Evergreen Ground Cover Plants for Shade and Sun


An image showcasing a lush garden bordered by vibrant evergreen ground cover plants

Evergreen ground cover plants are a popular choice for adding beauty and functionality to landscapes, rock gardens, and borders. With their ability to thrive in both shade and sun, these plants offer a versatile solution for filling bare spots and controlling erosion.

From the colorful flowers of Creeping Myrtle to the fragrant leaves of Angelina Stonecrop, there are numerous options to choose from. While some of these plants require control measures due to their invasive nature, others are deer-resistant and can inhibit weed growth.

In this article, we will explore a variety of evergreen ground cover plants suitable for different hardiness zones, providing valuable insight and expert advice for creating stunning and practical outdoor spaces.

Creeping Myrtle / Periwinkle / Vinca Minor

Creeping Myrtle, also known as Periwinkle or Vinca Minor, is a suitable evergreen ground cover for landscapes where it’s not invasive. It provides a deer-resistant option for dry shade.

This low-growing plant forms a dense mat of glossy green leaves that serve as an attractive backdrop for other plants in the garden. Creeping Myrtle is commonly used in landscaping to cover bare patches of soil, control erosion on slopes, and fill in gaps between larger plants.

It requires minimal care and maintenance, making it a popular choice for busy gardeners. To keep Creeping Myrtle looking its best, it is recommended to provide regular water during dry periods and to trim back any overgrowth to maintain its shape.

With proper care, Creeping Myrtle can thrive and add beauty to any shaded area in the landscape.

Japanese Spurge / Japanese Pachysandra

Japanese Spurge, also known as Japanese Pachysandra, forms dense mats that effectively inhibit weed growth. This evergreen ground cover is a popular choice for shaded areas and is resistant to pests, deer, and rabbits.

Here are some key differences between Japanese Spurge and Japanese Pachysandra:

  1. Appearance: Japanese Spurge has glossy, dark green leaves with serrated edges, while Japanese Pachysandra has larger, rounder leaves that are lighter in color.

  2. Growth habit: Japanese Spurge spreads more aggressively and can become invasive if not properly controlled, while Japanese Pachysandra spreads at a slower rate.

  3. Cultivation practices: Both plants prefer well-drained soil and can tolerate clay soil. They are drought-tolerant once established but benefit from regular watering during dry periods. It is important to monitor and control the spread of Japanese Spurge to prevent it from overtaking other plants in the garden.

Creeping Phlox

Native to North America, Creeping Phlox is a colorful ground cover that forms a thick mat of flowers and is suitable for full sun. This versatile plant offers numerous benefits when used as a ground cover in sunny areas. One of the main advantages of creeping phlox is its ability to control erosion on hillsides due to its spreading habit and dense growth. Additionally, the vibrant flowers of creeping phlox add a burst of color to the landscape, attracting pollinators such as butterflies and bees.

When it comes to growing creeping phlox in different soil types, there are a few tips to keep in mind. While this plant can tolerate dry soil, it prefers evenly moist soil for optimal growth. In sandy or well-draining soil, it is important to provide regular irrigation to prevent the soil from drying out completely. On the other hand, in heavy clay soil, it is crucial to improve drainage by adding organic matter such as compost or peat moss. By following these tips, gardeners can successfully grow creeping phlox and enjoy its beauty as a ground cover in various soil conditions.

Soil Type Tips for Growing Creeping Phlox
Sandy Soil Provide regular irrigation to prevent drying out
Clay Soil Improve drainage by adding organic matter

Overall, creeping phlox is an excellent choice for sunny areas as a ground cover, offering not only its stunning flowers but also its ability to control erosion and attract pollinators. With a little care and attention to soil conditions, gardeners can enjoy the benefits of this beautiful plant in their landscapes.

Black Mondo Grass

Black Mondo Grass, with its attractive dark grass-like blades, is a slow-growing perennial native to Japan. It thrives in semi-shaded areas and is suitable for front of borders or rock gardens.

Here are some tips for cultivating black mondo grass in containers:

  • Choose a well-draining container with a depth of at least 6 inches.
  • Use a good quality potting mix that retains moisture but also allows for proper drainage.
  • Water the plant regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.

When designing a shade garden with black mondo grass as a focal point, consider the following:

  • Plant black mondo grass in clusters or drifts to create visual impact.
  • Combine it with other shade-loving plants like hostas, ferns, and astilbes for a lush and diverse garden.
  • Use contrasting foliage colors and textures to create depth and interest in the garden.

Creeping Thyme

Creeping Thyme, a fragrant variety of thyme, releases a pleasant scent when stepped on and is a great choice for areas with light to moderate foot traffic. This evergreen ground cover is drought-tolerant and thrives in full sun, making it ideal for sunny areas in the garden.

One of the notable benefits of using creeping thyme as a ground cover is its ability to form a thick mat that inhibits weed growth, reducing the need for constant maintenance. To plant creeping thyme, ensure that the soil is well-drained and prepare the area by removing any weeds or grass. Space the plants about 6 to 12 inches apart to allow them room to spread.

Once planted, provide regular water until the plants are established. Maintenance is minimal for creeping thyme, requiring only occasional pruning to maintain its shape and remove any dead or damaged foliage. With its fragrant scent and low-maintenance nature, creeping thyme is an excellent choice for sunny areas as a ground cover.

Spotted Dead Nettle

After exploring the benefits of Creeping Thyme as an evergreen ground cover, let’s now turn our attention to another popular option: Spotted Dead Nettle.

Spotted Dead Nettle, or Lamium maculatum, is a versatile plant that thrives in shaded or partially shaded dry areas. Its silvery leaves, edged in green, add an elegant touch to any landscape.

Here are some key points about the uses of Spotted Dead Nettle in landscaping and the best practices for growing it in containers:

  1. Uses of Spotted Dead Nettle in Landscaping:

    • Ground cover: Spotted Dead Nettle forms a dense mat, making it an excellent choice for covering large areas.
    • Edging: Its attractive foliage and low-growing habit make it perfect for creating borders and edging pathways.
    • Container planting: Spotted Dead Nettle adds texture and color to container gardens, making it a popular choice for mixed planters.
  2. Best Practices for Growing Spotted Dead Nettle in Containers:

    • Choose a well-drained, loamy soil mix specifically formulated for container gardening.
    • Select a container that provides adequate drainage and is deep enough to accommodate the plant’s root system.
    • Place the container in a shaded or partially shaded area, as direct sunlight can scorch the leaves.
    • Water regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.
    • Fertilize with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy growth.

Angelina Stonecrop

Angelina Stonecrop, a trailing variety of the Sedum genus, is a popular choice for evergreen ground covers. Its vibrant foliage color ranges from chartreuse to golden, depending on sun exposure. This low-growing succulent adds a striking pop of color to rock gardens and other landscaping projects.

One of the benefits of Angelina Stonecrop is its drought resistance once established, making it an excellent choice for dry or rocky areas. It also produces tiny yellow flowers in the summer and displays beautiful orange or rust-colored foliage in the fall.

Propagating Angelina Stonecrop is relatively easy. It can be propagated through stem cuttings or by dividing the plant. Simply cut a stem and place it in well-draining soil, and it will quickly take root and grow into a new plant.

Lenten Rose (Helleborus X Hybridus

After exploring the beauty and versatility of the Angelina Stonecrop, let’s delve into the enchanting world of the Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus). This hardy perennial is a favorite among gardeners for its ability to thrive in shade gardens. Here are some benefits of growing Lenten Rose in a shade garden:

  1. Vibrant blooms: The Lenten Rose produces stunning, cup-shaped flowers in a range of colors, including white, pink, purple, and green. These blooms add a pop of color to shady areas, brightening up the garden.

  2. Early bloomer: One of the main advantages of the Lenten Rose is its early flowering period. It often starts blooming in late winter or early spring, providing a much-needed burst of color when other plants are still dormant.

  3. Low maintenance: Lenten Roses are known for their toughness and adaptability. Once established, they require minimal care and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. They are also deer-resistant, making them a great choice for gardens prone to wildlife damage.

In addition to their presence in shade gardens, Lenten Roses can also be used creatively in floral arrangements. Here are some ideas:

  1. Cut flowers: Harvest a few Lenten Rose blooms and place them in a vase to create a striking centerpiece. Their unique colors and delicate petals will add a touch of elegance to any arrangement.

  2. Dried flowers: If you prefer a longer-lasting display, consider drying the Lenten Rose blooms. Hang them upside down in a cool, dry place, and they will retain their beauty for months to come.

  3. Mixed arrangements: Lenten Roses can be combined with other spring blooms, such as tulips or daffodils, to create a stunning bouquet. Their contrasting colors and textures will add depth and interest to the arrangement.

Whether in the shade garden or as a focal point in a floral arrangement, the Lenten Rose is a versatile and captivating plant that deserves a place in every gardener’s repertoire.

Wall Germander (Teucrium Chamaedrys)

Wall Germander, a low-growing, clump-forming subshrub, is a versatile plant that can thrive in a variety of soil conditions. It is a popular choice for rock gardens due to its ability to withstand rocky and dry environments. The benefits of using wall germander in rock gardens are numerous.

Not only does it add a pop of color with its vibrant purple flowers, but it also attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Additionally, wall germander is drought-tolerant, making it an ideal choice for water-wise gardens.

For those who don’t have a rock garden, wall germander can also be grown in containers. Here are some tips for growing wall germander in containers:

  1. Choose a well-draining potting mix to ensure that the roots don’t become waterlogged.
  2. Place the container in a sunny location, as wall germander thrives in full sun.
  3. Water the plant regularly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
  4. Fertilize the plant with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer during the growing season.
  5. Prune the plant regularly to maintain its compact shape and encourage new growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Creeping Myrtle / Periwinkle / Vinca Minor Be Grown in Full Sun?

Creeping myrtle, or periwinkle, also known as Vinca minor, can indeed be grown in full sun. It is a versatile ground cover plant that thrives in various growing conditions and can provide numerous benefits in landscaping projects.

Is Japanese Spurge / Japanese Pachysandra Suitable for Rocky Soil?

Japanese spurge, also known as Japanese pachysandra, is a suitable ground cover for rocky soil. It can thrive in dry conditions and is one of the best options for rocky areas.

How Fast Does Creeping Phlox Spread?

Creeping phlox spreads at a moderate rate, forming a thick mat of colorful flowers. To maintain a healthy and spreading bed, ensure the soil is well-drained and provide regular watering, especially during hot and dry periods. Regular pruning after flowering can help promote new growth and prevent overcrowding.

Can Black Mondo Grass Tolerate Wet Soil?

Black mondo grass is not suitable for wet soil, as it prefers well-drained conditions. For sandy soil, alternatives to consider include creeping phlox, creeping thyme, and Japanese spurge, all of which are suitable for sunny areas.

Does Creeping Thyme Attract Bees and Butterflies?

Creeping thyme is attractive to bees and butterflies, making it a great choice for a bee and butterfly friendly garden. Its fragrant leaves release a pleasant scent when stepped on, and it’s suitable for areas with light to moderate foot traffic.

Leave a Comment