bowles" (Periwinkle) – extremely popular evergreen ground cover that is very shade tolerant. Is studded with bright blue flowers in spring.
In your plans for spring, consider planting some areas with ground-covers. They will reduce maintenance, beautify problem areas and create a whole new dimension in your landscape.