Ground covers have many landscaping uses for home and business properties. These low-growing plants typically spread quickly, covering large sections of land. Numerous varieties are available, some that produce flowers and others that do not. Nonflowering ground covers are more versatile and will be easier to work into your landscaping scheme. Always plant ground covers suited to your USDA hardiness zone.
Ground covers can vary in height from 1 inch to 4 feet tall and offer a large assortment of textures and hues, according to the University of Illinois. Nonflowering ground covers are available in herbaceous or woody and deciduous or evergreen varieties that spread through clumping or runners. Grass is the most widely used nonflowering ground cover, but you may not be able to grow it--or even want to grow it--in all areas.
Locations and uses for nonflowering ground covers include areas such as hills that are too vertical for the maintenance of a lawn, sections of your yard that are in complete shade; or beneath trees or shrubs, serving as a living mulch to cover roots just below ground level. Ground covers can blend various elements of your landscape, create borders and barriers or serve as decorative features. Additionally, there are nonflowering ground cover plants you can locate in areas the are extremely dry and others suited to extremely wet environments.
The planting area for ground covers require careful preparation, since the plants will remain as permanent landscape elements. Clear the area of all foliage, weeds and other debris. Add 2 or more inches of compost and other organic material such as leaf mold, peat moss or aged manure to the planting bed. Use a spade or a mechanized tiller to cultivate the soil to a depth of 6 inches (or 3 inches near tree roots) and apply a complete fertilizer to the area as directed.
Plant your nonflowering ground cover in the spring for best results, even though most varieties can be planted at any time. This provides plenty of time for the ground cover to become established before winter. Space the planting holes according to the expected growth of the plant, allowing enough room for each plant to grow to its mature size, which is usually indicated on the plant's marker or tag at the nursery. Stagger the planting holes similar to a checkerboard rather than in straight rows to cover areas more quickly.
Provide basic care to your nonflowering ground cover on a regular schedule. Supply 1 inch of water weekly for the first growing season to aid in establishing the plant's roots, and then only during dry periods. Cultivate the top few inches of soil or hand-pull any weeds emerging in the area around the ground cover. Add a layer of mulch or other organic material around the ground cover when planting to prevent weeds and to retain moisture in the soil. Apply a complete fertilizer each year in the spring, as directed.