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7 Herbaceous perennial groundcovers (with pictures)

This article is all about herbaceous perennial groundcovers. It answers the most common questions customers ask about groundcovers and how to use them. Plus, we include a list of seven Herbaceous Perennial groundcovers along with a few bonus plants. Keep reading to learn more about these useful garden plants.

What is a herbaceous perennial?

Herbaceous perennials are plants that grow vegetation, bloom, seed, and grow back the following year. Though the vegetation dies in winter, the plant will regrow from its roots the following spring and summer.

Annuals are plants that grow vegetation, flower, seed, and die off. Because annuals only last one grow season, they are not recommended for use as a groundcover.

What is a groundcover?

A groundcover is a plant that is low-growing and covers the ground. It may not be able to be seen readily from above. Its purpose is to, as its name implies, cover the ground. Groundcovers also help to prevent soil erosion.

A herbaceous perennial groundcover will return yearly and maintain its low-growing habit.

Why plant a groundcover?

Herbaceous perennial groundcovers are both functional and attractive.

Adding a herbaceous perennial groundcover to your garden can fill in empty patches giving your garden a fuller look. Groundcovers add beauty and can help elevate the overall appearance of your outdoor space.

Functionally, they serve as a means to limit erosion and improve soil health. They also act as a living mulch by keeping your soil moist and limiting the presence of weeds.

Where can I plant groundcovers?

  • Under trees and shrubs to reduce mowing
  • In empty patches in the garden
  • As a lawn replacement
  • Herbaceous perennial groundcovers can serve as a mulch alternative
  • If you want to see them up close, plant them in containers and hanging baskets
  • There are herbaceous perennial groundcovers that grow best in shade, sun, or somewhere in between

7 Herbaceous Perennial Groundcovers

Here is a list of herbaceous perennial groundcovers. Some are flowering, others are foliage plants. This list has a groundcover for every garden. Here is a list of seven herbaceous perennial groundcovers:

Ajuga Reptans

Ajuga reptans has lovely spikes of purple flowers when in bloom. It does well at filling bare patches while eliminating weed growth. Because it prefers full sun, it does best as an edging groundcover or in spaces where it won't be shaded out by other plants. This pollinator friendly groundcover can also make a great plant for hanging baskets.

Zones: 3 to 9Sun exposure: Full sunMature height: up to 8 inchesWater: Average Best for front of borders, containers, and as a groundcover

Check out the Ajuga Reptans product page here

Vinca Minor

Vinca minor is a herbaceous perennial groundcover that has drifts of beautiful, purple flowers. It is a good spreader, so plant it in places you want to fill in quickly. It looks great in borders and can even be grown as a container plant. Additionally, vinca minor attracts pollinators and other beneficial insects.

 

Zones: 4 to 9Sun exposure: Full sunMature height: up to 8 inchesWater: AverageBest for front of borders, containers, and as a groundcover

Check out the Vinca Minor product page here

Fan Clubmoss

This woodland plant thrives in shade. Fan clubmoss is a herbaceous perennial groundcover that can be planted under trees or shrubs. It looks great in woodland gardens and creates and creates a green carpet of texture wherever its planted. Fan clubmoss pairs well with ferns and can be planted in alpine gardens.Zones: 4 to 9Sun exposure: part sun to part shadeMature height: up to 6 inchesWater: average Best for woodlands, shaded gardens, alpine gardens, under trees or shrubs, and in containers

Check out the Fan Clubmoss product page here

Partridgeberry

The partridgeberry is an evergreen herbaceous perennial groundcover. It has dark, waxy green leaves that add a deep lush appearance to gardens. Because of its trailing vines, the partridgeberry can make an attractive spilling container plant. It also makes excellent decoration for winter when cut.

Zones: 3 to 9Sun exposure: part sun to part shadeMature height: up to 4 inchesWater: average Best for woodlands, shaded gardens, under trees or shrubs, and in containers

Check out the Partridgeberry product page here

Wintercreeper

Wintergreen is a herbaceous perennial groundcover that has ovate leaves. It can tolerate a wide range of soils and looks great in woodland gardens. Because it's a good spreader, it can cover a large, bare area quickly. Wintercreeper is low maintenance and reduces weed growth; a benefit to any gardener!

Zones: 3 to 9Sun exposure: part sun to part shadeMature height: up to 6 inchesWater: averageBest for woodlands, under trees or shrubs, and in containers

Check out the Wintercreeper product page here

 

European Ginger

The European ginger is a herbaceous perennial groundcover with lush waxy foliage. Despite its name, the European ginger is not edible. It grows in clumps and keeps the soil moist and weed-free. It's low maintenance and will provide season-long interest in your outdoor space

 

Zones: 4 to 8Sun exposure: part shade to full shadeMature height: up to 8 inchesWater: medium to wetBest for woodlands, shaded gardens, under trees or shrubs, and in containers

Check out the European Ginger product page here

Wild Ginger

The wild ginger belongs to the same genus as the European ginger. Its lime green foliage grows in whorls across the ground. This plant does an exceptional job at carpeting bare pots in the garden. Aside from improving soil conditions, it gives a natural look to the garden-- what's not to love?

Zones: 4 to 8Sun exposure: Full shadeMature height: up to 6 inchesWater: average to wetBest for woodlands, shaded gardens, under trees or shrubs, and in containers

Check out the Wild Ginger product page here

Ground Cover Mixed Pack (25 Plants)

If you can't decide on which groundcover you want, or if you like many of them, this option may be for you. Why settle on just one plant?

In this pack, Tennessee Nursery will send you 25 herbaceous perennial groundcovers. This may include grasses, mosses, and other flowering perennials. Our horticultural specialist will cater the pack to match your USDA growing zone.

Check out the product page for the Ground Cover Mixed Pack (25 Plants) here

Bishop's Weed

While the bishop's weed is not technically a groundcover, it still has a lovely blanket habit like a groundcover. Its foliage grows to around 12 inches and when it blooms, the tall, thin flower stems poke up into the sky at 3 feet or less. It offers interest for most of the year, keeping the soil moist. Also, its striking variegated foliage is eye-catching and creates a sense of depth in the garden.

Zones: 4 to 9Sun exposure: Sun or shadeMature height: up to 3 feetWater: average to wetBest for woodlands edge, borders, and containers

 

We hope this list has given you some ideas for your garden. Many of these groundcovers can be divided in subsequent years, so few plants will go a long way in time. Having herbaceous perennials in the garden is cost and time effective. Not only does it reduce your time pulling weeds, but it adds fullness to beds and borders with little maintenance.

If you have any questions about herbaceous perennial groundcovers, or any other plants, please reach out to us! We love to talk about plants with anyone who is interested.

Ajuga Reptans - TN Nursery

Ajuga Reptans

Ajuga Reptans is an evergreen flowering perennial groundcover that offers greenery year-round. The plant has shoots of purple blooms in early Spring, making it versatile and perfect for maintaining beauty in small areas. They are known as bugle, common bugle, carpenter’s herb, bugle herb, bugleweed, carpetweed, and St. Lawrence plant; this is a hardy member of the mint family. Ajuga Reptans Kills Weeds  They are a perennial. While the origin of ajuga is unclear, reptans means creeping, indicating how easily this low-lying plant spreads. The result is an attractive, dense ground cover ideal for filling empty spaces, choking out weeds, and enticing pollinators. Aesthetics Of Ajuga Reptans They are popular, so there are numerous varieties. As a result, there is a range of possibilities for this plant. Generally, you can expect round green leaves that spring to life in a plush, evergreen carpet. The leaves typically reach a height of two inches to three inches.  In addition, the plant sends up striking spikes of flowers in mid to late spring. Traditionally blue, these flowering stems are filled with tiny blooms. They typically stand four to six inches in height but can rise higher. Many plants draw attention with the colors of their flowers. The bugle is an exception. Knowledgeable gardeners appreciate this plant for the extensive palette of hues that its foliage offers. In addition to the luxuriant carpet of gorgeous dark greens that the standard coloration offers, you can find varieties that provide leaves in lighter greens, deep reds, bronze purples, and chocolate browns. Nearly black and variegated versions also exist. What about flowers? Blue is the most common color of flowers, and you’ll find everything from pale blue to bright blue. However, you’ll also discover other colors, including whites, pinks, and purples. Using Ajuga Reptans Has Many Attributes Ajuga Reptans are flowering perennials with numerous uses. They’re luxuriant groundcovers that resist deer and rabbits and grow well under trees, along pathways, and among rocks. Their rich beauty, diverse textures, and ability to draw pollinators make them a winning addition to any space.

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Vinca Minor - TN Nursery

Vinca Minor

The Vinca Minor has lush and evergreen foliage and delicate blue or white flowers, making it a popular choice for various outdoor spaces. While its benefits extend beyond its use in herbalism, let's explore its landscaping advantages. Vinca Minor, also called creeping myrtle, lesser periwinkle, or just myrtle, is a perennial beauty that instills a fetching charm in gardens, landscapes, and even potted plants. Vinca Minor Has Deep Emerald Green Foliage The leaves are a deep shade of rich emerald green, and most have a glossy, polished, or shiny appearance. They are typically oval-shaped with smooth edges, a thick texture, and prominent veins. Some species are varied. The plants can be erect or trailing. Leaves occur in pairs along the height of the stem, making the plant look lush and thick. The plant is graced with trailing stems and adorned with clusters of small blooms in white or in a pale, pastel purple-blue color that many people associate with serenity. This plant is active year-round. Delicate little flowers appear early in spring and continue to bloom throughout spring and summer. Against a strikingly verdant backdrop provided by the rich green leaves, the clusters of blossoms are displayed to the best advantage. Creeping myrtles may look delicate. Nevertheless, they are hardy plants that tolerate harsh conditions gracefully. As perennial evergreen plants, they remain bright green throughout the winter. The Ground Cover Characteristics Of Vinca Minor This plant reaches only six inches when upright. However, the roots continue to grow underground every year, eventually becoming quite long. Although this plant has a medium growth rate, the roots can form a trailing mat, prostrate mat, or mounding mat. The stems like to get tangled up with each other, and as they do, they produce a thick mat of greenery that thrives all year. Vinca Minor Looks Great In Hanging Baskets Vinca Minor works well as trailers in large hanging baskets and tall pots. They provide superior coverage for hilly areas and can even be used in landscaping designs where you want subtle pops of color added to your existing ground-cover greenery. They have other uses as well. They have long been used in folk medicine to treat heart, nervous system, and GI tract conditions. The herb is thought to improve cognition and brain health.

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Fan Clubmoss - TN Nursery

Fan Clubmoss

Fan Clubmoss is a low-growing, evergreen plant with densely packed, needle-like leaves that form a distinctive, fan-like appearance and often cover forest floors. It is a unique and versatile plant with various landscaping benefits. Its unusual appearance and adaptability make it a popular choice for enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of outdoor spaces. Unlike its name may suggest, it is not a true moss but a primitive vascular plant belonging to the Lycopodiaceae family. Fan clubmoss called running cedar or ground pine, looks like a low-growth coniferous plant. However, it is a clubmoss, which is related to ferns. This non-flowering perennial plant was once commonly found across the eastern portion of North America. However, deforestation has dramatically reduced its presence in the wild. Because of its many notable attributes, this plant is an ideal choice to consider adding to your yard. Fan Clubmoss Looks Like Mini Pine Trees This fascinating plant typically grows up to 10 inches tall and a foot wide in ideal conditions. Its pine-looking branches are out, creating a stunning design up close. From farther away, the ground appears to be blanketed in green. Often, the plant has a dark green base that fades to a yellowish-green hue toward the tips of its leaves, creating a lovely effect. Some people trim the plants into a topiary design to add an ornamental touch to their yard. Weed Control With Fan Clubmoss This plant is commonly used for ground cover as it proliferates and stays close to the ground. Because the plants can grow densely together, they can block out sunlight from reaching any vegetation attempting to grow underneath it for optimized weed control. This is a highly adaptable plant that can be incorporated in numerous environments. Generally, it will dry out in drought conditions but return with moisture. At one time, when the plant thrived in its native habitat, this plant was harvested in the wild and used for winter holiday decorations. With the plant growing in your yard, you can easily snip off a few sprigs to dress up your space with a natural touch. The evergreen leaves can also be added to your home decor throughout the rest of the year, such as in a floral vase for a boost of greenery. Minimize Erosion With Fan Clubmoss Fan Clubmoss can absorb considerable water, which is beneficial during heavy rainstorms. It can hold ten times its weight in moisture, offering natural protection in areas prone to erosion.

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Partridgeberry Plant - TN Nursery

Partridge Berry

Partridge Berry is a low-growing, trailing evergreen plant with glossy leaves and small, white to pinkish tubular flowers, followed by bright red berries commonly found in woodland settings. It is a charming and low-growing ground cover that offers several benefits when incorporated into landscaping designs. If you're looking for a perennial that will add delicate beauty to your garden all year long, look no further than the Partridge berry plant. If you've ever walked through a forest in the eastern U.S., you have probably encountered this delicate woodland creeper. This flowering vine has beautiful red berries, bright green leaves, and star-shaped, white flowers. It blossoms in the late spring. As a creeper with long tendrils, it's notable because it doesn't use its tendrils to climb; instead, it creeps along the forest floor. It is native to many forests in eastern North America and has been seen as far north as Canada and south as Florida. Partridge Berry Has Dark Green Evergreen Leaves This evergreen features small, compact stems under its flowers. Its dark green leaves don't change color or fall on the ground like other plants, so there's no messy cleanup. If you want to attract bees, birds, and other friendly visitors to your garden, you can do it with this attractive, easy-to-grow vine. Partridge Berry Makes A Great Ground-Cover Despite its delicate appearance, this flowering vine is hardy enough to create groundcover that stays attractive in any season. Its glossy green leaves stand out in the fall against the falling brown leaves. Enjoy the beauty and fragrance of its bright white flowers in spring and summer. The bright red berries will remind you of holly and other winter delights. Partridge Berry Grows And Spreads Quickly Partridge Berry Is also versatile. Although it grows thick on the ground, you can use it in borders, walkways, paths, or anywhere you want an attractive, hardy cover. It's ideal in rock gardens or other hardscape settings. Once set up in the soil, it spreads out thickly, rooting itself deeply into the soil and creating a thick layer of leaves. In short, this common vine will bring uncommon beauty and enjoyment to any garden.

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European Ginger - TN Nursery

European Ginger

European Ginger is a low-growing ground cover plant that has glossy, heart-shaped leaves and produces small, inconspicuous brownish-purple flowers nestled among its dense, carpet-like foliage. It is a charming and versatile plant with several landscaping benefits. This evergreen perennial herb is native to Europe and is valued for its exotic appearance, low-maintenance nature, and various practical applications in garden design. The European Ginger creates a pleasant aesthetic while helping keep insects and other pests away. This plant grows low to the ground and is typically used to cover barren areas or protect gardens or other areas you want to keep free of bugs or animals. The European Ginger Makes A Great Border Plant When grown in favorable conditions, it can grow over a foot tall. Its green leaves have a leathery texture that can add diversity to your yard or garden. The plant can be a garden border to add natural charm to your property. The green leaves may retain their color depending on the climate in your area. European Ginger Spreads Slowly  While this plant tends to spread relatively slowly but grows steadily, given enough space, you can get it to grow even faster by separating the roots into separate areas of your yard or garden to get them to propagate quickly. As a general rule, as long as it is planted in the right spot, you won't have to worry about it growing properly after putting roots into the ground. European Ginger Will Not Get Diseases  One of the key benefits of this European Ginger is that it won't succumb to disease. Furthermore, aside from slugs or snails, it isn't eaten by other insects or animals, and in numerous instances, it can attract butterflies and other attractive creatures to your property. It is worth noting that harm can be done to the plant if you prune it in the late fall or winter, as the remaining leaves can be vulnerable to burn. Ideally, you will prune it during the summer or early fall to allow the plant to bounce back before colder weather sets in.

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Wild Ginger - TN Nursery

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger is a low-growing, herbaceous perennial plant with heart-shaped leaves and unique, reddish-brown, tubular flowers often hidden beneath the foliage, typically found in shaded woodlands. It is a beautiful, versatile groundcover perennial that can be a valuable addition to landscaping. Here are some of its attributes and benefits when used in landscaping. Wild ginger is a plant that many may need to be made aware of. An ideal addition to a lawn that needs some variety in terms of the types and sizes of plants, there are plenty of reasons to start growing this plant where you live. Let's take a look at what it has to offer and how it might benefit your space. Wild Ginger Acts As a Larger Groundcover This plant is the perfect groundcover for those who want something that's a bit larger and can blend in seamlessly with their much smaller and much larger plants. Its heart-shaped leaves can extend up to eight inches tall, helping it seamlessly blend in throughout areas where smaller flowers feel disjointed in contrast with their much taller counterparts. If you have an area where you're having trouble growing grass or want something different, this plant will do! Wild Ginger Attracts Unique Pollinators This plant's flowers do not bloom toward the top. Instead, the jug-like flowers grow near the bottom of the plant. As a result, this attracts pollinators like ants and flies that you wouldn't usually think of as benefitting your garden. If you have other forms of ground cover or smaller plants that may need extra support, this plant could be an excellent addition to attract the pollinators your other plants aren't bringing in. Groundcover is a great way to reduce the number of weeds in your garden or yard. Because ground cover takes up the bulk of the planted space, it's much harder for weeds to take root and begin spreading. Should some weeds manage to start growing, they're much easier to pluck out. This plant is perfect if you want to reduce weeds and have something intentionally growing in your space. Reduces Soil Erosion With Wild Ginger Wild Ginger root systems spread across the space and keep soil in place, reducing soil erosion and ensuring that your soil retains its beneficial qualities. It also protects the roots of nearby plants, which is essential if you're looking to create a robust, beautiful garden.

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15 Ground Cover Favorites - TN Nursery

15 Ground Cover Favorites

The Nursery proudly offers the chance to purchase a ground cover grab bag containing ten healthy plants. This option allows each customer to have a horticulture specialist determine which ground cover plants will perform best in their U.S.D.A. growing zone. PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE ARE A COLLECTION OF PLANTS, NOT SPECIFIC PLANT TYPES. WE CHOOSE TYPES THAT WORK BEST FOR YOUR ZONE ACCORDING TO YOUR ZIP CODE Our horticulturists assess your zone and then hand-select your order. You will receive a surprise that includes a variety of 10 beautiful plants. T.N. Nursery specializes in growing species that are easy to care for and suitable for gardeners of every skill level. All The Ground Cover Favorites for Your Garden Floor This collection features several fantastic plants that you can use to cover your garden. These low plants grow along the world and easily cover broad space patches. They're a popular alternative for grass, and they also look pretty attractive when worked into landscaping features. We offer diverse options ranging from understated covers that fade into the background to eye-catching covers with unusual colors and features. The one thing all of these plants have in common is that they do a great job of growing along the earth's floor and providing even coverage across your landscape. Exciting Ways & Places To Plant The Ground Cover Favorites These versatile plants work in many situations. Some landscapers like to use them instead of grass to create a unique and beautiful-looking lawn. Others use them as coverage in between taller plants in flower beds. You can also design landscapes with dense clusters of these plants as borders for trees, sidewalks, patios, and more. Try one of our options in any situation where you might enjoy a low plant with high coverage. Many different types of plants are available for property owners who need coverage for their earth floors. The best ones have a few attributes that help them stand out. Their dense coverage ensures your yard gets a lush coat of leaves and greenery instead of bare dirt peeking through. Good plants for coverage also tend to have a relatively short and regular appearance. They provide a low, even coating that coats the floor without distracting from the rest of your land. TN Nursery Has Some Fantastic Ground Cover Favorites When you want to find great plants to blanket your earth floor, check out our Ground Cover Favorites. We've looked far and wide to find the most popular options. These iconic plants are well-liked by both professional landscapers and amateur gardeners. When you choose from this bunch of plants, you can be confident you'll get an excellent option that blankets your floor with a lot of beautiful, natural greenery.

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