Ground Cover

Americans plant more turf grass than any other groundcover; however, grass does not do well everywhere. Other groundcovers can be used for areas where grass is not practical. This includes steep slopes, narrow or hard to reach locations, areas around shallow-rooted trees, and very shady spots.

Good site preparation is essential for giving your plants a good start. Work with a small area to start off, and expand it over time. Turn the soil using a tiller or a spade, and amend the soil with ample quantities of organic matter. Most groundcovers are highly adaptable and will grow well in a wide range of pH (see chart below).

Spring is the ideal time to plant, although you can plant in summer provided you supply adequate water. Plant early in the fall, giving the roots time to get established before winter sets in. Choose your plants according to the light and wind exposure. Proper spacing will insure good coverage and erosion control for steep areas. Watering is essential to get your newly planted area established. Pull weeds as soon as they pop up and before they go to seed. You can
fill in with colorful annuals the first year. Once established, the maintenance for groundcovers decreases.

Groundcover        Light                               Soil                                                     pH           Spacing
Blue fescue       part-shade to full sun     sandy, loam, or clay; well-drained    3.7- 7.3         18”
Ajuga                part-shade to full sun     sandy, loam, or clay                          3.7-6.5       12”-15”
English ivy         part shade to sun           sandy, loam, or clay                         3.7-7.0       18”-24”
Liriope               part shade to sun           sandy, loam, or clay                         3.7-7.0       12”-15”
Pachysandra     shade to part shade       sandy or loam; wet to moist            3.5-6.0       12”
Periwinkle          part shade                      sandy, loam, or clay; moist               3.7-7.0       12”
Hosta                 shade to part shade       sandy, loam, or clay; moist,              5.5-7.5      varies
Daylily                light shade to full sun      sandy, loam, or clay; prefers moist   5.5-7.5     18”-30”
Sedum (Stonecrop) full sun to light shade sandy or loam; well-drained             varies      varies
Euonymous         part shade to full sun    sandy, loam, or clay                          3.7-7.0     18”-24”
Phlox subulata   full sun                            sandy, loam, or clay; well-drained    5.6-7.5     18”-24”
(Creeping phlox)
Hypericum         full sun                             sandy, loam, or clay                           6.1-7.5    12”-18”
Iberis (Candytuft) full sun to part shade   sandy, loam, or clay                           6.6-8.5    18”-24”

*For faster coverage, space plants closer together. The above recommended spacing guide should give adequate coverage in two years.

Use the information below to determine the number of plants you will need.

Formulas to determine square feet

Circle: Area = radius squared x 3.14
Triangle: Area = ½ base x height
Rectangle: Area = length x width

The Great Big Greenhouse & Nursery, 2051 Huguenot Road, Richmond, VA 23235
Phone (804) 320-1317 Fax (804) 320-9580 website