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Best Ground Cover Plants: Ground Cover Ideas for Your Landscape

The best ground cover plants for your garden and landscape.

What are the best ground cover plants?

The best ones will:-

  • Control weeds
  • Don’t let the sun dry up the soil
  • Will grow where grass won’t, example under dense trees
  • Prevents the wind and water from eroding
  • Adds interest and texture to the landscape
  • Are low maintenance
  • Fills gaps in the garden

You can also plant them on a steep slope to help the soil stay put.

You can use the best ground cover plants as border plants along the front of your garden, under large shrubs and trees, along steep slopes or banks, and also to replace your grass.

I have listed some below that should fill in big and small areas nicely.



Ground Cover Ideas

Ground cover ideas for your landscape.

Some of these ground cover plant ideas are considered rabbit and deer resistant ground cover but if the animals are hungry enough they may just munch on them a little.



Evergreen Ground Cover

Bugleweed (Ajuga) – full sun to part shade, deer resistant, 3-6” tall and 1-2’ wide, evergreen

Creeping Raspberry (Rubus calycinoides) - full sun to part shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 12” tall and 5’ wide, evergreen

Bearberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri) – full sun to part shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 12” tall and 6’ wide, evergreen

Dragon’s Blood Sedum (Sedum spurium 'Dragon's Blood') – full sun, deer and rabbit resistant, 6” tall and 24” wide, evergreen, 

Grace Ward Lithodora (Lithodora diffusa 'Grace Ward') – full sun to part shade, deer resistant, 12” tall and 4’ wide, evergreen

Wintercreeper Euonymus (Euonymus fortunei) – full sun to part shade, ^’ – 5’ tall and 6’ wide, evergreen

Scarletta fetterbush (Leucothoe fontanesiana 'Zeblid') - part shade, deer resistant 2’ tall and 4’ wide, evergreen



Perennial Ground Cover

Creeping Mazus (Mazus reptans) - full sun to part shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 2” tall and 12” wide, semi-evergreen perennial 

Knotweed Darjeeling Red (Persicaria affinis 'Darjeeling Red') - full sun to part shade, 2’ tall and wide, semi-evergreen perennial

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum calycinum) – sun but mid afternoon shade, deer resistant, 3’ tall and wide, deciduous perennial 

Leadwort (Plumbago) – full sun, deer and rabbit resistant, 8” tall and 18” wide, deciduous perennial

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) - full sun to part shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 4” tall and 12” wide, deciduous perennial

Flower Carpet Amber – (Rosa ‘Flower Carpet Amber’) – full sun, 30” tall and 3’ wide, deciduous perennial

Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) - full sun, 15+’ tall and 6’ wide, deciduous perennial

Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) – full sun, 6” tall and 2’ wide, ‎Herbaceous perennial

Creeping Thyme (Thymus) – full sun, deer and rabbit resistant, 4” tall and 12” wide, Herbaceous perennial 

Bigroot Geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) – full sun to full shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 12” tall and 24” wide, Herbaceous perennial

Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) – full shade to partial shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 12” tall and 18” wide, Herbaceous perennial

Sunrose (Helianthemum) – full sun, deer and rabbit resistant, 12” tall and 24” wide, herbaceous perennial

Liriope (Liriope spp.) – full sun to part shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 18” tall and wide, Herbaceous perennial

Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi) – full sun, deer and rabbit resistant, 6” tall and 24” wide, Herbaceous perennial

Deadnettle (Lamium) – full sun to part shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 4-8” tall and 3’ wide, Herbaceous perennial

Canadian Anemone (Anemone Canadensis) – full sun to part shade, up to 2’ tall and 3’ wide, Herbaceous perennial

Hostas (Plantain lilies) – full sun to full shade, range in size from a couple inches to a couple feet tall and wide, Herbaceous perennial

Horned Violet (Viola cornuta) – full sun to part shade, deer resistant, 10” tall and 12” wide, Herbaceous perennial

Spike Speedwell (Veronica spicata) – full sun to part shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 18” tall and wide, Herbaceous perennial

Ground cover Clematis (Heracleifolia) – full sun, 3’ tall and wide, Herbaceous perennial

Snow in summer (Cerastium tomentosum) – full sun, deer resistant 12” tall and wide, herbaceous perennial

Brass buttons (Leptinella squalid) – part shade, 2” tall and 18” wide, herbaceous perennial

Vince minor (common periwinkle) – full sun to part shade, deer resistant, 6” tall and 18” wide, herbaceous perennial

Candyturf (Iberis sempervirens) – full sun, deer and rabbit resistant, 12” tall and 18” wide, both annual and perennial varieties


Annual for the Best Ground Cover Plants

Wishbone Flower (Torenia Fournieri) – part to full shade, deer resistant, 12” tall and 9” wide, annual

Moss Rose (Portulaca) – full sun, deer resistant, 8” tall and 18” wide, annual

Candyturf (Iberis sempervirens) – full sun, deer and rabbit resistant, 12” tall and 18” wide, both annual and perennial varieties



Shade Ground Cover

Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis) – shade to part shade, deer resistant, 4” tall and 12” wide, evergreen

Bergenias (Bergenia) – full shade to dappled shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 18” tall and wide, evergreen

Christmas rose (Helleborus Niger) – partial to full shade, deer and rabbit resistant, 3’ tall and wide, herbaceous perennial

Creeping wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) – full to partial shade, 12” tall and 36” wide, evergreen

Coral bells (Heuchera) – prefers shade but will grow in full sun with sufficient water, 18” tall and wide, herbaceous perennial

Wishbone Flower (Torenia Fournieri) – part to full shade, deer resistant, 12” tall and 9” wide, annual



Slope Ground Cover Ideas


If you want to cover a slope, ground cover you can use are:

  • Daylilies
  • Creeping phlox
  • Lamb’s ears
  • Stonecrop
  • Ornamental grasses for landscaping
  • Cotoneasters


These are the best ground cover plants that shouldn’t have any problems growing on a slope or steep bank. While they are getting established it might be best to use a drip line or soaker hose. It will let the water slowly seep into the ground and not run off.

You can always use 2-3’ retaining wall and layer them up the slope for a tiered look. Having the best ground cover plants at different levels would give a stylish look.


Edible Ground Cover Plants

Wintergreen is a great edible ground cover plants.

Planting edible ground cover is a great way to have fresh herbs and control the weeds in your garden. They are great for filling in borders and they add a nice scent to your yard.

Some great edible ground covers are:

  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Alpine strawberries
  • wintergreen
  • Nasturtium

There are more edibles you can use as the best ground cover plants but these are the more popular ones. Picking fresh herbs and berries when you need them beats having to go out and buy whatever is available.


Invasive Ground Cover

Watch out for invasive ground cover. These would be anything that grows out of control and is hard to manage.

Once they get their roots in the ground they could be hard to get rid of. It’s best to know the size of the plant you want to use and use boundaries to control them. Stones or garden edging work great to make sure the plants don’t wonder into area you don’t want them to be.


You need to be mindful of the plants you are putting in the ground. If you plant the wrong plants for your area, they can:

  • Take over the garden and rob your existing garden plant of water, sunlight, nutrients and space
  • Travel through fences and into neighbouring lawns
  • Invade native plants and take over
  • They can be really hard to get rid of once planted
  • They can grow from very small pieces of roots and stems

Tips for the Best Ground Cover Plants

Here are a few tips for when you want to plant the best ground cover plants.

  1. Google the plants before you buy them. If it says words like aggressive, rapidly, or that it will grow anywhere, those are clues that you need a really big area for the plant to grow in.
  2. If you go to a nursery to buy your plants, read the tags to know how big the plant will get. They are always a possibility that the plant will get bigger than the tag says it will so keep that in mind.
  3. Think about where you want to put it. If it’s a smaller area it might be better to go with an annual or a perennial that you know won’t get big and save the bigger ground covers for bigger areas and tougher to grow areas like under dense trees and on steep slopes
  4. Prepare the site before planting. Till the soil about a foot around where you are going to plant. Adding compost is also a good idea as it will give the plants better soil to grow in. 
  5. If you are planting on a slope, you may need to use something to keep the plants in place until they get rooted. Some type of netting will help with this.


If done right with the best ground cover plants you will have a beautiful garden to enjoy for a very long time.


Before you do any planting it’s best to make sure the area is weed free and stays that way until the plant spreads enough to keep the weeds out.

Having a nice garden finished off with the best ground cover plants will pull it all together. It gives life to dull and boring gardens.


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