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Perennial Groundcovers

aegopodiumwide_pcojenDo you need to edge the front of a border, add foliage between flagstones or want an alternative to traditional mulch?  Listed here are the hardy plants that cover the ground.  These plants tend to spread and are usually short.  Most offer flowers as well.     If you have a rather large area to cover--as on a hillside--consider planting a vine and letting it spread and root into the ground. 

As with other perennials flowers, some will do better in sun, while others prefer shade.  Also, perennial flowers typically bloom most during one particular season but may overlap into another season. For instance, a late spring blooming perennial may continue on into summer. Our listing below is organized first by exposure (groundcovers for shade, groundcovers for sun).  It is then further organized by the season in which the groundcover typically BEGINS blooming. (spring or summer)

Groundcovers --SHADE...SPRING BLOOMING

Groundcovers--SHADE...SUMMER BLOOMING

Groundcovers--SUN...SPRING BLOOMING

Groundcovers--SUN...SUMMER BLOOMING

 Click here for a listing of ALL TYPES of perennials by bloom time

Please Note:  Availability of specific varieties listed below will vary depending upon time of season and sales. Please call (719) 574-8058 for current availability.



 


Perennial Groundcovers for SHADE


SPRING BLOOMING Groundcovers for Shade

 

 ajugaburgundyglowinbloom_pcowaltersgardensinc

Burgundy Glow in bloom

ajugaburgundyglow_pcowaltersgardensinc

Burgundy Glow foliage

Photos Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc.

 

 

Bugleweed / Carpet Bugle (Ajuga)

Height: 6"

Spread: 8"-10"

Bloom Color: Blue

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Foliage can grow in shade under trees where grass is hard to establish.  Flowers best in moist locations.

Varieties:

Burgundy Glow: tri-colored foliage of cream, burgundy and green.  Fall color deepens to rose-bronze.  Blue flowers

Bronze Beauty: burgundy green foliage with lilac colored flowers

Chocolate Chip: extremely dwarf bugleweed (2" H) with 'chocolate' tinged burgundy foliage.  Blue flowers

 

ajugabronzebeauty_pcowillowaynurseriesinc

Bronze Beauty

Photo Courtesy Willoway Nurseries


 

 


 

lamiumannegreenaway_pcowaltersgardensinc

Anne Greenaway

Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

 

Dead Nettle /Lamium (Lamium maculatum)

Height: 6"-12"

Spread: 6"-12"

Bloom Color: Pink or white

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Early Summer

Other Notes: Brightens up a shady (or partly shady) spot. Can be planted in dry shade as under trees, where grass is hard to establish.

Varieties:

Anne Greenaway: Gold, green, and silver leaves with pink blooms

Orchid Frost: Silvery-white and green leaves with pink blooms

 

lamiumorchidfrost_pcowaltersgardensinc      lamiumpinknancy_pcojen

Orchid Frost                        Pink Nancy

Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc



 

 


arctostaphylos_kinnickinnicklr_pcojen

arctostaphyloskinnikinnickclose_pcojen

Fall/Winter Color

Kinnikinnick (Arctostyphylos)

Height: 4"-10"

Spread: up to 15"

Bloom Color: White or light pink bell-shape dainty flowers

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Flowers are followed by small red fruit. Glossy bright green foliage turns reddish in winter. Evergreen, shrubby ground cover. Can planted in shade, part sun, or sun.

 


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Snow on the Mountain / Bishop's Weed (Aegopodium)

Height: 6"-12"

Spread: 18"-24"—can be aggressive spreader

Bloom Color: Creamy white sprays on 14" tall wand-like foliage

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Foliage is white and green and interesting when not in bloom. Brightens up a shady spot.

 


vinca_pcojen

Vinca Vine / Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

'Bowles'

Height: 4"-6"

Spread: 8"-10"

Bloom Color: Single, 5-petaled, lavender blue flowers

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: A nice deep green groundcover. Performs well in dry shade. Technically an evergreen vine—it holds its leaves well into winter.


SUMMER BLOOMING Groundcovers for Shade


 

lysimachiacreepingjennygreen_pcojen lysimachiagoldi_pcojen

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Height: 1"-3"

Spread: 2'-6'—can be an aggressive spreader

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Grown for foliage which hugs the ground in a dense mat. Plant shade, bright shade, or sun.

Varieties:
Green
Aurea

 


 


 

fallopiajaponicacompacta_pcojen

Compacta

fallopiajapfleeceflowervariegated_pcobaileynurseriesinc

Variegated

Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries Inc

Japanese Fleece Flower, False Solomon's Seal 
(Polygonatum formerly Fallopia japonica)

 

Height: 24" - 36"

Spread: 24"-36"

Bloom Color: White and pinkish red flowers

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Attractive red stems

Varieties:

Compacta: Green elongated heart-shaped leaves

Variegated:  Green leaves splashed with white brighten up a shady location


 


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Scotch Moss

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Irish Moss

Moss, Irish and Scotch (Sagina subulata)

Irish Moss (Deep Green)

Scotch Moss (Lime-Yellow Green)

Height: 1"-2"

Spread: 6"-8"

Bloom Color: Tiny white star-shaped flowers

Season of Bloom: Early Summer

Other Notes: Good between rocks or stepping stones.

 

 


ceratostigmaplumbago_pcojen

 

Plumbago / Leadwort

(Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

Height: 8"-12"

Spread: 12"-24"

Bloom Color: Blue

Season of Bloom: Late Summer to Fall

Other Notes: Glossy green foliage turns bronze red in fall. Plant in bright shade. It will emerge slowly in spring.

 

 


euonymus_wintercreeper_gaiety_pcojen

Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortuneii)

Height: 12"-18"

Spread: 24"-36"

Bloom Color: n/a

Season of Bloom: Popular for fall/winter color of reddish-maroon.

Other Notes: Broadleaf evergreen, shrubby groundcover.


 

Perennial Groundcovers for SUN



 


SPRING BLOOMING Groundcovers for Sun

 


campanulacarpaticaclipswhite_photocourtesywaltersgardensinc
White Clips
Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc
campanulacarpaticaclipsblue_photocourtesywaltersgardensinc
Blue Clips
Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Bellflower, Carpathian (Campanula)

Height: 6-12"

Spread: 18"

Bloom Color: Profuse white, lavender or purple

Season of Bloom: Late spring into early summer (and longer if you shear/deadhead blooms)

Other Notes: Neat, mounding habit. Does well in well-drained, consistently moist soil.

Varieties:

Blue Clips (Blue flowers)

White Clips (white blooms)

 


 

phlox_creepingnorthhills_pcowaltersgardensinc

North Hills

phloxsubulatasnowflake_pcowaltersgardens

Snowflake

phlox_creepingredwing_pcowaltersgardens

Red Wing

 

Photos Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

 

 

phloxsubulata_candysripe_pcojen

Candy Stripe

 

phlox_creeping_blue_pcojen

Emerald Blue

Creeping Phlox
(Phlox subulata)

Height: 4"-6"

Spread: 12"-24"

Bloom Color: White, pinks, blue, lavender

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Forms a dense mat of color in spring. Foliage tends to brown out later in the season.

Varieties:

Candy Stripe
Emerald Blue
North Hills
Red Wing
Snowflake

*Note:  Best availability for this perennial is in Spring.  We often sell out by summer.


 

arctostaphylos_kinnickinnicklr_pcojen

Spring

arctostaphyloskinnikinnickclose_pcojen

Late Summer/Early Fall

Kinnikinnick (Arctostyphylos)

Height: 4"-10"

Spread: up to 15"

Bloom Color: White or light pink bell-shape dainty flowers

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Flowers are followed by small red fruit. Glossy bright green foliage turns reddish in winter. Evergreen, shrubby ground cover. Can also be planted in shade.

 


anacyclus_matatlasdaisylr_pcojen

Mat Atlas Daisy (Anacyclus)

Height: 4"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: White daisy-like blooms

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Summer

Other Notes: Ferny, mat-forming foliage. Short-lived but re-seeds easily.


 


 

callirhoeinvolucrata_photocourtesyplantselect
Photo Courtesy Plant Select

Poppy Mallow / Winecups (Callirhoe involucrata)

Height:  4”-6”

Spread:  12”-36”

Bloom Color:  Magenta

Season of Bloom:  Late Spring to Summer with potential to bloom most of the summer

Other Notes:  A Colorado Plant Select perennial. Sun to Part Sun.  Note:  do not plant next to grass, it will intermingle.  A Plant Select plant.

 


 

Potentilla, creeping (Potentillia tonguei)

Height: 3"

Spread: 10"-24"

Bloom Color: Single, apricot and yellow tones with a deeper red centers

Season of Bloom: Late spring to early summer

Other Notes: Glossy green leaves form a dense mat. Plant it away from lawns so that it doesn't intermingle.

 

 


aubrietasnowcap_pcojen

Snowcap

Rock Cress, Purple (Aubrieta deltoidea)

Height:  6"

Spread:  10"

Bloom Color:  Deep Purple or white

Season of Bloom:  Late Spring to Early Summer

Other Notes:  Best planted in well-drained soil.  Perfect for rock gardens.  Spills over if planted at the edge of a raised bed or rock wall.  Give a light trim after flowering.

Varieties:

Whitewell Gem: purple
Snowcap: white

 

 


 


cerastium_snow_in_summer_pcojen

Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum)

Height: 6"-12"

Spread: 24"-36"

Bloom Color: White

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Early Summer

Other Notes: Silvery foliage brightens the front of the border even when not in bloom. Can be sheared after flowering to freshen up the foliage.

 


 

 

saponariasoapwortclose_pcojen

Soapwort, (Saponaria ocymoides)


Height:  6”-9” 

Spread:  12”-18”

Bloom Color:  Prolific, small, pink blossoms cover this plant.

Season of Bloom:  Spring

Other Notes:   Pretty mounding habit works well at the front of a border or on the edge of a wall/raised bed where it can trail over the edge.  Sun to Part Sun.

 


 

veronicaliwanensis_turkish_photocourtesyplantselect

Turkish Creeping Speedwell

 

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veronicacrystalriverwide_pcoplantselect

Crystal River

Photos Courtesy Plant Select

Speedwell, Creeping (Veronica)

Height: 1"-3"

Spread: 12"-20"

Bloom Color: Blues, pinks, or whites.

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Early Summer

Other Notes: Wooly or glossy, low-growing green foliage. Extremely drought tolerant once established.

Varieties:

Crystal River:  tiny sky blue flowers, profuse bloomer

Turkish: Blue flowers—A Colorado Plant Select perennial

Waterperry Blue: deep green leaves tinge burgundy in cooler weather.   Lavender-blue veined flowers



galium_with_bulbs_pcojen

galium_close_pcojen

Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Height: 6"

Spread: 24"

Bloom Color: Dainty, fragrant white flowers held above bright green foliage

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Excellent ground cover for dry shade.   Nice when paired with taller bulbs or perennials that grow up through it.


SUMMER BLOOMING Groundcovers for Sun


gypsophilarepenswhite_pcojen

'Alba'

gypsophilarepenspink_pcojen

'Rosea'

Baby’s Breath, Creeping Types (Gypsophila repens)


Height:  4”

Spread:  8”-10”

Bloom Color:  White or pink baby’s breath blossoms.

Season of Bloom:  Summer

Other Notes:   MUST be planted in well drained soil.   Drought Tolerant.  Dislikes wet feet in the winter—so plant in a full sun location where snow tends to melt off quickly.

 

 

 


 

lysimachiacreepingjennygreen_pcojen lysimachiagoldi_pcojen

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Height: 1"-3"

Spread: 2'-6'—can be an aggressive spreader

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Grown for foliage which hugs the ground in a dense mat. Plant shade, bright shade, or sun.

Varieties:

Green
Aurea

 


 

oenothera_missouriensis_photocourtesywaltersgardensinc

Missouri Yellow

Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

oenothera_siskiyoupink_pcowillowaynursery

Siskiyou Pink

Photo Courtesy Willloway Nurseries

 

Evening Primrose (Oenothera)


Height: 8”-12”

Spread:  18”-24”

Bloom Color:   Large profuse yellow or pink cups followed by interesting seed pods.   Blooms close during the heat of the day.

Season of Bloom:  Summer

Other Notes:    Nice deep green leaves.  Drought tolerant.  Self sows and can be invasive especially in sandy soils.  However this quality makes it a great plant for difficult areas such as sunny slopes.   

Varieties:
Missouri Yellow (Oenothera missourenis)  AKA (Ozark Sundrops)
Siskiyou Pink (Oenothera berlandieri)


 

sempervivumlr_pcojp

Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum)

Height: 2"-6"

Spread: 6"-18"

Bloom Color: Star-shaped flowers form on upright stalks from the mother 'hen'

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Succulent rosette shaped groundcover. Drought tolerant. Spreads by 'chicks' from the mother 'hen.' Does well planted between stepping stones. An easy-care perennial to plant in containers.

Varieties:

Ruby Heart
Hardy Mix
Sanford Hybrids
Cobweb (rose red flowers, white threads criss-cross between the tips of the leaves)

 sempervivumassorted_photocourtesywaltersgardensinc
Hardy Mix
Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc


polygonumhimalayanborderjewel_pcoval

Photo Courtesy Valerie Belding

Himalayan Border Jewel (Persicaria AKA Polygonum)

Height: 4" mat forming leaves and 12" when in bloom

Spread:  24" - 36"

Bloom Color: Erect bottlebrush spikes of pink to rose-red blooms

Season of Bloom: Late Summer

Other Notes: This is a vigorous spreading plant.  Great groundcover for slopes.  Leaves turn a very pretty pronounced red in fall.


delospermafirespinner_pcoplantselect

Firespinner wide shot

delospermafirespinnerclose_pcoplantselect

Firespinner

Photos Courtesy Plant Select

delospermaiceplantlavenderice_photocourtesyplantselect

Lavender Ice

Ice Plant (Delosperma)

Height: 2"-4"

Spread: 12"-24"

Bloom Color: Showy, profuse flowers in yellow, pink, purple, or peach.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Succulent plants that must be planted in soil with excellent drainage. Not for clay.

Varieties:

Yellow (D. nubigerum): one of the hardiest with dainty yellow blooms

White Nugget:  cute white flowers with a yellow center

Colorado Plant Select Iceplants:
Table Mountain (D. cooperi 'John Proffit'): magenta flowers

Lavender Ice (D. 'Psfave): pastel lavender flowers

Mesa Verde: light salmon/pink flowers

Fire Spinner: vibrant flowers with orange outer edge and magenta/purple ringed inner 'eye'

Red Mountain: Red flowers

delospermamesaverde_pcoplantselect  delospermatablemountainiceplant_photocourtesyplantselect 

Mesa Verde                            Table Mountain

Photos Courtesy Plant Select

delospermaredmountain_pcoplantselect

Red Mountain



 


Kenilworth Ivy

(Cymbalaria muralis)

Height:  2"-3"

Spread:  12"-18"

Bloom Color:  Dainty blue snapdragon-like flowers

Season of Bloom:  Mid-Summer to EarlyFall

Other Notes:  Pretty scalloped leaves are a wonderful filler between flagstones.   Tolerates full sun if given consistent moisture.  If you can't offer this, it will also grow in a morning sun location.  Will self-sow.


stachys3_pcojen

Lamb's Ear (Stachys)

Height: Foliage 6" Flowers 15"

Spread: Yes! 12"+

Bloom Color: Small lavender flowers on fuzzy silver stems.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Fuzzy pale gray foliage. Very soft. Wonderful for a children's gardens. But! A word of caution—this plant travels! Keep it deadheaded so that it does not self sow or it will take over an area.

 


tanacetumpartridgefeather_photocourtesyplantselect
Photo Courtesy Plant Select

Partridge Feathers (Tanecetum densum)

Height: 3"-5""

Spread: 15"-24"

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Drought tolerant. Likes sun and a hot spot. Striking silver leaves are great for contrast. A Colorado Plant Select perennial.

 


 
 

sedum_angelina_pcojen

Angelina

 

sedum_spurium_redcarpet_close_pcojen

Sedum Red Carpet

 

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Sedum Red Carpet

 

 

 


 

sedumoldmansbones_pcojen
  Old Man's Bones
 
sedumbertram_anderson_pcowaltersgardensinc
Bertram Anderson
Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Sedum / Stonecrop Low Growing Types (Sedum)

Height: 2"-6"

Spread: 6"-24"

Bloom Color: Starry flowers in shades of pink, white, or yellow.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Succulent foliage is very drought tolerant. Sunny, hot, dry—it can take it.

Varieties:

Dragon's Blood

Angelina (S. rupestre)

Bertram Anderson (S. cauticola)

Tricolor (S. spurium)

Blue Spruce (S. reflexum)

Old Man's Bones (S. divergens)

White Diamonds (S. spathulifolium)

Voodoo (S. spurium)

Yellow Stonecrop (S. acre)

Variegated Stonecrop


 

 


thymelr_pcoval

thyme_pcojen

thyme3_pcojen

 

 

Thyme, Creeping (Thymus sp.)

Height: 2"-12"

Spread: 18"+

Bloom Color: Small white, pink, or red flowers

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Some varieties are ornamental while others can be used for culinary purposes too.

Varieties:

Archer's Gold

Citrus Scented

Elfin

Lemon

Pink Chintz

Wooly



thymepathway_pcojen

 

thymewooly_pcojen

Wooly Thyme

 


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