Flowering Groundcovers Brighten the Yard
Accent your lawn and landscape with a splash of color.
A well-kept lawn is the hallmark of a handsome home, but flower gardens and accents are what provide the true focal points of the yard.
Every gardener loves the color that blooming perennials bring to a garden. Flowering perennials are the workhorses of the landscape, bringing colorful blooms year after year. Herbaceous perennials such as asters, coneflowers and penstemons are favorites because they are easy to grow and always bring a dependable show of blooms. But there’s one category of perennials that are often overlooked when homeowners shop for plants: groundcovers.
“Flowering groundcovers are an indispensable element of any well-designed garden,” says David Salman, chief horticulturist of HighCountryGardens.com. “Low-growing perennials may be short in stature, but when placed in the right spots they fill in the gaps in a yard and garden with colorful blooms and attractive foliage.”
Low-growing groundcover plants are great for using as alternatives to turfgrass lawns (especially in shady areas). Groundcovers are especially well suited for filling the spaces between flagstone and pavers. These diminutive plants are also great for creating a “living mulch” that cools the ground and suppresses weed growth.
Six Colorful Choices
Here are six great flowering groundcovers that Salman recommends as a tough and beautiful addition to any garden.
Veronica liwanensis (Turkish Speedwell) — Veronica liwanensis is one of the showiest blue-flowered groundcovers, which accounts for its popularity. The plant is native to the mountains of Turkey (hence the common name, Turkish speedwell). The stems of evergreen foliage root as they spread across the soil and cover themselves with bright blue flowers in late spring. This is a vigorous, fast-growing species that thrives in difficult climates throughout USDA Zones 4-8.
When not in bloom, the round, glossy evergreen leaves creep across the garden, creating a thick green carpet.
Turkish speedwell can be used to create a low-maintenance groundcover “lawn” that tolerates occasional foot traffic. With the first hint of warmer weather to come, the small but numerous spikes of flowers paint the garden blue like a reflection of the sky. With a little extra water, Veronica liwanensis reblooms lightly later in summer. This plant appreciates afternoon shade in hot summer climates. At maturity, each plant reaches 2 inches tall and 18 inches wide.
Zauschneria garrettii Orange Carpet (Creeping Hummingbird Trumpet) — Zauschneria garrettii Orange Carpet is a vigorous perennial groundcover that blooms in mid- to late summer with a profusion of bright orange trumpet-shaped flowers that lasts for weeks. Spreading with underground stems, this beautiful plant is perfect for slopes and cascading over the edges of raised beds. Regular watering when in bloom keeps the flowers coming.
Plant Creeping Hummingbird Mint in well-drained, compost-enriched soil. ‘Orange Carpet’ prefers some afternoon shade, especially in warmer climates at lower elevations. Wait until spring to cut it back just above ground level to prevent the plant from drying out during dry winters. This is an original selection by High Country Gardens founder and chief horticulturist David Salman. Each plant grows 4-6 inches tall and 15-18 inches wide.