Plants for ground cover in full sun

Ground cover plants for sun

Ground cover plants cover the ground quickly, covering bare soil and suppressing weeds. They are naturally low-growing and form attractive mounds or carpets. They are often low-maintenance and usually evergreen.

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10 ground cover plants for shade

Grow ground cover plants on steep banks or hard-to-access areas, under trees and shrubs, or at the front of a border.

Here are 10 ground cover plants to grow.

Ground cover plants cover the ground quickly, covering bare soil and suppressing weeds.

Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’

Furry, silver-grey leaves of lamb’s ears

Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ is also known as lamb’s ears – its woolly grey leaves are incredibly tactile. It’s evergreen, which makes it very useful for providing interest at the front of a border all year round, and is relatively drought tolerant when established.

Height x spread: 15cm x 60cm.

Vinca minor

Glossy leaves and small purple flowers of the periwinkle

Vinca minor is a tough, low-maintenance perennial that will cope with many conditions in the garden. It has glossy, green, evergreen leaves and star-shaped flowers that are white or mauve, depending on the variety, from spring to autumn.

H x s: 10cm x 50cm.

Gaultheria procumbens

Bronze foliage and red berries of the checkerberry

Gaultheria procumbens is an evergreen shrub from North America. It forms a dense carpet of leaves that are red-edged in winter and complemented by red berries in winter. It’s a good choice for slopes and wildlife gardens. It likes moist, well-drained acidic soil.

H x s: 30cm x 150cm.

Rosa Flower Carpet Red Velvet (‘Noare’)

Red blooms of rose ‘Flower Carpet Red Velvet’

Rosa ‘Flower Carpet Red Velvet’ (Noare) is part of the ‘Flower Carpet’ series of ground cover roses. It’s smaller than some ground cover roses, forming more of a mound than a carpet – an unusual addition to the front of a border. Its single, red flowers have a red eye and are popular with bees. Grow in a sheltered site.

H x s: 75cm x 120cm.

Crocosmia

Arches of deep-orange crocosmia blooms

Crocosomia (formerly montbretia) bear flowers in a range of fiery shades, from yellow to red in late summer. They form dense clumps – plant in swathes to create ground cover. Grow in a sheltered site and mulch in winter if you live in a cold area.

H x s: 80cm x 80cm.

Helianthemum

Yellow helianthemum flowers

Helianthemums (rock rose) are clump forming, evergreen shrubs that bear pretty, papery flowers in a range of colours in early and midsummer. They look great at the front of a sunny border or in a rock or gravel garden. Plants may need protection harsh winters.

H x s: at least 30cm x 50cm, depending on variety.

Euonymus fortunei ‘Silver Queen’

Variegated spindle foliage

Euonymus fortunei ‘Silver Queen’ is a versatile, fresh-looking and evergreen shrub that has white- or pink-edged leaves, while ‘Harlequin’ has attractive variegation. They form an attractive mat and can also be encouraged to climb. Remove any non-variegated leaves that appear.

H x s: 10cm x 2.5m.

Hardy geraniums

White and pale-pink hardy geranium flowers

Hardy geraniums, or cranesbills, are invaluable plants for ground cover in all kinds of gardens, whether cottage-style or more contemporary schemes. With blue, pink or mauve flowers, they are perfect for the front of a border and popular with bees.

H x s: 60cm x 90cm.

Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’

Low juniper foliage

Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ is a dwarf juniper that forms a neat, rounded mound of eye-catching, steely blue, evergreen foliage. It’s great for growing as part of a shrubbery or mixed border, on a slope or as part of a rock garden.

H x s: 45cm x 100cm.

Erica x darleyensis ‘Furzey’

Lilac heather flowers

Erica x darleyensis ‘Furzey’ is a pretty heather that bears lilac flowers from December to May. It makes excellent ground cover on banks or under shrubs and trees. Grow on neutral or acid soil in a sunny spot.

H x s: 50cm x 100cm.

Hebe pinguifolia

Small-leaved, grey-green hebe foliage

Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’ forms low, carpeting mounds of attractive, grey-green foliage. It bears white flowers from late spring to early summer, which are adored by bees. Grow in groups as ground cover. It’s tolerant of pollution and salty air.

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H x s: 35cm x 100cm.

Groundcovers: Planting and Care

Groundcovers are low-growing plants that spread quickly to form a dense cover. They add beauty to the landscape, and they can also solve many planting problems in difficult sites. Grass is the best-known groundcover, but grass is not suited to all locations. Other groundcover plants should be used where grass is difficult to grow or maintain. Unlike grass, most groundcover plants cannot be walked on.

Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox) in bloom.
Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Groundcovers are used most frequently for the following locations:

  • Erosion control on steep banks or slopes. Grass is often difficult to mow on steep slopes.
  • Shady areas under trees and shrubs. When planted under trees, groundcovers reduce mower damage to the base of the tree. Some groundcovers require less sunlight and less moisture and nutrients than grass. Therefore, they are in less competition with trees and shrubs.
  • Where tree roots grow close to the surface and prevent grass from growing.
  • Very wet or very dry locations.

Selection of a suitable plant for groundcover depends on the area where it will be grown. Some groundcover plants prefer shade. Others thrive in full sun. Some prefer moist soil, while others need dry or well-drained soil. To work well as groundcovers, plants have to be tough, durable, and relatively fast growing but not invasive. Choose plants that are known to do well in the conditions found in your landscape and most importantly guard against plants known to become invasive. That means looking beyond the traditional ivy

(Hedera species) and periwinkle (Vinca minor) that are both known to escape “captivity” and move into natural areas. Vining groundcovers should not be allowed to consume trees since they can choke out sunlight and weigh down branches. For more information on invasive plants see the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States – http://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/

Soil Preparation

Because groundcovers live for many years in the same spot, it is worth the effort to prepare the soil well before you plant them. This allows plants to establish good root systems. Perennial weed areas should be cleared before planting groundcovers, since most cannot compete against established weeds.

Improper soil preparation is a frequent cause of groundcover failures. The soil should be worked to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Incorporate a 2-inch layer of organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to improve drainage in clay soils or to improve the water-holding capacity of sandy soils.

A soil test provides the best guidance for fertilizer usage. In the absence of a soil test, incorporate a complete fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. Mix the fertilizer into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Planting

Most groundcovers can be planted at any time of the year. However, fall planting takes advantage of lower temperatures and natural rainfall. Watering is reduced and plants establish a stronger root system before summer. Summer planting requires adequate and frequent watering for survival and establishment.

Space the plants according to their size, the immediate effect desired, and their rate of growth and habit. If the individual plants are spaced too far apart, weeding can be a problem and the time required for complete coverage can be quite long. On the other extreme, planting too closely together can be a needless waste of time, money and plant materials. In addition, there will be increased competition as the plants grow into maturity. Usually, it is best to space the plants so the groundcover areas will, for the most part, be completely covered by the end of the third growing season. A staggered row-planting pattern usually will result in the quickest cover of the planting bed.

Care

Weed control is a must until the groundcover is fully established. A 2-inch layer of mulch will help in the control of weeds. On slopes, coarse netting is also used to hold the slope until the groundcover is established.

It may take up to two years to establish a groundcover area. Fertilizing and watering will probably be required during this period. Apply fertilizer based on how fast you want full coverage to occur. Begin fertilizing 4 to 6 weeks after planting, then make one application in the spring, another during summer, and a third in September. If rapid coverage is desired, make a fourth application during the summer months. A complete fertilizer such as 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 or a similar analysis applied at the rate of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet is adequate. To determine how much fertilizer to apply per bed, measure the area of the bed in square feet (length x width). Then, use this equation:

Area of bed divided by 1,000 square feet, divided by the percent of nitrogen in the bag, will give you the amount of fertilizer that needs to be applied to the bed. For example, if the bed measures 200 square feet (20 feet long and 10 feet wide), you can determine that 200/1,000 divided by 12 % (or .12) = 1.6. Therefore, 1.6 pounds of 12-4-8 will need to be applied to this 200-square-foot area.

The next consideration is adequate and timely watering. Water requirements vary with different plants. Groundcover plants should not be allowed to wilt.

Some groundcovers are improved by occasional shearing. Wintercreeper can be clipped at a 4- to 6-inch height. Others, such as dwarf mondograss, can be clipped with hedge shears or mown when they appear shabby. Remove the old growth of mondograss because the leaves harbor fungi, which can disfigure and kill newly emerging leaves. To rejuvenate pachysandra and other herbaceous evergreen groundcovers that have suffered winter burn, use a rotary mower on its highest setting. Early spring is usually the best time to prune groundcovers because new growth will quickly cover the bare stubs. Cut out dead branches and remove winter-damaged branch tips to encourage dense new growth.

Avoid severe pruning in late summer or fall since it can force tender growth that will not have time to harden off properly before winter.

Horizontal junipers like ‘Blue Rug’, ‘Bar Harbor’, and ‘Prince of Wales’ tend to form new foliage on top of older foliage and become thick and dense once their canopies meet. Thinning improves air circulation between the plants and prevents insect and disease problems.

Problems

Several fungi and bacteria may cause leaf spots. Infected leaves can be picked off and discarded. Root, stem and crown rots are fungal diseases that are more serious in poorly drained soils. Some groundcover plants, such as ajuga, are very susceptible to root-knot nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic worms that live in the soil and feed on plant roots. Infected plantings will thin out in spots and plants may die.

Recommended Groundcovers

Recommended groundcovers are listed in the table below.

Recommended Groundcovers

Common Name

Botanical Name

Description Height Light Growing Conditions
Pachysandra

(Pachysandra species)

Dense evergreen that spreads by underground runners. Effectively crowds out many weeds. The native P. procumbens has marbled leaves and fragrant flowers. 6 to 9 inches Part to full shade Prefers moist, fertile, slightly acid, organic soil. Competes well with tree roots. Best in the Midlands and Upstate.
Beach Wormwood

(Artemisia stellerana)

Dense, spreading semi- evergreen with soft silver gray leaves. 1 to 2 feet Full sun Drought-tolerant. Needs well-drained soil and good air circulation. Will not tolerate excessive moisture.
Confederate Jasmine

(Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Dark, evergreen leaves. Fragrant white flowers in late spring. ‘Madison’ is a hardy cultivar. T. asiaticum has yellow flowers and is also hardier. 1½ to 2 feet Part shade Moist, well-drained soil. Fast growing. When grown for groundcover, clip or mow yearly to keep dense and low.
Willowleaf Cotoneaster

(Cotoneaster salicifolia)

Lustrous, wide-spreading, evergreen with white flowers and small red fruit. Groundcover varieties include ‘Repens’ and ‘Emerald Carpet’. 12 inches Full sun Tolerates poor soil and drought. Plant where it will have plenty of room to spread since pruning gives an awkward look.
Carolina Jessamine

(Gelsemium sempervirens)

Evergreen, may turn bronze in winter in colder areas. Golden yellow flowers in spring. Up to 3 feet Full sun or part shade Can be used on steep banks to help control erosion. Maintain with a yearly cutting in late spring after flowering.
Carpet Bugle, Ajuga

(Ajuga reptans)

Green, purple or variegated evergreen leaves. Blue flowers on spikes in spring. Spreads quickly. 6 inches Full sun to part shade Mow after flowering to remove stems and tidy up appearance. May become invasive in turf.
Cast Iron Plant

(Aspidistra eliator)

Long, tall, dark evergreen leathery leaves. There is a white-edged variety. 1 to 2½ feet Part to very deep shade Will live in difficult situations, in almost any soil. Does best in mid-state and coastal areas.
Plumbago

(Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

Deep blue flowers in late summer. Foliage turns reddish in fall and winter. Spreads underground. 6 to 12 inches Sun or light shade Prefers moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Good bulb cover. Mow to ground in late winter.
Cheddar Pink

(Dianthus gratianopolitanus)

Blue green to gray green needlelike evergreen foliage covered by very fragrant white or pink flowers in spring. 9 to 12 inches in bloom. Full sun Well-drained soil. Do not overwater. Trim after flowering. This species is the most tolerant of heat and humidity.
Juniper

(Juniperus species)

Needled evergreens with many cultivars and species of varying foliage color, texture, height and form. Height varies by cultivar Full sun Well-drained, moderately dry soil. Shore juniper tolerates seashore conditions.
Creeping Phlox

(Phlox subulata)

Tiny needlelike, evergreen foliage is covered by pink, rose, lavender or white flowers in early spring. 6 inches Full sun Well-drained soil that is not overly rich. Shear lightly after flowering is finished.
Barrenwort

(Epimedium species)

Clumps of evergreen or semi-evergreen heart- shaped leaves with dainty crimson, yellow or white flowers in early spring. 6 to 18 inches Shade or part shade Prefers moist, well-drained soil, but will tolerate growing in amongst tree roots. Cut back in late winter.
Green and Gold

(Chrysogonum virginianum)

Starry, yellow flowers in spring. 4 to 12 inches Part shade Prefers average soils, adequate moisture.
Holly Fern

(Cyrtomium falcatum)

Evergreen, leathery and glossy dark-green leaves. Spreads moderately. 1½ to 2 feet Shade Well-drained, slightly acidic, moderately moist soil with high organic matter.
Lamb’s Ears

(Stachys byzantina)

Large, soft furry gray leaves are topped with spikes of purple flowers in late spring. 6 to 8 inches in leaf, 18 inches in flower Full sun to high open shade Well-drained soil. ‘Silver Carpet’ does not flower. ‘Big Ears’ is most tolerant of humidity.

Lantana

(Lantana species)

Rapid-growing with a long bloom season. Flowers are often multi-colored, yellow, red and orange. Pink, lavender and white are also available. All attract butterflies. Shrub lantanas to 3 feet; creeping lantana to 12 to 18 inches Full sun Well-drained soil, drought-tolerant when mature. Will grow well near the beach. Do not overfertilize. Prune back hard in spring to remove dead wood. Best in mid-state and coast. ‘Miss Huff’ is hardy in Upstate.
Lily-of-the-Valley

(Convallari majalisa)

Dark green leaves turn yellow in fall. Fragrant, white, bell-shaped flowers. 8 inches Shade Prefers moist, fertile, organic soil. Spreads vigorously by underground rhizomes.
Mondo Grass

(Ophipogon japonicus)

Evergreen, grass-like leaves similar to liriope, but more slender. 4 to 12 inches Sun or shade Prefers moderately moist soil, Low maintenance once established. Trim or mow in early spring.
Creeping Rosemary

(Salvia rosmarinus var. ‘Prostratus‘)

Evergreen, with aromatic, needlelike foliage. Pale blue flowers in spring. 12 to 36 inches Full sun Requires very good drainage. On heavy, clay soil, it is more susceptible to winter damage.
Lavender Cotton

(Santolina chamaecyparissus)

Low mounded evergreen shrub, with fine-textured gray-green foliage. Tiny yellow flowers in June. 1 to 2 feet Sun Well-drained soil. Avoid frequent watering. Can be sheared.
Sweet Box

(Sarcococca hookeriana humilis)

Low, creeping evergreen. Tiny, sweetly scented flowers in winter. 12 to 15 inches Light to heavy shade Moist soil amended with plenty of organic matter.
Purple Heart

(Setcreasea purpurea)

Trailing, fleshy deep purple stems and leaves with lavender to purple flowers. 1 to 1½ feet Shade or sun Purple heart thrives in heat and drought conditions. In colder parts of the state, the top freezes in winter but it resprouts from the roots.
St. John’s-Wort

(Hypericum species)

Spreading shrubby evergreen or semi-evergreen with bright yellow flowers in mid-summer. 1 to 3 feet Full sun or part shade. Well-drained soil. Excellent for covering slopes. Cut to ground level in spring to rejuvenate.
Upland River Oats

(Chasmanthium latifolium)

Upright, native perennial grass with attractive seed heads and yellow fall color. Seeds provide winter interest. 2 to 4 feet Full sun to part shade Prefers loamy, well-drained soil but adapts to even poorly drained soils. Great for stabilizing soils on banks. Very low maintenance, simply cut back in late winter as new growth emerges from base. Will reseed.
Sweetgrass

(Muhlenbergia filipes)

Native perennial grass with attractive pink flowers in mid to late summer. Offers great winter interest. 1-3 feet Full sun Well-drained soils. Cut back in late winter to early spring when new growth emerges from base.
Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora Evergreen fern with interesting copper-bronze color appearing on new foliage. 1-3 feet Part sun to full shade Low maintenance, low moisture requirements.

Also known as cupflower or creeping mazus, Mazus reptans is a fast growing groundcover with hundreds of purple blooms in late spring. It thrives in sun to part shade.

Narrow, 1″ leaves form a dense carpet of green that remain attractive from spring-fall. Foliage stays evergreen in warmer climates.

Mazus spreads quickly through rooting stems, and fills in fast without being a nuisance. Ideal for planting between stepping stones (tolerates foot traffic), or covering large areas of soil. It’s a beautiful, effective groundcover that pairs with roses, hydrangeas, and evergreens. Plant some spring-flowering bulbs for an unforgettable display!

Creeping mazus does best in moderately moist but well drained soil. It will spread anywhere from 6-12″ in a season.

In late spring, hundreds of tubular purplish-blue flowers with yellow and white markings sing out from the lush mat of green foliage.

Special features: Deer resistant, Easy care, Foliage interest, Heat tolerant, Multi-seasonal interest, Pest resistant, Rabbit resistant, Season extender

Top ten ground cover plants to get you covered in 2017!

We’ve picked our top ten choices for this year – including some reliable old favourites and some exciting new varieties. Sorted in order of flowering season.

1. Phlox subulata

Flowers April-May. Also known as creeping Phlox these are invaluable groundcover, ideal for trailing over walls or rockeries. No pruning required!

2. Aubrieta

Flowers April-May. Left to spread naturally Aubrieta are a delight in early spring.

3. Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost

Flowers April-May. Expansive silvery foliage with sprays of pretty blue flowers – this is a great option for a shaded spot that needs a bit of cover. Good pest resistance.

4. Helianthemum (Sun Rose)

Flowers May-June. Also known as the Rock Rose, these sun loving sprawling plants flower prolifically through the summer, each bloom lasting only one day.

5. Sedum Kamtschaticum

Flowers May-July. A mound of glossy green foliage with buttery yellow flowers in summer.

6. Campanula Carpatica

Flowers May-August. Masses of stunning violet blue bellflowers formed in clumps – an RHS Award of Garden Merit winner and perfect for suppressing weeds.

7. Sedum pulchellum Sea Star

Flowers May-August. Robust and unusual low growing perennial. Sprays of thin glossy green leaves cover in pale pink star-shaped flowers.

8. Lewisia Cotyledon Mixed

Flowers May-August. A colourful, hardy perennial also known as bitter root. They like good drainage and full sun – perfect for rockeries.

9. Prunella Grandiflora

Flowers June-July. Evergreen foliage with pink or white flowers in June and July, very effective as ground cover.

10. Aster ericoides Snow Flurry

Flowers September-October. A new aster that makes great ground cover, smothering weeds with the dense needle like foliage and producing masses of daisy like flowers. Very tough and easy to grow.

Q:  What is the difference between Purple Heart and Wandering Jew?

Q: What is the difference between the ground cover called Purple Heart and the purple colored plant called wandering jew?

A: Purple heart, Setcreasea pallid, is a perennial native to North America, can be grown in full sun to partial shade, and in a wide variety of soils. In north Florida, frost may kill back the tops, but it quickly returns in the spring. Set plants on 12-inch centers. Plants will require initial watering until established and then will need watering only during periods of extended drought. Propagation is by stem cuttings, which root easily. This sprawling, evergreen ground cover produces deep purple foliage and stems when grown in full sun. It also cascades nicely over retaining walls and does well in a hanging basket. Purple heart produces small, pale pink flowers from the tips of stems and last only one morning. No pests or diseases of major concern although mites and chewing insects may occasionally cause injury.

Wandering jew, Zebrina pendula, is a totally different species, although it looks somewhat similar to Purple heart. It would be difficult to find a more colorful or faster-growing groundcover than wandering Jew. The purple-green leaves with broad, silvery stripes and purple undersides are produced along the succulent stems, which root wherever they touch soil. Small, insignificant, rose-pink flowers are produced among the leaves of wandering Jew all through the year. It is not native to North America, and will grow in a variety of soils but should be planted in partial to deep shade and receive regular watering. It is often used as an indoor plant or grown in hanging baskets. The cultivar ‘Purpusii’ has dark red or red-green, unstriped, hairy leaves. ‘Quadricolor’ has metallic-green leaves striped with green, red, and white. There is also a green and white cultivar available. Propagation is by stem cuttings, which root easily. As a review, Purple heart is native to North America and can be grown in full sun. Wandering jew requires shade and is originally from Mexico.
Purple heart: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp549 Wandering jew: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp620

by kathywarner

Posted: July 18, 2017

Category: Home Landscapes

Tags: purple heart, Setcreasea pallid, Wandering jew, Zebrina pendula

10 Drought-Tolerant Ground Covers That Can Withstand Full Sun

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California water restrictions may have relaxed a bit, but we are still living in a state of drought and still need to make good decisions when it comes to choosing low-water landscaping. One way to save water and keep your yard looking colorful and inviting is to choose drought-tolerant ground covers for sun to fill in bare spots around your yard.

If you are looking for a low-water ground cover that can withstand full, here are 10 options to consider.

1. Lantana:

This common ground cover is easy to find at garden centers and home improvement stores. It requires very little care and is drought tolerant once established. There are dozens of varieties from which to choose, and this flowering perennial is available with white, yellow, orange, red, pink or blue blossoms. Aside from choosing the right color to harmonize with your other plants, the most important thing to remember when buying lantana is that there are ground cover cultivars and shrub cultivars that can grow to more than six feet in height. So you need to be sure you are purchasing a variety used for ground cover.

2. Silver Carpet:

Also known as Cerastium, chickweed and snow in summer, this is another flowering perennial that does well in full sun. This is a popular choice for rock gardens and has small, white flowers. Silver carpet usually blooms in late spring and early summer, but the silver-gray leaves provide an attractive, low-water ground cover all year. Once established, silver carpet will only require extra irrigation during times of extreme drought or heat.

3. Spanish Daisy:

Growing to about eight inches in height, this flowering, fast-growing perennial is a great choice for use as a ground cover in borders, rock gardens, rock walls, and around pathways. Although it is native to Mexico and Central America, it thrives in Southern California. This one does require a bit more work when it comes to cleaning up your flowerbeds as lower foliage dies off, but for those who love the look of the flowers, it is worth the extra effort.

4. Gazania:

Gazanias are native to the southern part of the African continent and have proven to be a good choice for use as a drought-tolerant ground cover for sun in Southern California. This option has larger flowers than most of the other choices on this list and it stays in bloom throughout the summer. Flowers come in yellow, orange, yellow and orange, white and yellow, white and purple, red and pink. Because they grow in low mounds with large flowers, this is a particularly popular choice for borders and flowerbeds.

5. Creeping Rosemary:

Also known as prostrate rosemary, this fast-growing evergreen does well in full sun and is a beautiful choice for cascading over rock or paving stone walls or for use in rock gardens. This drought-tolerant ground cover for sun can be used for culinary purposes and usually grows to about six inches in height. Creeping rosemary usually flowers during the summer, and the purple flowers stay through the beginning of fall. When not in bloom, the foliage provides an attractive, durable ground cover. As an added bonus, creeping rosemary attracts pollinators, which benefits the rest of your garden as well.

6. Ice Plant:

Low-growing ice plant (aka iceplant) is a low-water ground cover that Californians are accustomed to seeing all along the coast. It is so ubiquitous near our beaches that most of us already know that ice plant is a great choice for seaside homes and can thrive in full sun further inland as well. Depending on the variety you choose, your ice plant may bloom in white, yellow or pink flowers.

7. Cape Weed:

This tiny member of the sunflower family is considered a weed in many areas, which is actually good news for folks looking for a fast-growing ground cover that will quickly fill in a large, bare spot in their yard. With small, daisy-like flowers, these perennials are an inexpensive, easy way to cover large areas that receive full sun. Since California is one of the places where it is naturalized and grows like a weed, you know that it can thrive in drought conditions.

8. Artificial Grass:

If you want the look of a green, lush ground cover without the water requirements, synthetic turf is a great choice. Because it is a non-living ground cover, it can be used in full sun, partial sun or shade, and even in spots where nothing will grow. This no-water ground cover is easy to maintain, always looks its best and can be used in areas of high traffic. It can also be used as an attractive ground cover in dog runs, under playground equipment and around swimming pools.

9. Wood Chips or Bark:

This is another no-water ground cover option that beautifies your yard and can help limit weed growth. You may need to refresh your bark or wood chips every year or every few years (depending on the type you use), since it may fade in the sun or break down into the soil. This drought-friendly ground cover option is a particularly good choice for homeowners looking for an inexpensive, easy-care option that requires very little maintenance.

10. Gravel:

Gravel is great for walkways and driveways, and some people even use it in their outdoor living areas. With the wide variety of colors and sizes available, gravel is also an excellent ground cover option for folks looking for something that requires no water and will help limit weed growth.

Drought-Tolerant Ground Covers for Sun: Further Reading

  • 7 Drought-Tolerant Herbs for Southern California Gardens + Tips
  • 8 Drought-Tolerant Plants to Line Your Driveway
  • 10 Great Plants for Drought that Are not Succulents
  • 10 Tips for Gardening in Drought Conditions
  • 10 Easy Succulents for Your Drought-Tolerant Garden

Photo Credits (in order of appearance): Wikimedia Commons/Andre Karwath; Wikimedia Commons/Tiago J. G. Fernandes; Wikimedia Commons/UpstateNYer; Wikimedia Commons/Marlith; Wikimedia Commons/Xemenendura; Wikimedia Commons/Heron2

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