This is the hand-out from the presentation made by David & Cathy Cummins , which was part of the Green Gardening 2004 held at the Royal Botanical Gardens on Saturday, 28 February 2004.


Groundcovers
Carefree Lawn Alternatives

The Benefits of Groundcovers
  • attractive and decorative
  • lower maintenance
  • unifying element in design
  • create a lush, ‘landscaped’ look
  • seasonal interest
  • can be used alone or in combination
  • generally more resistant to pests and disease
  • achieve a natural effect
  • problem solvers

Choosing a Groundcover

#1 rule in gardening -- Match the Plant to the Site!
Consider the following;
  • site - shade, sun, etc.
  • soil condition
  • desired height
  • texture - bold or fine
  • winter appearance
  • leaf colour
  • flower (not as important as leaf)
  • size of area
  • the way plants spread

Planting Groundcovers

Proper preparation in the key to success.
  • remove all turf and weeds
  • amend soil if necessary
  • space according to mature size, growth rate of planys, and budget
  • MULCH! MULCH! MULCH!
  • water well first year to establich roots
  • remove any weeds that do appear
  • be patient

Benefits of Mulch
  • insulates soil and slows down temperature changes
  • retains moisture in soil
  • retards weed growth
  • looks attractive

A Virtually Carefree Carpet
for Your Outdoor Livingroom


We confess: Without extensive use of ground cover, our garden would be almost too much to handle.
Ground-cover plants are among the best friends in our garden. They're virtually maintenance-free, they add interesting tones and textures to the garden, most are pest-resistant, the thickest of them crowd out weeds, and we mix-and-match them for new effects from time to time.
Below is our guide to favourite ground covers. It’s not complete by any means, but it includes plants we enjoy because of their attractive appearance and low-maintenance qualities.

Name
Height
Qualities
Maintenance
Carpet Bugle,
Bugleweed
(Ajuga reptans)

10" (in bloom)
2 to 4" at other times
Spreads quickly in sun or shade. Spikes of blue flowers in late spring. You can walk on it - our dog, Shamus, loves to sleep on a bed of ajuga.

Shear off spent flowers in early simmer (use mower at highest setting).

Cotoneaster
(C. horizontalis,
C. dammeri

12 to 18"



Full sun or partial shade. Forms a glossy green carpet; its wwhite spring flowers turn into red barries that last through winter. This fast-growing plant is very good on banks and slopes. Prune annually if necessary.



Cranesbill (Geranium macrorrhizum)

12 to 15"


With fragrant leaves and pink flowers from spring to early summer, this is a pretty favourite for sunny and partly shady locations. Deadhead to pro;ong flowering.

Day lily (Hemerocallis) 18 to 36"

Different varieties can ensure blooms through most of the season. Does well in any soil. Remove spent flowers. Divide every 3 to 5 years.
English ivy
(Hedera helix)
6 to 8"

Dark lustrous foliage. Forms a dense cover in shade or part sun. (May need protection from winter sun) None.

Fleeceflower (Polygonum affine)

5 to 12"


Another easy-care plant that does well in almost any type of soil. In summer it sports pink or red flower-spikes resembling bottle brushes. None.


Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis)

8"



Excellent evergreen cover for shade or partial shade. Spreads by underground stems; forms a tight mat. Creamy white flowers inspring. Slow to establish, but worth the wait. None. During first few years, prune after flowering to increase spread.

Junipers (Juniperus horizontalis) 12"

Light-green to steel-blue colour. Adaptable to most soil types. Full sun. None.

Mother of thyme (Thymus serpyllum)


10" when blooming


Small aromatic leaves and very prostrate habit make it excellent for use around walks and on hot sandy slopes. Tiny, rosy/lilac flowers in summer. Full sun. None.



Periwinkle
(Vinca major;
V. minor)

18" for mojor, 8" for minor

Trailing evergreens with pruple, blue or white flowers and dark-green foliage. Prefers shade, but tolerates some sun (and flowers better). Well-drained soil. None.



Spotted Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum)


6 to 8"



Does very well in shade. Prefers moist conditions, with white or pink flowers in spring. Two varieties - Beacon Silver and White Nancy - have silvery foliage. None.



Goldmoss stonecrop (Sedum acre)

2 to 3"


Spreads by creeping, forms mat of leaves with tiny yellow flowers from spring to mid-summer. Good for dry soil and rocky areas. None.


Dragon's blood stonecrop (Sedum spurium) 6"


Thick mat of rounded, red-tinted foliage with showy red clusters in summer. Dry soil and rocky areas. None.


Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum)

6 to 8"


Lance-shaped leaves with white, star-shaped, scented flowers in late spring. Prefers shade and moist conditions - add humus to soil if necessary. Clean up old foliage in spring.

Winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei) 12 to 24"

Evergree trailing vine up to 36" long. Uniform leaves and rapid growth. Trim back with pruners to maintain desired height.
European wild ginger (Asarum europaeum)

To 7"


Shade, humus soil, pleany of moisture, will ensure rapid growth. A woodland plant with very attractive shiney leaves.
Green and Gold, Goldenstar (Chrysogonum virginianum) 4 to 8"



Grows well in partial shade with rich soil and good drainage. Plants flower for a long time in spring and summer (yellow star shaped) especially when cool.
Heartleaf Bergenia (Bergenia cordifolia)



To 16"




Grown for ornamental foliage and early blooming. Grows in any soil, prefers humus rich soil. Like part shade or sun if moisture is provided, and will tolerate dry shade. Leaves are 12 to 18" long and leathery.
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

To 12"



Evergreen foliage turns bronze in winter. Small leathery leaves and pink flowers followed by long lasting red fruit. Prefers acidic, well drained soil in sun or part shade.
Lamb’s Ears
(Stachys byzantina)





Average, well drained soil in full sun. White, woolly, soft leaves. ‘Silver Carpet’ is nonflowering and makes a denser, more compact cover. Good edging plant. Cut bacl leaves in early spring for best appearance.
Foamflower
(Tiarella cordifolia)

6 to 8"


Likes woodland conditions with moist, humus rich but well drained soil in light shade. Beautiful foliage with small white, finger shaped flowers in spring.
Bunchberry, Dogwood (Cornus canadensis)


To 6"



Pointed leaves with miniature dogwood flowers in spring followed by shiny red berries. Woodland plant, requires moist, humus rich, neutral or acidic soil. Slow to spread, best for small areas.

Selected Plants for Special Situations

Because ground covers display such a wide range of cultural requirements and growth habits, some are naturally better suited than others to specific landscape situations. The following lists are designed to help you choose plants to meet the particular needs of your home landscape. The lists are not exhaustive but represent some of the most common ground covers available.

Easy to grow
  • Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
  • Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Dwarf coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’)
  • Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei ‘Colorata’)
  • Ivy (Hedera)
  • Aaron‘s beard (Hypericum calycinum)
  • Juniper (Juniperus)
  • Lilyturf (Liriope spicata)
  • Mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus)
  • Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis)
  • Spring cinquefoil (Potentilla verna)
  • Dwarf rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
  • Jasmine (Trachelospermum)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor)


Full Sun
  • Woolly yarrow (Achillea tomentosa)
  • Rock cress (Arabis)
  • Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Angel’s hair (Artemisia schmidtiana
  • Dwarf coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis)
  • California lilac (Ceanothus)
  • Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
  • Broom (Cytisus)
  • Sun rose (Helianthemum nummularium)
  • Lantana (Lantana)
  • Juniper (Juniperus)
  • Moss pink (Phlix subulata)
  • Lippia (Phyla nodiflora)
  • Santa Cruz pyracantha (Pyracantha koidzumii ‘Santa Cruz’)
  • Rose (Rosa)
  • Dwarf rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)
  • Lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
Drought Resistant
  • Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)
  • Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Dusty-miller, wormwood (Artemisia)
  • Dwarf coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’)
  • Rock rose (Cistus)
  • Crown vetch (Coronilla varia)
  • Broom (Cytisus)
  • Sun rose (Helianthemum nummularium)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • Lantana (Lantana)
  • Ribbon garss (Phalaris arundinacea ‘Picta’)
  • Lippia (Phyla nodiflora)
  • Dwarf rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)
  • Lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
  • Peruvian verbena (Verbena peruviana)
Sun or Partial Shade
  • Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)
  • Bugleweed (Ajuga)
  • Bellflower (Campanula)
  • Holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum)
  • Dichondra (Dichondra micrantha)
  • Barrenwort (Epimedium)
  • Wild or sand strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Aaron‘s beard (Hypericum calycinum)
  • Lilyturf (Liriope spicata)
  • Creeping mahonia (Mohania repens)
  • Mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus)
  • Canby, pachistima (Paxistima canbyi)
  • Knotweed (Polygonum)
  • Irish and Scotch moss (Sagina subulata)
  • Jasmine (Trachelospermum)

Tolerate Deep Shade
  • Five-finger fern (Adiantum pedatum)
  • Wild ginger (Asarum)
  • Japanese painted fern (Athyrium goeringianum)
  • Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis)
  • Wood fern (Dryopteris)
  • Barrenwort (Epimedium)
  • Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis)
  • Irish and Scotch moss (Sagina subulata)
  • Small Himalayan sarcococca (Sarcococca hookeriana humilis)
  • Sweet violet (Viola odorata)

Drape and Trail
  • Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Dusty-miller, wormwood (Artemisia)
  • Sprenger asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’
  • Bellflower (Campanula)
  • Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
  • Euonymus, in variety (Euonymus fortunei)
  • Ivy (Hedera)
  • Juniper, low-growing (Juniperus)
  • Parrot’s-beak (Lotus berthelotii)
  • Dwarf rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)
  • Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
  • Peruvian verbena (Verbena peruviana)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
Slope Stabilizers
  • Five-leaf akebia (Akebia quinata)
  • Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Dwarf coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’)
  • Carmel creeper (Ceanothus griseus horizontalis)
  • Rock rose (Cistus)
  • Crown vetch (Coronilla varia)
  • Ivy (Hedera)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • Aaron‘s beard (Hypericum calycinum)
  • Juniper, low-growing (Juniperus)
  • Lantana (Lantana montevidensis)
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
  • Parrot’s-beak (Lotus berthelotii)
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
  • Ribbon garss (Phalaris arundinacea ‘Picta’)
  • Fleece flower (Polygonum cuspidatum compactum)
  • Santa Cruz pyracantha (Pyracantha koidzumii ‘Santa Cruz’)
  • Rose, low-growing (Rosa)
  • Dwarf rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor)



Lawn Alternatives (Large Areas)
  • Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)
  • Bugleweed (Ajuga)
  • Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Dwarf coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’)
  • Crown vetch (Coronilla varia)
  • Maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides)
  • Mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
  • Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
  • Blue fescue (Festuca ovina glauca)
  • Wild or sand strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis)
  • Ivy (Hedera)
  • Aaron‘s beard (Hypericum calycinum)
  • Juniper, low-growing (Juniperus)
  • Lantana (Lantana)
  • Lilyturf (Liriope spicata)
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
  • Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis)
  • Lippia (Phyla nodiflora)
  • Fleece flower (Polygonum cuspidatum compactum)
  • Cinquefoil (Potentilla)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
  • Jasmine (Trachelospermum)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
  • Korean grass (Zoysia tenuifolia)
Tolerate Traffic
  • Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
  • Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • Dichondra (Dichondra micrantha)
  • Mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
  • Blue rug juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Blue Rug’)
  • Lippia (Phyla nodiflora)
  • Irish and Scotch moss (Sagina subulata)
  • Speedwell (Veronica repens)
  • Korean grass (Zoysia tenuifolia)

Tolerate Occasional Traffic
  • Woolly yarrow (Achillea tomentosa)
  • Rock cress (Arabis)
  • Common thrift (Armeria maritima)
  • Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
  • Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia)
  • Corsican mint (Mentha requienii)
  • Moss pink (Phlix subulata)
  • Cinquefoil (Potentilla)
  • Thyme (Thymus)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
Nooks and Crannies
  • Madwort (Alyssum saxatile)
  • Rock cress (Arabis)
  • Thrifty (Armeria)
  • Bellflower (Campanula)
  • Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • Heron’s-bill (Erodium chamaedryoides)
  • Rupturewort (Herniaria glabra)
  • Coralbells (Heuchera sanguinea)
  • Evergreen candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)
  • Spotted dead nettle (Lamium maculatum)
  • Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia)
  • Corsican mint (Mentha requienii)
  • Irish and Scotch moss (Sagina subulata)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
  • Hen-and-chickens (Sempervivum tectorum)
  • Baby’s-tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)
  • Thyme (Thymus)