Just about anyone who gardens understands the frustrations that some terrains present. It may be a steep incline or a patch of rocks. It may also be a deep trench or a wide open space that would be difficult and expensive to maintain with regular flowers. Often times, these spots are covered with grass and are tedious to mow. Or, it may be an area that stays bald because soil drainage is poor or there is a lack of sunlight. The good news is that homeowners do not have to just leave these spots barren and unsightly. Garden Plants are great to enjoy.
Ground covering is the answer for difficult growing areas. There are a vast variety of plants, herbs, and shrubs that thrive as ground covering in some of the most wretched spots. It all depends on what area needs to be covered, as well as soil and sunlight conditions.
A perennial favorite that is often used for ground cover is English ivy vine. Classified as an evergreen, this hearty plant can fill in shady areas where it is almost impossible to grow other foliage. They quickly spread over the ground and can reach a height of nearly a foot. They are perfect for growing under trees where grass is sparse because of the shade. As climbers, they can cover a wall or climb trellises.
Another star of ground-covering plants is creeping phlox. Gardeners may choose from two different types. One type of creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera) is a shade lover, and is right at home under shade trees and any area that does not get much light. Their dainty flowers of white, blue, or pink will bloom in the spring in heavy clumps of foliage. For expansive areas that enjoy full sun and good drainage, the second type of creeping phlox (phlox subulata) thrives. This type grows in clumps that are similar to moss. They also have flowers in the spring and leave foliage throughout the summer.
Periwinkle (Vinca minor)is truly the gardener’s friend. This is especially true in areas that might not get a lot of rainfall. This hardy plant is a fast grower and provides lush foliage that tends to smother out weeds. It is a low-lying creeper that quickly absorbs moisture into the soil and retains it, which benefits surrounding plants. Its pleasant foliage is evergreen throughout the seasons, and blooms in blue, pink, or white in the spring and often again in the autumn.
These highlighted plants, among others, can really make a difference in a homeowner’s landscaping. Nature is random and is never perfect; therefore, there are always going to be problematic areas in anyone’s garden no matter the location. The key to good ground cover is knowing the conditions that are presented and which plants will thrive the best in that area. It is also important to know if the plant blooms and whether or not it is evergreen. Successful ground covering becomes the verdant canvas for annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees in the landscaping. When planted judiciously, they accentuate the beauty surrounding them.
Soil erosion is sometimes a necessary evil of landscaping. However using the appropriate ground covers for the situation, can stop or at least keep soil erosion to a minimum. There are, however, ground covers that can both climb rocky slopes to stop soil erosion as well as cover areas on the ground that cannot seem to even grow grass.
Vinca Minor is a fast spreading plant. It is one of the more popular slope covers used. It is a fuss free plant that loves to grow anywhere and will grow in poor soil, on rocks, in the shade or in full sun. It does not matter to this plant. It will even grow were grass will not. It makes for a pretty ground cover under shrubs and trees. The vinca minor has dark green leaves and blue flowers in the spring. It will grow to be about 4-5 inches. This plant needs no special care.
The English ivy is another favorite plant when it comes to slope covers. It will spread horizontally and reach a height of about 8 inches. It is an evergreen that does flower but because the flower is green, it is hardly noticed. The ivy is also helpful at weed control and also is good for planting in shady areas under trees and shrubs. The ivy is fast growing and very evasive. It does require trimming in order to keep it under control.
The partridgeberry plant is a slow growing plant that is not very aggressive. It only grows to about 2 inches high. It is a very showy plant with white flowers in the spring and red berries that last through the winter. Along with covering slopes, it is a good cover for bare shady spots. The partridge berry prefers moist drained soil, however it is very tolerant of the cold and it will keep its lovely color even in the extreme winter conditions.
How To Plant Bare Root Ground Covers
A ground cover plant is any plant that is grown to cover an area of the ground rather than grow upright (like a flower, shrub, or tree). Ground covers are used primarily to protect against drought and erosion, and to provide visual interest in otherwise bare areas. Grass is the most common and widespread ground cover, however, gardeners take advantage of several different species of perennial ground cover to add beauty and interest to their gardens.
Where to Plant Ground Cover Vines
Ground covers can be used to define garden areas, as traffic barriers, or where lawn grass does not grow well. They can be used around taller plants, large shrubs or trees where grass might otherwise be sparse or difficult to maintain. Ground covers can also be used as an addition to a perennial flower bed where species grow and die back at different times of the season.
How to Plant Ground Cover Vines
Many ground covers, especially perennials, are sold and shipped as bare roots. This means that they are dug up while dormant and shipped with just the roots rather than an active plant growing in soil. To learn how to plant bare root ground cover, follow these steps:
1. Prepare the soil. Loosen the soil in the entire area where roots will be planted and to a depth of about 12 inches. Add organic compost, manure or peat to the soil to improve available nutrients.
2. Dig a hole that is 1.5 times as deep at at least as wide as the root. Roots should be planted with the crown side up. Check with the specifications for your ground cover to determine how far from the surface to plant the roots. Some need to be slightly above ground while others should be 1-2 inches below.
3. Tamp the soil down slightly, making sure the roots are secure and remain straight. Water well, and keep the area watered until the plants begin to emerge. Keep the area watered consistently through the growing season.
4. Fertilize plants in early spring and early fall. Ground covers may take two to three full growing seasons before they provide a robust ground covering.
Botanical Latin Name: Helix Hedra
Common Name: English Ivy
Sun Exposure: medium to high
Mature Height:20 to 30 m high
Spread:will cover ground
Spacing:Ivy will overtake the ground or a tree.
Growth Rate: Is hearty and grows at high speed.
Flowering Time: summer to late Autumn
How Long It Flowers: summer into late Autumn
Flower Color: purple-black to orange-yellow berries 6–8 mm diameter
Soil Requirements: This Ivy can use most types of soil, or it is a climber, which means that the plant can attach to trees and other structures as it grows upwards.
Pruning encourages growth and is required much of the time because English Ivy grows extensively and will take over an area.
Flower Form: Describe Plant's appearance in detail - the leaves are shaped with three to five points and are waxy in texture. They range in length from 50–100 mm , with a 15–20mm petiole. They gather in groups of three to five and dark purple fruit fills the center.
English Ivy Plants
English ivy plants are often many people's choice as an accent plant. English ivy looks great climbing the side of buildings or as a filler for many different structures like those in gardens. It is a plant that has many different uses but also looks great in a simple pot. English ivy plants reach 12 feet high at the height of their maturity. The soil preference for English ivy is acidic. The color of this plant is blue. English ivy requires between 4 and 8 planting zones. If you are looking for a great plant that will add a lot of visual variety to the area, English ivy is a great choice.