Whether it’s around a patio, at the edge of your property, or in your front yard, ground cover plants such as the plantain lilies shown above, can save a lot of work. For one thing, they keep away pesky weeds. And with a little care, they can be quite beautiful. Come late September, it’s time to plant ground covers such as lady’s mantle, cotoneaster, periwinkle, and many others. Planted now, they can grow strong roots throughout the fall and winter and start blooming next spring. By the way, your best source for fresh ground covers is your local garden center or the nearest tree farm.
Not every ground cover is equally at home everywhere. A spot might be too dry because of a large tree nearby, or too hot because the sun is shining all day long. But don’t worry; there are suitable ground covers for these kinds of places as well, such as geraniums, meadowsweet, or bird’s eye. And they are just as easy to care for as other ground covers. Other plants that excel at covering ground quickly are cyclamen, blue bugle, or shrubby cinquefoil. Plant them far enough apart, and they can form a dense cover over the course of two or three years. To avoid the need for weeding in the meantime, you can simply cover the exposed soil between the plants with mulch or hedge clippings. That blocks the sunlight, effectively preventing weeds from growing.
Nothing grows in the shade? Wrong! In fact, that’s where the most interesting ground covers flourish. Whether it’s winter creeper, carpet box, or barrenwort – they all do great in shady areas and brighten them up with their beautiful foliage. Plantain lily, creeping navelwort, and barren strawberries are also perfect for this kind of place. And some plants, such as carpet box, even take care of fallen leaves. Just don’t forget that plants still need water, even if they’re in the shade. Especially during droughts, you should make use of the garden hose, or – better yet – a sprinkler. 30 minutes of sprinkling every three days should be enough to keep your ground cover in good shape and help it grow.
To make sure your ground covers grow quickly, you have to prepare the soil a little: Simply loosen it up with a digging fork. Sandy ground should be enriched with a generous amount of compost, whereas loam soil benefits from one or two shovels of sand and gravel loosen it up more. It is crucial to get rid of any weeds before planting, especially tough-rooted weeds such as bishop’s weed, quick grass, or bindweed. Before putting the ground covers into soil, make sure you thoroughly soak their root balls in water. Next, loosen the roots a little and, and the plants are ready for their new home. Plant them deep enough in the ground to just cover the top of the root ball. Firm down, water, and you’re done!