Our Favorite 15 Low Maintenance Groundcover Plants for Your Yard


creeping phlox growing over rock

By Jennifer Poindexter 

If you have a barren location in your yard, you may be searching for ways to spice it up. Selecting a plant classified as a ground cover could be a great place to start.

Yet, it also could add one more thing to your to-do list. If your plate is overflowing (like mine tends to do from time-to-time), then you might be in the market for a ground cover plant which brings life to your yard but is low-maintenance.

If this is something you’re interested in, you’re in the right place. I’ve compiled a list of low maintenance ground cover plants which could be perfect for your yard.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The significance of ground cover plants in enhancing barren spots in your yard.
  • Benefits of selecting low-maintenance ground cover plants.
  • Specific details about 15 different low-maintenance ground cover plants, including their appearance, growth conditions, and hardiness zones.

Here are a few options to choose from:

Low Maintenance Ground Cover Plants for Your Yard

Finding the right plant for your yard can feel overwhelming because there’s quite a few options. Hopefully, this list helps narrow things down for you to help you find the right low maintenance ground cover plant for your yard:

1. Lamb’s Ear

Lamb’s ear is a unique ground cover which produces lightly colored, fuzzy foliage. The plants reach heights between ½ foot and one foot tall.

If you have  lower quality soil, lamb’s ear could be a great fit since it doesn’t require a nutrient-dense growing medium. This plant also does well in soil that’s on the dryer side. Expect lamb’s ear to remain hardy in planting zones four through eight.

2. Candytuft

Candytuft produces small clusters of blooms that are great for adding classic flowers to your growing space.

This plant only reaches heights between ½ foot and one foot tall. It also does best when provided with a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight.

Candytuft also needs soil that’s nutrient-dense and drains adequately. Expect candytuft to remain hardy in planting zones three through nine.

3. Coral Bells

Coral bells are known for producing vibrant foliage that make any location of landscape come to life. These plants also make life easier on most gardeners.

The reason being is they can thrive in areas of bright, full sunlight to areas of complete shade. As long as they receive soil that’s well-draining and nutritious they can thrive in most locations.

These plants also can withstand various temperatures which is why they remain hardy in planting zones four through nine. Coral bells range in height from six to twelve inches.

4. Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme creates small purple blooms with a base of green foliage. This plant only grows to be approximately three inches tall but can sprawl as wide as one foot.

Expect this plant to thrive in areas with ample sunlight and well-draining soil. Creeping thyme also does well in areas with some shade and can thrive in areas with lower-quality soil as well.

If you feel creeping thyme is the right plant for your situation, ensure you know whether it’ll grow as an annual or perennial in your location. You may grow this plant as a perennial in planting zones four through nine.  

5. Creeping Jenny

Creeping jenny is a lush green plant that’s noticed for its rounded foliage and trailing characteristics. This plant makes an excellent ground cover or may be grown in a container as well.

When growing creeping jenny, be sure to provide a location with full to partial sunlight and soil that’s both nutrient-dense and well-draining.

Expect creeping jenny to reach a maximum height of four inches and to remain hardy in planting zones three through eleven.

6. Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox is a beautiful groundcover that looks like a carpet of shaded blooms. If you’d like to add a pop of color to your home, consider growing this plant.

Creeping phlox needs a growing location with rich, well-draining soil. It also thrives in areas with plenty of direct sunlight.

Expect creeping phlox to remain hardy in planting zones three through nine and to reach an average height of around eight inches.

7. Stonecrop

Stonecrop is a unique option for ground cover as it provides color, beauty, and a little height in comparison to some of the other options mentioned here.

It’s hard to overlook this plant due to the small clusters of blooms creating larger heads on longer stems. Stonecrop needs a growing location with full to partial sunlight and soil that’s both well-draining and aerated.

In turn, stonecrop should reach heights ranging from one to two feet. It also should remain hardy in planting zones three through eight.

hosta shade groundcover

8. Hosta

Hostas are some of my favorite plants. You can plant them almost anywhere and make the area look much more finished while also adding subtle beauty and color.

When growing hostas, supply a growing area with well-draining soil that’s dense in nutrients and ensure the lighting is anywhere from full to partial shade.

Hostas should remain hardy in planting zones three through nine and reach heights around one to two feet tall.

9. Creeping Juniper

Creeping juniper consists of evergreen needles that’s technically classified as a shrub. This plant only reaches heights around a foot tall but sprawls as wide as ten feet.

This plant is durable as it tolerates both full sunlight and warmer temperatures. It can even handle sea salt, so it does well when grown near the beach.

Be sure to provide creeping juniper with soil that drains adequately and expect it to remain hardy in planting zones three through nine.

10. Lilyturf

Lilyturf consists of wispy grass with stems that produce vertical, colorful blooms. This plant thrives in almost any lighting.

The more sunlight lilyturf gets, the easier it spreads as a ground cover. However, it does need soil that’s loamy and well-draining.

Expect lilyturf to become as tall as two feet and to remain hardy in planting zones six through ten.

11. Sweet Woodruff 

Sweet woodruff produces low-growing foliage with short stems and simple, white blooms. Expect this plant to thrive in areas of full to partial shade. Too much sunlight can scorch this plant.

It also prefers soil that’s both well-draining and evenly damp. This is a shorter plant that reaches an approximate height of six inches.

When growing sweet woodruff, expect it to serve as a perennial in planting zones four through nine.

12. English Ivy

English ivy is a classic vining plant that does well when growing on the ground, up buildings, or in containers.

When growing English ivy, be sure to provide a space with soil that’s both well-draining and loamy. It also does well in lighting which ranges from shade to partial sunlight.

English ivy reaches heights around a ½ foot tall and remains hardy in planting zones five through eight.

13. Hardy Ice Plant

The hardy ice plant is another personal favorite of mine. I love its low-growing foliage and colorful daisy-like blooms which provide a carpet of color in its growing location.

If you’re interested in growing the hardy ice plant, be sure to provide a location with full sunlight and well-draining soil.

Expect this plant to remain hardy in planting zones five through nine and reach heights around six inches tall.

14. Bugleweed

Bugleweed is a low-growing plant that produces a base of green foliage, small stems, and colorful blooms which stack up the stems. 

If you’re interested in growing this groundcover, be sure to supply a growing location with full sunlight to partial shade. 

This plant also needs soil that’s well-draining. Expect bugleweed to grow as tall as eight inches and to remain hardy in planting zones three through nine.

15. Pachysandra

Our last groundcover to discuss is pachysandra. This is a low-growing shrub that serves as a groundcover and produces vibrant green foliage.

This plant does well in a growing area with well-draining soil and full to partial shade. It also reaches heights around one foot.

Pachysandra serves as a perennial in planting zones four through nine. If you’re in the market for a classic groundcover, pachysandra could be what you’ve been searching for.

At this point, you have quite a few suggestions for ground cover plants that are also low-maintenance. You can plant one thing in a barren location, or you can select various plants from this list and create a garden oasis.

How you choose to create a unique space around your home is up to you. Yet, it’s our hope that this list can help you create a beautiful landscape that’s also low-maintenance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ground cover plants can be a valuable asset in landscaping, especially for barren or empty spaces.
  • There’s a diverse range of low-maintenance ground cover plants suitable for different conditions and aesthetics.
  • Diversifying ground cover plants can help you design a unique and captivating garden space that requires minimal upkeep.

Quick Reference Growing Chart for Low Maintenance Groundcover Plants

Plant Name Description Preferred Conditions Hardiness Zones
Lamb’s Ear Lightly colored, fuzzy foliage Dryer soil, lower quality soil 4-8
Candytuft Small clusters of blooms Nutrient-dense, well-draining soil; min. 6 hours of direct sunlight 3-9
Coral Bells Vibrant foliage Well-draining, nutritious soil; full sunlight to complete shade 4-9
Creeping Thyme Small purple blooms with green foliage Ample sunlight, well-draining soil; some shade 4-9
Creeping Jenny Rounded foliage and trailing characteristics Full to partial sunlight, nutrient-dense, well-draining soil 3-11
Creeping Phlox Carpet of shaded blooms Rich, well-draining soil; plenty of direct sunlight 3-9
Stonecrop Small clusters of blooms on longer stems Full to partial sunlight, well-draining, aerated soil 3-8
Hosta Subtle beauty and color Well-draining, nutrient-dense soil; full to partial shade 3-9
Creeping Juniper Evergreen needles Full sunlight, warmer temperatures, soil that drains adequately 3-9
Lilyturf Wispy grass with stems that produce vertical, colorful blooms Almost any lighting, well-draining, loamy soil 6-10
Sweet Woodruff Low-growing foliage with short stems and simple, white blooms Full to partial shade, well-draining and evenly damp soil 4-9
English Ivy Classic vining plant Well-draining, loamy soil; shade to partial sunlight 5-8
Hardy Ice Plant Low-growing foliage and colorful daisy-like blooms Full sunlight, well-draining soil 5-9
Bugleweed Base of green foliage, small stems, and colorful blooms Full sunlight to partial shade, well-draining soil 3-9
Pachysandra Low-growing shrub, vibrant green foliage Well-draining soil, full to partial shade 4-9

Learn More About Ground Cover Plants

https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/groundcovers/

https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/good-growing/2022-05-06-designing-ground-ground-covers-your-landscape

https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-news/ground-covers-gardens

The post Our Favorite 15 Low Maintenance Groundcover Plants for Your Yard appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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