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Living Covers Stifle Weeds And Tie Plants Together Visually

Here are a few ground covers that I like to use to stifle the weeds and tie other plants together in a pleasing manner.

living groundcover

Photo: Homer Edward Price (flickr)

Hay-scented fern.

I am always searching for ground covers that aren’t fussy or difficult. Some are not well behaved, and some are even invasive. But here are a few that I like to use to stifle the weeds and tie other plants together in a pleasing manner.

Epimedium, once established, persists well even in dry shade. Its common name is barrenwort, and it has a strong root system that ensures success in zones 5 to 8. ‘Enchantress’ is a variety that has dainty pink  flowers in spring time that later turn maroon, and fresh green foliage in summer.

Epimediums prefer shade or part shade, but I have one with yellow flowers in the spring where the tree that sheltered it died some years ago, yet the plants continues on happily in full sun.

Our native low-growing Phlox stolonifera grows in zones 3 to 9 and is a woodland plant so does best when it gets shade from the hot summer sun.

Hay-scented fern is a useful ground cover too and will persist in dry shade but does not play well with others, as it overwhelms companion plants. It grows well in zones 2 to 8 but may brown in dry summers.

A native evergreen, Box huckleberry creeps by shallow stems, and because it is a heath, it needs acid, damp woodland soil with adequate organic matter in zones 4 to 9.

Perennial plumbago, commonly known as leadwort, is a versatile ground cover with cobalt blue flowers borne summer into fall and colorful autumn foliage.

Note: Lamium will also grow well in a variety of conditions and has white purple and pink flowers and splashes of silver on the leaves.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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