List of ground cover plants. Many ground cover plants are vines that have no support. You can plant them in the ground with well-composted soil. But in and around the southwest most will do better in shady conditions. Underneath a tree or morning, sun and afternoon shade works best.
Here is a list of ground cover plants that you can use in shade and or full sun.
Garden Ground Covers
Star Jasmine – Is a vine that spreads about 20-25 ft. wide about 8″ tall if left alone. It will have a hard time growing in full sun but does retain its foliage during the winter months. Blooming season is from mid-spring until about early summer. White star-shaped blooms and a fast-growing vine. Will grow about 2-3 ft. per year.
Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
A fast-growing vine and likes shade it will have a hard time growing in full sun. It produces a nice blue flower during most of the spring season. Sometimes called common periwinkle and or vinca vine. It will grow to about 3-4 inches tall and will spread 2ft. or more in one year. It is a perennial but goes dormant during in places where temperatures get below 32° Fahrenheit during the winter seasons. Space them out about 2-3 ft. apart for quick groundcover.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
This IVY grows very fast and tolerates southwestern sun than the two previous vines mentioned in this post. Plant 2-3 plants and space them 7-8 ft. apart for a fast-growing ground cover. It will eventually grow up to 60-80 ft. in length. It is considered an invasive plant species in places where there is lots of rainfall. This fast-growing vine will cover bare ground in 1-2 years’ time. Height 4-6 inches. Will do better in shady conditions.
Ice Plants for Ground Cover
Ice plant (Delosperma nubigenum ) will tolerate the full hot sun even in mid-summer. You can also use it in a large decorative container for a beautiful cascading effect. Extremely fast-growing groundcover. Will spread about 12 ft. wide and about 4-6 inches tall. The yellow variety (photo below) is the hardiest and will typically bloom longer than the other types of ice plants. Space them about 3-4 ft. apart for some quick groundcover during the summer seasons. There are numerous colors yellow, purple, and red flowers are the most common. Low maintenance and drought tolerant.
Yellow Ice plant
Purple Ice plant
Red Ice Plants
White Dutch Clover – (Trifolium repens)
White clover is a good groundcover for the southwest. It grows slowly and only gets about 1/2 inch in height. Great for high traffic areas. The foliage is green but it produces a small white flower that attracts bees. It can be mowed during the blooming seasons helping reduce the bee population. It tolerates poor soils and is a low maintenance ground cover.
Dichondra (Dichondra repens)
Loves good moist soil this makes it hard to grow in places where there is low rainfall. However, It will grow in the southwest if you water it like you would a Fescue lawn. Moderate growing plant and can tolerate full sun but does better in shaded areas. In regions where there is heavy rainfall, it is considered a nuisance weed.
Ajuga – (Ajuga reptans)
Another good spreading groundcover that will give deep blue flower spikes. Ajuga produces a good looking contrasting bronze-tinged green foliage. It will form a dense, carpet-like mat, even in shady areas. It will also do well in full sun…but will get sun scorch on foliage if not enough water is given during the summer months.
You can also tuck it in rock walls or gardens, between stepping stones, or between shrubs in borders. It is a herbaceous perennial meaning it will regrow from their own crowns during spring and summer seasons.
Creeping Thyme – (Thymus serpyllum) The most common name is “Mother of thyme” and is a low growing ground cover that can also be used as a herb. It is a low growing ground cover reaching a height of about 2 maybe 3 inches. It will spread quickly and can be used as an alternative to high maintenance lawn grasses.
It can also be easily transplanted remove with a small shovel with the roots and place it elsewhere. It will grow during the growing seasons – spring until late summer. All types of Thume like alkaline soil making it a good plant for the Southwest. It produces a small light pink flower sometimes white.
List of ground cover plants
Paul Guzman – Husband, Father, Grandfather, Gardener, and Webmaster of GuzmansGreenhouse.com