Using annual plants for ground cover will add vibrant splashes of color to your landscape or garden. Instead of simply using grass to cover large areas of land, using annuals provides extensive coverage with a greater breadth of aesthetic options. Without a need for regular mowing, these low-growing, quickly spreading plants provide coverage with less maintenance than turf grass.
Creeping zinnias (Sanvitalia procumbens) are well suited as ground cover for areas in hot, dry climates due to good heat tolerance. Displaying yellow single or double flowers, this annual plant thrives in full sunlight and tolerates acid, slightly alkaline, clay and sandy soil, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Creeping zinnias grow to a height of 1 to 6 inches, according to the University of Missouri Extension.
Torenia (Torenia fournieri), also known as the wishbone flower, is an annual plant well suited for use as ground cover. Torenia plants display blue, lavender, white and purple flowers with yellow marks. This annual plant thrives in full sun and prefers moist soil with a high level of organic matter, explains the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Torenia grows to a height of 6 to 18 inches, according to the University of Missouri Extension.
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), also referred to as calendula, is an annual plant for ground cover that displays orange to yellow round flowers with green foliage. Thriving in full to partial sunlight, pot marigold is a hardy plant with edible petals, explains the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Pot marigold prefers moist, well-drained soil and tolerates clay, sand, loam and acid soil. This annual plant grows to a height of 6 to 18 inches, according to the University of Missouri Extension.
Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) displays flowers in red, pink, lavender, purple and white that emit a sweet fragrance. Used as ground cover, sweet alyssum is a hardy annual that thrives in full sun to partial shade and a wide array of soils. Blossoms re-bloom if plant is kept trimmed, explains the AgriLife Extension. Sweet alyssum plants grow to a height of 1 to 6 inches, according to the University of Missouri Extension.
- University of Missouri Extension: Flowering Annuals: Characteristics and Culture; David Trinklein
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Calendula officinalis; Edward F. Gilman and Teresa Howe
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Creeping Zinnia; Edward F. Gilman and Teresa Howe
- AgriLife Extension: Sweet Alyssum
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Torenia fournieri; Edward F. Gilman and Teresa Howe