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)  

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.

 

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


Perennial Groundcovers for SHADE

 


 

SPRING BLOOMING Groundcovers for Shade

 

Brass Buttons (Leptinella)

Height: 1-2"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: Yellow (insignificant)

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Looking for a groundcover for a shady area?  This will form a dense mat of fern-like foliage in shade or morning sun.  Though new growth will start out green it will tinge bronze in summer.

Varieties:

Platt's Black Brass Buttons


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Black Scallop

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:

Black Scallop: near black scalloped leaves with 4" blue flower spikes in Spring.  Striking contrast and foliage looks nice all season even when not in bloom

 

 


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Creeping Mazus (Mazus reptans)

Height: 1-2"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: White or lavender

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: This dainty little groundcover will grow in both shade and sun.  It can take moderate foot traffic (as between a flagstone pathway).  Pretty in fronts of beds or borders too.  Blooms cover the plant in late Spring.   The bright green foliage forms a dense mat. 

Varieties:

White (Alba)

 


 

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Anne Greenaway

Photos Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

White Nancy

 

Herman's Pride

 

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Orchid Frost

Pink Pewter leaf & flower

Photos Courtesy Ball Horticultural Company

 

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     

Pink Pewter: Silvery-white and green leaves with light pink blooms

White Nancy: Silvery-white and green leaves with white blooms  

 

Yellow Dead Nettle, Yellow Arch Angel, False Dead Nettle

(Lamiastrum)

Height: 10"

Spread: 14"

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Early Summer

Other Notes: Will grow in full shade or morning sun.  Works well when planted with spring blooming bulbs.

Varieties:

Herman's Pride:  Metallic silver and deep green variegated leaves brighten up a shady spot even when this plant is not in bloom.

     


 

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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.

 


 

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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

 


 

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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
Yellow (Aurea)

 


 

 

Photo Courtesy EPlant Source

Kenilworth Ivy (Cymbalaria muralis)

Height: 2"-3"

Spread: 12"-18"

Bloom Color: Dainty blue snapdragon-like flowers

Season of Bloom: Mid-Summer to Early Fall

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.

 



 

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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.

 

 

 

 


 

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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.

 

 


 

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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

 


 

Dickson's Gold
 

Bellflower, Groundcover Types (Campanula)

Height: 6-12"

Spread: 18"-20"

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:

Dickson's Gold (Golden Adriactic Bellflower)  6"-12"H x 18"W:  protect from afternoon sun for best leaf color

Blue Waterfall (Serbian Bellflower) 8"-10"H x 20"W

 

 

 


 

mazusalba_pcostepables

Creeping Mazus (Mazus reptans)

Height: 1-2"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: White or lavender

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: This dainty little groundcover will grow in both shade and sun.  It can take moderate foot traffic (as between a flagstone pathway).  Pretty in fronts of beds or borders too.  Blooms cover the plant in late Spring.   The bright green foliage forms a dense mat.

Varieties:

White (Alba)

 

 

 

 


 

 

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North Hills

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Snowflake

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Red Wing

 

Photos Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

 

 

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Candy Stripe

 

Drummond's Pink 

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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
Coral Eye
Drummond's Pink
Emerald Blue
North Hills
Red Wing
Snowflake
Scarlet Flame

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

 

Coral Eye

Photo Courtesy Walter's Garden Inc

 

 


 

 

anthemisfiligreedaisy_pcoplantselect

Photo Courtesy Plant Select

Filligree Daisy (Anthemis marschalliana)

Height: 4"-10"

Spread: 15"-24"

Bloom Color: Yellow

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: Dainty silvery foliage is pretty even when not in bloom.  Drought tolerant once established.  Zone 4.  Plant Select perennial. 

 

 


 

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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.

Variety:

Silver Kisses


 


 

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Ornamental Strawberry (Fragaria x anannasa)

Height: 6"

Spread: up to 36"

Bloom Color: Bright pink

Season of Bloom: Late Spring to Fall.  Long bloom time! 

Other Notes: Forms a dense mat of green foliage. Older beds produce small strawberries but the plant is primarily grown for ornamental use.  For fruit production, plant a traditional strawberry plant.


Variety:

Lipstick

 

 


 

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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

 

Variety: Potentilla tonguei

Height: 3"

Spread: 10"-24"

Bloom Color: Single flowers in yellow and orange tones (some varieties have 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.

Variety: Melton Fire

Height: 12" mound of leaves, 18"-24" in flower

Spread: 18"

Bloom Color: Showy and sweet 5 petaled saucers of bi-colored red centers surrounded by apricot

Season of Bloom: Blooms from early to late summer (and into Fall if deadheaded)

Other Notes: Very pretty cottage garden looking perennial with a long bloom time. Deadhead regularly for best show. Foliage is a deep green and reminiscent of strawberry leaves. Easy to grow in well drained soil.

 


 

arabissnowcap_pcoivygarth

Photo Courtesy Ivy Garth

Rockcress, Alpine (Arabis)

Variety:  Snowcap (A. caucasica)

Height: 6"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: White

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes:   Will cover itself in a mass of bright white, fragrant flowers.  A good perennial to plant with late Spring-blooming bulbs.  Works well in the front of your borders.  Zone 4.  

Pixie Cream

Photo Courtesy EPlant Source 

Variety:  Pixie Cream (A. caucasica)

Height: 4"

Spread: 12"

Bloom Color: Creamy White with a Yellow Center

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes:   Will cover itself in a mass of creamy white, fragrant flowers.  A good perennial to plant with late Spring-blooming bulbs.  Works well in the front of your borders.  Needs well-drained soil.  Zone 4.

 


 

 

Rock Rose / Sun Rose (Helianthemum)

Height: 6"

Spread: 12"-24"

Bloom Color: Single flowers in yellow, red, pink or orange.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Other Notes: Evergreen woody perennial that holds its leaves much of the year. Shear after bloom to freshen up foliage. Or, prune out old wood growth in spring.

Variety:

Dazzler: Magenta red flowers with a yellow eye

 


 

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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.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Soapwort/Rock 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.

 

 


 

 

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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

Sunshine Yellow:  yellow foliage with blue flowers

Wooly: dense habit with deep blue flowers

 

    

Wooly                                                                Sunshine

 


 

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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'

 

 

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.

Varieties: 

Alba (white)

Pink

 

 

 


 

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

 


 

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Missouri Yellow

Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

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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)


 

Traditional

Traditional Color in Cool Weather

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:

Cobweb (rose red flowers, white threads criss-cross between the tips of the leaves)
Pilioseum
Red Beauty
Rock N Roll Rosette
Ruby Heart
Sunset
Traditional 

sempervivumpilioseumgreen_pcowaltersgardensinc sempervivumpilioseumcolor_pcowaltersgardensinc

Pilioseum

Photos Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Ruby Heart

 sempervivumredbeautyclose_pcowaltersgardensinc  sempervivumredbeautycolor_pcowaltersgardensinc

Red Beauty

Photos Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

sempervivumrocknollrosette_pcowaltersgardensinc         sempervivumcobweb_pcowaltersgardensinc

Rock N Roll Rosette                             Cobweb

 

Sunset

 


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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.

 

 


 

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Firespinner wide shot

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Firespinner

Photos Courtesy Plant Select

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Lavender Ice

White Nugget

Photo Courtesy EPlant Source

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:

Cooperi: Bright pink

Pink: Bright pink

White Nugget: White flowers

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

Colorado Plant Select Iceplant:
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

Starburst: Lilac with white eye

delospermamesaverde_pcoplantselect  delospermatablemountainiceplant_photocourtesyplantselect delospermaredmountain_pcoplantselect

      Mesa Verde                  Table Mountain                       Red Mountain

         

         Starburst                                                     Cooperi

Photos Courtesy Plant Select                                                                             Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc
 

 


 

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 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.

 


 
 

 

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Angelina

 

 

Chinese

 

White Diamonds 

sedumbertram_anderson_pcowaltersgardensinc
Bertram Anderson
Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

 

John Creech

Blue Spruce

 

Old Man's Bones

 

Sedum kamtschaticum

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:

Angelina (S. rupestre): BRIGHT yellow foliage tinges red/orange in fall.

Bertram Anderson (S. cauticola): Deep purple leaves.  Pink flowers.

Blue Spruce (S. reflexum): Unique gray-green foliage shaped like pine needles. Yellow flowers.

Chinese Sedum (S. tetractinum): Foliage resembles flat jade-like leaves. Yellow flowers.

Coral Carpet: Ever changing foliage.  Light green in Spring turning light orange as the weather warms.  BRIGHT red in summer and deepens to maroon in Fall.  White flowers.

Dragon's Blood: Green foliage turns red in Fall.  Magenta/red flowers.

John Creech: Light green succulent foliage. Pink flowers.

Old Man's Bones (S. divergens): Oval leaves are stacked on each other to give a unique texture. Yellow flowers.

Tricolor (S. spurium): White, pink, and light green foliage is striking.  Pink flowers.

White Diamonds (S. spathulifolium): Succulent foliage resembles flowers. White blooms.

Yellow Stonecrop (S. acre): Green succulent foliage.  Yellow flowers.

Variegated Stonecrop (S. kamtschaticum): Green succulent foliage has a slight white tinge.  Yellow flowers. 


 

 

 


 

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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
Elfin
Lemon
Mother of Thyme
Pink Chintz
Wooly

 

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Wooly Thyme