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21 Best Ground Cover Plants That Require Little Maintenance

When it comes to landscaping, ground cover plants are a gardener’s best friend. They’re not only aesthetically pleasing but also help in controlling soil erosion, reducing weed growth, and providing a lush, low-maintenance blanket over the ground.

If you’re in search of ground cover plants that are both beautiful and easy to care for, you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s a list of 21 ground cover plants that will transform your garden into a vibrant tapestry of colors and textures, without demanding too much of your time or effort.

1. Bloody Cranesbill

This hardy perennial is known for its striking magenta flowers and attractive foliage that turns red in the fall. It thrives in full sun to partial shade and requires well-drained soil.

Size: Up to 18 inches tall and wide.
Zones: 4-8.
Growing Conditions: Prefers well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Part to full sun.

2. Japanese Forest Grass

A graceful, shade-loving grass, its bright yellow leaves with green stripes brighten up dark corners in the garden. It prefers moist, well-drained soil.

Size: 18 to 24 inches tall and wide.
Zones: 5-9.
Growing Conditions: Prefers moist, well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade.

3. Heuchera

Also known as Coral Bells, Heuchera comes in a variety of colors from peach to deep burgundy. It’s a shade-tolerant plant that adds a pop of color to your garden.

Size: 6 to 18 inches tall and wide.
Zones: 4-9.
Growing Conditions: Thrives in well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Part shade to full sun.

4. Sedge

Sedge is a versatile plant that can grow in a range of conditions from dry to wet and in full sun to full shade. It’s an excellent choice for almost any garden spot.

Size: 6 to 24 inches tall, depending on species.
Zones: Varies by species, generally 4-9.
Growing Conditions: Adaptable to dry to wet soil.
Sun Exposure: Full sun to full shade.

5. Japanese Painted Fern

This fern features striking silver and green fronds with hints of purple. It’s a shade-loving plant that adds texture and color to the garden.

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall and wide.
Zones: 4-8.
Growing Conditions: Prefers moist, well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Part to full shade.

6. Pachysandra

Pachysandra is a go-to for a lush, green carpet in shaded areas. It’s drought-tolerant once established and prefers well-drained soil.

Size: 6 to 10 inches tall.
Zones: 4-8.
Growing Conditions: Thrives in well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Part to full shade.

7. Lady’s Mantle

With its scalloped leaves and chartreuse flowers, Lady’s Mantle is a charming addition to any garden. It thrives in partial shade and well-drained soil.

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall and wide.
Zones: 3-8.
Growing Conditions: Prefers well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Part sun to shade.

8. Lilyturf

Lilyturf produces grass-like foliage and small purple flowers, making it a great border plant. It’s tolerant of a variety of soil conditions.

Size: 9 to 18 inches tall and wide.
Zones: 4-10.
Growing Conditions: Tolerant of various soil conditions.
Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade.

9. Hens and Chicks

This succulent plant is perfect for rock gardens or dry, sunny spots. It’s extremely drought-tolerant and easy to care for.

Size: 2 to 4 inches tall, spreading up to 24 inches.
Zones: 3-8.
Growing Conditions: Prefers well-drained, sandy soil.
Sun Exposure: Full sun.

10. Ice Plant

The Ice Plant is admired for its dazzling daisy-like flowers and succulent leaves. It’s a great choice for sunny, dry areas.

Size: 3 to 6 inches tall, spreading up to 2 feet.
Zones: 5-9.
Growing Conditions: Requires well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Full sun.

11. Creeping Jenny

Known for its vibrant green or golden foliage, Creeping Jenny is a fast spreader that works well as a filler or spiller in containers and garden beds.

Size: 2 to 4 inches tall, spreading up to 24 inches.
Zones: 3-9.
Growing Conditions: Prefers moist, well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade.

12. Lily of the Valley

This classic ground cover is loved for its sweetly scented, bell-shaped white flowers. It prefers shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall.
Zones: 2-9.
Growing Conditions: Prefers moist, well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade.

13. Creeping Thyme

Creeping Thyme is not only aromatic but also produces a carpet of pink or purple flowers in the summer. It’s drought-tolerant and loves full sun.

Size: 2 to 3 inches tall, spreading up to 24 inches.
Zones: 4-9.
Growing Conditions: Thrives in well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Full sun.

14. Creeping Juniper

A tough, evergreen plant that can cover large areas with its dense foliage. It’s drought-tolerant and thrives in full sun.

Size: 6 to 18 inches tall, spreading up to 10 feet.
Zones: 3-9.
Growing Conditions: Prefers well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Full sun.

15. Dead Nettle

Dead Nettle is valued for its foliage and clusters of pink, purple, or white flowers. It’s shade-tolerant and great for adding color to dark areas.

Size: 8 to 12 inches tall and wide.
Zones: 3-8.
Growing Conditions: Prefers well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade.

16. Ajuga

Ajuga, or Bugleweed, features glossy leaves and spikes of blue flowers. It’s a fast grower that works well in both sun and shade.

Size: 6 to 9 inches tall, spreading up to 24 inches.
Zones: 3-9.
Growing Conditions: Adaptable to most soil types.
Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade.

17. Aronia

Aronia, or chokeberry, is a low-maintenance shrub that offers beautiful foliage, flowers, and berries. It’s tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions.

Size: 3 to 6 feet tall and wide.
Zones: 3-8.
Growing Conditions: Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions.
Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade.

18. Sedum

Sedum, or Stonecrop, is a succulent that comes in various colors and shapes. It’s drought-tolerant and perfect for sunny spots.

Size: 3 inches to 2 feet tall, depending on species.
Zones: 3-9.
Growing Conditions: Prefers well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Full sun.

19. Lavender

Lavender is not only beautiful and fragrant but also drought-tolerant and perfect for hot, sunny locations.

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and wide.
Zones: 5-9.
Growing Conditions: Requires well-drained, sandy soil.
Sun Exposure: Full sun.

20. Epimedium

Also known as Fairy Wings, Epimedium is a shade-loving plant with delicate flowers and attractive foliage.

Size: 8 to 12 inches tall and wide.
Zones: 5-9.
Growing Conditions: Prefers moist, well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Part to full shade.

21. Thrift

Thrift, or Sea Pink, boasts grassy foliage and round clusters of pink or white flowers. It’s ideal for sunny, well-drained spots.

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall and wide.
Zones: 4-8.
Growing Conditions: Prefers well-drained soil.
Sun Exposure: Full sun.

Incorporating these ground cover plants into your garden can create a vibrant and low-maintenance landscape that’s full of life and color. Whether you have shady areas that need brightening up or sunny spots that are difficult to water, there’s a ground cover plant on this list that’s perfect for your needs. Happy gardening!

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