Groundcovers are low, spreading plants that grow less than 2 feet tall. They reduce lawn space and do not need mowing. They are also used to blanket steep slopes in order to control erosion. Perennial groundcovers cover rocky areas and low light areas where other plants have difficulty surviving. Low-growing flowering mats fill in gaps of stone walkways to beautify well-traveled spaces. Perennial groundcover flowers do not need regular maintenance. Just plant, weed, mulch and water the groundcover flowers.
Ajuga (Ajuga reptans) is a low-growing groundcover only reaching 3 inches in height. The glossy, spinach-like leaves quickly form a solid green mat. Blue and purple tiny flowers cluster on spikes that reach 6 inches tall in spring and early summer. Ajuga does well in the shade of trees and shrubs. It is invasive, so control ajuga with edging strips and do not plant it around flowerbeds.
Dalmatian bellflower (Campanula portenschlagiana) produces trailing stems that creep along the ground and grow 6 to 8 inches in height. The leaves are heart-shaped and have a toothed edge. From late spring until midsummer, bell-shaped, lavender-blue blossoms cover the stems. Dalmatian bellflowers thrive in rock gardens and on rocky slopes.
Hardy iceplant (Delosperma cooperi) is a succulent groundcover that stores water in its narrow, gray-green leaves. Small, rosy-purple blossoms appear in the summer and last until frost. These daisy-like flowers cover the mat of leaves. In warm areas, the hardy iceplant produces flowers year round. This groundcover is used in rock gardens, driveway edges and on sunny slopes.
Heart-leaved bergenia (Bergenia cordifolia) is also known as elephant’s ears or heartleaf. This evergreen ground cover produces heart-shaped leaves that turn red-bronze in fall and hold their color all winter long. Clusters of tiny, rose-pink flowers hang on 18-inch tall stems in spring. Plant this groundcover in areas protected by wind so the leaves do not suffer wind damage. Cut off old, tattered leaves when needed to improve the groundcover’s appearance.
Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) produces mounds of soft, silvery gray leaves. A single leaf can grow up to 6 inches wide. In late spring and early summer, 15-inch tall flower stems appear with small, greenish yellow flowers that cluster together. Cut off the dying flowers to prevent reseeding. If Lady’s mantle begins to look tattered, cut it to the ground to promote new growth.