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

 

 

 

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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:

Green Brass Buttons (Verdigris)


 ajugablackscallop_pcowaltersgardensinc

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

 


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)


 lamiumannegreenaway_pcowaltersgardensinc

Anne Greenaway

Photos Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

 

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Orchid Frost

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                 


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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


 

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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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

 


 
campanuladicksonsgold_pcowaltersgardensinc
Dickson's Gold
Photo Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

Bellflower, Groundcover Types (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:

Dickson's Gold (Golden Adriactic Bellflower)

 


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

 

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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
Emerald Blue
Red Wing
Snowflake
Scarlet Flame

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


 

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. 

 


 

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.

Variety:

Silver Kisses


 


 

fragariaornamentalstrawberryclose_pcojen

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

 

 


 

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 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.

 


 

arabissnowcap_pcoivygarth

Photo Courtesy Ivy Garth

Rockcress (Arabis caucasica)

Variety:  Snowcap

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.  

 


 

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.

 


 

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Turkish Creeping Speedwell

 

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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



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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.

 

 

 


 

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

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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)


 

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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
Rocknoll Rosette 

sempervivumpilioseumgreen_pcowaltersgardensinc sempervivumpilioseumcolor_pcowaltersgardensinc

Pilioseum

Photos Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc
 sempervivumredbeautyclose_pcowaltersgardensinc  sempervivumredbeautycolor_pcowaltersgardensinc

Red Beauty

Photos Courtesy Walters Gardens Inc

sempervivumrocknollrosette_pcowaltersgardensinc         sempervivumcobweb_pcowaltersgardensinc

Rocknoll Rosette                             Cobweb


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.


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Firespinner wide shot

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Firespinner

Photos Courtesy Plant Select

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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

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

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Red Mountain



 


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

 

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Sedum Red Carpet

 

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Sedum Red Carpet

 

 

 


 

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  Old Man's Bones
 
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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


 

 


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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
Elfin
Lemon
Pink Chintz
Wooly



thymepathway_pcojen

 

thymewooly_pcojen

Wooly Thyme