A groundcover is a low-growing plant that in time will spread to form a dense, often decorative mass. Groundcovers provide protection from soil erosion and can substitute for grass. Several hearty flowering groundcovers are available to help you solve problem spots in your landscape such as steep slopes, bare areas between other plants or shady areas under trees.
Ajuga (ajuga reptans), or bugleweed, is a fast-growing and easy-to-grow perennial groundcover that produces lovely blue flowers from spring to midsummer. Foliage colors range from green to bronze to purple. Ajuga can be planted in sun or shade, in any well-drained soil. It will grow 2 to 5 inches tall, with flowers reaching 6 to 8 inches tall. Ajuga can be used on steep slopes to prevent soil erosion. It is considered an invasive plant because of its rapid growth habit. You can contain it with a shovel by edging every spring and midsummer.
Creeping phlox (phlox subulata), also called moss pink, is a perennial flowering plant that can be used as groundcover in rock gardens or in areas of your yard with poor soil. It forms a dense mat of mosslike foliage which is covered in spring with masses of flowers in pink, white or purple. The foliage is soft, needlelike and remains lush from spring through fall. Creeping phlox grows to 6 inches tall. Plant in well-drained, loamy or sandy soil in full sun. This hardy plant tolerates some drought and a little salt.
Hostas (hostaceae), also called plantain lily, make a good choice for groundcover under existing trees, since they are a shallow-rooted plant that will not disturb the roots of the tree. They thrive in partially shaded areas. There are various hosta species with a range of foliage colors including deep-green, yellow-green, blue-green and gray-green. Hostas produce white or lavender lily-shaped flowers from 6 to 24 inches tall. Hostas are herbaceous perennial plants that die back in winter but grow back quickly in spring, lasting well into the fall.
Catmint (nepeta cataria), also called catnip or catswort, is a fragrant, ornamental herbaceous plant with grayish-green leaves and lavender flowers on spiky stems. It is a tough groundcover that is a good choice for herb gardens or borders. It grows 8 to 14 inches high and blooms in the spring through the midsummer. Catmint tolerates drought and prefers moist, well-drained soils. Plant in full sun to partial shade.