Perennial Ground Cover

Fast growing perennial ground cover that grows horizontally is useful in areas where regular gardening is difficult and growing grass impractical because of the difficulty of bringing in a mower. Some of these plants are basically low shrubs, like junipers, yews, roses, and cotoneasters. Others expand from a rootstock, like hostas and saylilies. Some send out lengthy runners to produce carpet like covering. Whatever you choose, all of them are spreaders.


Depending on where you live, and the amount of sunlight your outdoor space will receive, your choice of ground covering perennials will vary. Some are more shade tolerant, while others relish bright sunlight. Its best to plant perennials that will be happy with the available sun and shade.

Here is a list of useful ground covering perennials and their tolerance for sunlight and shade:

  • Aubrieta (A. deltoidea), Sun
  • Bergenia (B. cordifolia), Light Shade
  • Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planisapus), Partial Shade
  • Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans), Light Shade
  • Comomile (Chamaemelum nobile), Sun
  • Coral Bell (Heuchera sanguinea), Sun and Light Shade
  • Cransebill (Geranium), Sun and Light Shade
  • Daylily (Hermerocallis), Sun and Light Shade 
  • Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum), Shade
  • Epimedium (Epimedium), Shade
  • Forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla), Shade
  • Hayscented Fern (Dennestaedtia punctilobula), Sun and Shade
  • Hosta (Hosta), Light Shade
  • Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium goeringianum), Partial Shade
  • Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina), Light Shade
  • Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina), Sun
  • Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides), Sun
  • Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis), Light Shade
  • Lilyturf (Lirope muscari), Sun and Light Shade
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria saccharata), Shade
  • Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia), Sun and Light Shade
  • Moss Phlox (P. Subulata), Sun and Partial Shade
  • Pachysandra (P. terminalis), Shade
  • Periwinkle (Vinca), Sun and Shade
  • Rock Cress (Arabis caucasica), Sun
  • Rock Rose (Helianthemum nummularium), Sun
  • Saxifrage (Saxifrage),
  • Sea Pink (Armeria maritima), Sun
  • Serbian Bellflower (Campanula poscharskyana), Sun and Light Shade
  • Sheep’s Fescue (Festuca ovina), Sun and LightShade
  • Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum), Sun
  • Stonecrop (Sedum), Sun
  • Sweet Woodruff (Galium ordoratum), Light Shade
  • Veronica (V. pectinata), Sun
  • Violet (Viola odorata, V. blanda), Shade and Light Shade
  • Wild Ginger (Asarum europaeum), Shade
  • Wooly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus), Sun
  • Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon), Shade

From Perennial Ground Cover to Landscape Plant Guide

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