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Morning glory is a fast-growing, twining annual with heart-shaped light to mid-green leaves and vibrantly colored, funnel-shaped flowers to 3 inches across. Cultivars include white-colored ‘Pearly Gates’; ‘Heavenly Blue’; crimson-colored, white-throated ‘Crimson Rambler’; and ‘Flying Saucers’, a batik-looking blend of white and blue accented by a golden throat.
This creeping shrub has a prostrate form and dense, steely blue foliage. The mature height is 1 foot tall. Scale-like green leaves turn a dull purple in winter. Blue rug juniper creates a flat ground cover. It grows 6 to 12 inches per year and bears ovoid dark blue fruit.
This spreading, low-growing shrub has attractive bluish-green foliage and unusual upturned branches that create the appearance of a miniature blue forest. The mature size is 10 inches tall, with a spread that can reach 4 feet wide.
'Blue Star' jumiper is a slow-growing, compact, evergreen shrub with a mounding shape. Its silver blue foliage is attractive in all seasons, and its blue, berry-like, female cones each contain one seed, hence its common name.
This rhizomatous perennial has erect or creeping stems and silvery leaves. In summer, it produces spikes of yellow flowers spotted with brown. A less invasive cultivar is 'Hermann's Pride'.
'Anne Greenaway' infuses the garden with excitement, with its bright chartreuse leaf margins. It grows up to 8 inches tall and 18 inches wide and is topped with lilac-mauve flowers in late spring. The stems root where they touch the soil, so it's easy to lift and transplant rooted stems to increase your stand. It makes a nice groundcover in a shady garden around ferns, hostas, heucheras, or geraniums.
Lamium is a genus with many cultivars that are outstanding foliage plants for the shade, most notably ‘White Nancy’. This evergreen ground cover’s beautiful, 1- to 2-inch-wide leaves are silvery white with green edges and have a quilted appearance. Clusters of white flowers appear from spring through summer.
‘Pink Chablis’ has pink flowers above silvery gray leaves edged with dark green. These trailing plants make fine ground covers or cascaders.
'Silver Dragon' lilyturf features thick, tufted evergreen clumps of linear silver and white leaves with a shimmering silver stripe running down the arching blades. Dense spikes of violet-mauve flowers are borne on purple-green stems in autumn, maturing to black berries.
Lilyturf is a great choice for problem sites, such as the dry shade under a tree canopy. 'Variegata' is a vibrant, grass-like plant with green foliage, striped with cream. Leaves are wider and more blunt at their tip than grasses, and in warmer climates, the foliage persists through the winter. Clumps run from 1 to 1-1/2 feet tall and half again as wide. Spikes of small blue-violet flowers appear in late September and are followed by dark purple berries. -Lou Anella, Regional Picks: Southern Plains, Fine Gardening issue #127
This spreading evergreen perennial has clumps of grass-like deep green basal leaves. Tiny, brilliant white flowers borne in tight clusters appear in early summer and midsummer.
A mass of small purple leaves and abundant golden yellow, bell-shaped flowers distinguish this groundcover. It is useful on slopes as well as in containers.
Creeping Jenny is a low-growing, rampant, evergreen groundcover with rounded leaves. In summer, it produces many cup-shaped, bright yellow flowers.
Golden creeping Jenny is a low-growing, rampant, evergreen groundcover with rounded, golden yellow leaves. In summer, it produces many cup-shaped, bright yellow flowers.
Mazus reptans is a mat-forming perennial with rosettes of lance-shaped toothed leaves. It spreads quickly through rooting stems. From late spring to mid-summer, it bears 2- to 5-flowered racemes of snapdragon-like purple-blue flowers with lower lips spotted with yellow and red.
In autumn, this unique specimen creates a spectacular, billowy inflorescence of massed, vibrant pink, airy flowers on 4-foot stems. It is noted for its tolerance to poorly drained soil. It is possibly hardy to Zone 6 with protection.
This beautiful warm-season grass produces attractive, pale purplish-gray plumes in autumn and goes dormant in the cold season. It forms a neat, upright clump with fine blue-gray foliage.
Attractive, glossy, fan-shaped leaves and creamy white bell-shaped flowers are borne in dense panicles for several weeks in spring. After flowering is complete, green leaves turn a rich burgundy color with reddish orange highlights on their margins.
This elegant fern-like herb has a mounding form and anise-flavored bright-green leaves. In late spring, it bears compound umbels of star-shaped white flowers, followed by shiny, ridged brown seeds.
Yellow-white flowers appear in late spring, followed by prolific berries that ripen from green to bright-red or purple in fall. The elegant foliage turns fiery red in fall. There are low, ground-hugging Nandina varieties; medium-sized shrubs for mid-border; and tall, bushy types for the back of the border.
Q&A Ground covers to avoid
by Nancy Ondra
Planting Ground Covers
Proper spacing and regular care are the best ways to create a lush, weed-free carpet
by Mary Hirshfeld
Flowering Ground Covers
To blanket an area small or large, these are the perennials to pick
by Nancy Ondra
Dividing a ground cover
by Liana Mackey
Plants for Pathways
These durable creeping perennials discourage weeds and soften the look of a walkway
by Marty Wingate
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