Groundcovers, the what and the why.

March 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm 1 comment

In the world of plants, the term “groundcover” might seem self explanatory to most gardeners, but let’s be honest, when you are starting out, just about any term can be daunting.

Let’s keep this simple, a groundcover plant is one that can grow in a dense pattern, and not too high off the ground, anywhere from one inch to one foot.

Groundcovers serve many purposes as there are some that grow in difficult terrain like “Periwinkle”; or ones that fill up a shady spot with ease such as “Polypody Fern”. Some groundcovers like “Virginia Creeper” double its category under vines as well, as they can just as easily fill up a fence line or wall.

While many groundcovers spread wide and low, have insignificant foliage, and usually last the full gardening season, it is good to know about the ones that own a shining moment in the flowering department.

Periwinkle can perform beautifully with the most common colour is the blue variety, but can be found in white as well. This flower shows up in early spring, and if the environment is right, it will bloom all season long.

Creeping Phlox is one of my favourite sun loving groundcovers, as it comes in a variety of colours, it comes out in early spring, and multiplies every year.

Sweet Woodruff is another early bloomer, and once this plant is well established, it offers up a beautiful spray of white tiny flowering buds in spring, and the beauty is, the foliage is so attractive, it looks great all season long.

You may be asking why one should use groundcovers, and that would be a great question. What is the purpose? While we have already discussed the aesthetic possibilities, groundcovers offer a great deal of practical elements.

Groundcovers protect the soil by shading it and keeping it cool.

The denser the groundcover, the less opportunity there is for weeds to take over in an area.

Many varieties like fern, sedum, and Wintercreeper are very hardy, and can handle harsher conditions like dry, low nutrient soils.

Groundcovers can be exceptional replacements for lawns, and many can handle a good deal of foot traffic.

Groundcovers are relatively low maintenance

A well established groundcover reduces the need for mulch in a garden

Groundcovers are cheap! Fast spreading varieties can fill up within a season, and you’ll be sharing them in no time.

Please visit our photo link for pictures and descriptions of groundcovers.

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