Creating a beautiful garden starts with choosing the right plants. While many focus on the plants above the ground, ground cover plants do a lot to make your garden look lush and complete.
What are ground cover plants?
"Ground cover" is the name given to plants that prefer to grow along the ground rather than vertically towards the sun. They are generally plants that are less than 30cm tall.
Ground cover plants are used to fill in gaps and add softness to a garden bed. While most assume ground cover plants steal resources from other plants, they actually offer protection from the sun and help to regulate the soil conditions.
What ground cover plants should I choose for my garden?
Not all ground cover plants like the same conditions, so it's important to choose plants that suit the environment in your garden. Check the plant label to see the plant's ideal growing conditions or ask one of our friendly staff for advice.
Best shade loving ground cover plants
1. Mondo Grass
One of the most popular types of ground cover for shady areas, Mondo Grass is evergreen and easy to grow as long as it has enough water. It's easily cultivated so while you may start with a few, if you separate the clumps as it grows, it can turn into dense ground cover.
Growing well in the shade is not a problem for Bugleweed, and it can actually smother other plants if not trimmed. It has green, purple, and bronze leaves and flowers that appear in spring and summer. If you need ground cover to grow across a large area, this is the plant for you.
3. Australian Violet
This fast-growing ground cover is an attractive choice for gardens as it features delicate white and purple flowers. If grown in a shady and moist area, it will appear lush and can act as lawn replacement in low foot traffic areas.
Best ground cover plants for sun
4. Grevillea ‘Bronze Rambler’
For those who want to keep a native Australian garden, Grevillea Bronze Rambler is the perfect addition. It is fast growing and dense, suppressing weeds in the process so it's great for those trying to keep a low maintenance garden. It also makes a great habitat for lizards, frogs, and birds.
5. Pig Face
For coastal gardens, you can't go past the vibrant Pig Face. They love salty and harsh conditions so they do well in rockeries, near pools and in hanging baskets. They can even be used to stabilise steep slopes. Their flowers come in a variety of shades but interestingly close during overcast or wet days.
6. Yellow Buttons
If you want to add colour to your garden, you can't go past Yellow Buttons. This native ground cover suits all kinds of climates and gardens, but really flourishes in the sun. Much like Pig Face, it's great for rockeries, hanging pots and garden edges.
Best creeping ground cover plants
Dichondra, or Kidneyweed, is a plant native to New Zealand and some parts of Australia. It grows into a lush carpet that can tolerate light foot traffic making it perfect for planting around stone steppers. If you need ground cover for a retaining wall, choose Dichondra Silver Falls which has long, cascading tendrils that will eventually grow over and gracefully hang over the edge.
8. Star Jasmine
This fragrant plant is well known for climbing up trellis and fencing, but it can also be grown as ground cover. It does just as well in the shade as it does in the sun making it a very versatile choice for gardens. They are very low maintenance only requiring a light prune after flowering in late Spring, early Summer.
9. Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’
Another type of Grevillea that is ideal for ground cover, Poorinda Royal Mantle grows extremely quickly and a single plant can cover up to 6 metres! Its red, spidery flowers provide food for native honeyeaters and bees. Plant in full sun with well-drained soiled and watch it grow!
Caring for your ground cover plants
Now you've decided to add ground cover plants to your garden? Don't forget these important maintenance tips.
- Space your ground cover out because while it may be tempting to get a 'lived-in' look from the start, eventually your garden will look overcrowded and messy.
- Ensure you do adequate soil prep to give your plants the best chance to survive and thrive.
- Use mulch to prevent weeds in the early stages of planting. Once your ground cover is established, it will be able to suppress weeds on its own.
- Keep on top of pruning as many ground cover plants grow quickly and invasively.