Ground Cover Options

Several ground cover options are drought tolerant, making ground cover a viable option in areas where there are water restrictions. Ground cover is colorful, so even if a homeowner does not have water restrictions, he might choose a different groundcover for part of his lawn or other landscaping, just because of the color and ease of maintenance.


Wintercreeper (Eunymus fortunei) is an evergreen ground cover that grows up to 4 inches in height, and the vines grow up to 20 feet long. It spreads easily, but climbs vertical surfaces. It grows well in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9 and tolerates anything from partial shade to full sun. Wintercreeper is good for areas in the south with watering restrictions, as it is drought tolerant, and prefers dry to moist sandy, loam or clay soils. It grows well in soil with a pH of 3.7 to 7.0. This vine is an easy keeper, though it does attract scale insects. If you notice scales, spray the ground cover with insecticide. If you prune the upright shoots, you can keep the ground cover more compact.

Common Periwinkle

The common periwinkle (Vinca minor) grows in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 10. It is a low, evergreen ground cover that reaches 3 to 6 inches in height. It spreads easily. The leaves are 1 to 2 inches long and, if grown in shade, are dark, glossy green. The leaves are lighter green if periwinkle is grown in the sun. It prefers shade, but can be grown in the sun. If it gets too much sun and heat, the leaves turn yellow. The periwinkle produces blue flowers that are about an inch in diameter. It blooms mainly during April, but has sporadic blooming during the rest of the summer.

Japanese Spurge

Japanese spurge (Pachysandra) is an evergreen ground cover that grows best in the shade. It requires moist, well drained, acidic soil. Depending on the cultivar you choose, it could have glossy leaves (Green Sheen) or green and white leaves (Variegata). "Green Carpet" is compact. This cultivar has a regular height and is often used for ground cover. The ground cover grows to a height of 12 inches, less for "Green Carpet," which grows up to 6 to 8 inches. Japanese spurge prefers USDA hardiness zones 4 through 7. It produces small, white blooms during April.

Keywords: groundcover, periwinkle, japanese spurge

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Cayden Conor is a family law paralegal who writes on various subjects including dogs, cockatoos and cooking. She has over 15 years of experience as a paralegal, and has been writing professionally for three years. Conor has a paralegal degree and majored in criminology, computer science (programming emphasis) and education.