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14 Best Low-Maintenance Ground Covers

Earth-friendly landscaping doesn’t have to mean boringly green. Low-maintenance ground covers, including sedges, grasses, and wildflowers, can add colour and interest to your yard while being environmentally and budget-friendly. The best part is that these plants do most of the work themselves.

When it comes to eco-friendly landscaping, many people turn to native plants. Green thumbs love them since they don’t require any fertilizer or pesticides to thrive. However, there are also plenty of low-maintenance ground cover options that minimize your yard’s environmental impact and watering needs. When you’re looking for a low-carb alternative to your native plant bed, consider one of these ground cover options:

Siberian Cypress

Want to spruce up your patio or backyard? Siberian cypress may be one of the best groundcover plants to consider. Its evergreen leaves are an attractive, glossy green colour for year-round use. It grows well in the sun or shade and likes well-drained soil. It can handle occasional flooding and is very tolerant of salt spray and pollution. Best of all, it is low maintenance and needs very little water to thrive.

Alyssum

Alyssum is a low-growing groundcover that prefers partial to full sun, offers fall colour, and typically reaches a height of 12-24 inches. It grows in clumps, spreading quickly by rhizomes that form a creeping ground cover. Alyssum blooms from spring to summer with small, pretty flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators. It’s low maintenance, attracts butterflies, and is drought tolerant once established.

Irish Moss

Irish moss (Undaria pinnatifida) is a hardy, evergreen perennial that spreads by rhizomes. It grows to about 2 feet high and prefers to be planted in full sun to partial shade. Because of its water needs, it is an excellent ground cover for damp areas. It grows well in moist soil, but like most ground covers, it is especially happy when given a good soaking every so often. This encourages its quick growth and can handle dry soil as well. It requires little maintenance and won’t need replanting regularly. It’s fast-growing and hardy and makes a great addition to any garden.

Chamomile

If you’re looking to grow some ground cover that’s easy to care for and doesn’t require much effort, look no further than the chamomile plant. This easy-to-grow perennial is hardy and easy to care for, making it a great choice for container gardening, small gardens, and window boxes. Plus, adding chamomile to your garden is a great way to add colour to your landscape since it looks striking dried in bouquets or tea.

Mondo Grass

Mondo grass, also known as big bluestem, is a low-growing perennial grass with graceful, arching plumes. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and doesn’t mind a little shade. Mondo grass grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9 and grows best in full sun. It’s a good idea to keep the grass mowed to about 2 inches, but let some of the leaves grow long since this grass tends to have a “grassy” look when it’s cut too short. Mondo grass isn’t very picky about soil pH, but it tends to grow best in slightly acidic soil; adding lime to the soil can help. Mondo grass needs mulching with well-rotted manure or compost to promote a healthy growth habit.

Epimedium

Epimedium is a low-growing perennial plant that can be grown indoors or outdoors and looks beautiful in both areas. This plant is aesthetically pleasing because of its small yellow flowers, followed by flat, dark green stems. The leaves of this plant are heart-shaped and thin, with blooms ranging from yellow-green to deep purple.

Ajuga

Ajuga is a low-growing, spreading perennial, which means it spreads out from one plant but will not become invasive or wild. This perennial is because it comes back year after year but does not require deadheading. When left to its own devices, Ajuga will spread much faster than you want, so a judicious application of fertilizer and mulching is needed to keep the spread in check. Ajuga is a dense, rounded plant with an aromatic, sweet scent. It grows approximately 6 inches tall and spreads about 24 inches. This perennial does well in shaded areas, full sun, and partial sun. Ajuga has blue-grey foliage, which makes it a great backdrop for spring flowers. This ground cover blooms from spring through fall. It is perennial and will continue to come back year after year.

By nature, ground covers are low-growing, low-maintenance plants that grow near the soil’s surface. They provide the perfect type of ground cover—they don’t need to be pruned year-round, and they are typically easy to grow, even for beginners!

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