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This striking, richly-textured, deciduous ground cover has heart-shaped leaves that turn mauve in autumn. Purple, blue, or white flowers appear in late summer to early fall.
This woodland plant is valued for its flowers and groundcovering leaves. Terminal clusters of delicate blue flowers appear in spring.
This brunnera cultivar has a silvery, heart-shaped leaves that are mostly everygreen. Delicate blue flowers emerge in spring. Drought tolerant once established, ‘Looking Glass’ brunnera requires little watering and is fairly resistant to pests. This cultivar grows to a little more than a foot tall and almost as wide. Use it in a woodland or shade garden, in a container, or at waterside. -Sylvia Matlock, Regional Picks: Northwest, Fine Gardening issue #127
‘Halycon’ is a wonderful blue hosta that holds its strong leaf color all season. Its textured, blue-green leaves are thick enough to be slug resistant. Bell-shaped, pale lilac flowers are followed by seed heads that attract birds late in the season. 'Halcyon' grows fairly slowly. It can be used as either a ground cover or a specimen plant. -Jane Hutson, Regional Picks: Midwest, Fine Gardening issue# 127
This dramatic cultivar has bright green leaves that are richly edged with cream. It bears lavender-blue blossoms in spring, and grows from 1.5 to 2 feet tall.
This cheerful, reliable plant brings a nice touch of color to the garden in spring. The leaves are pointed and hairy and splattered with silvery blotches. As the plant grows, the leaves overlap, creating a swirly pattern. In spring, clusters of silky pink flowers appear. They fade to a soft blue that harmonizes well with the leaf color. -Sue Whetten, Regional Picks: Rocky Mountains, Fine Gardening issue #127
This plant is a rosette-forming evergreen perennial with kidney-shaped to rounded leaves. It produces white flowers with red or yellow spots in summer.
The upward-facing, star-like blossoms of this species vary from white to light pink or lilac, with reddish purple spots throughout. They are reminiscent of orchids. Toad lily blooms in early autumn along arching stems to 2 or 3 feet tall. Plants grow to 2 feet wide. They make subtle, but exotic specimens for woodland borders and shady house plantings. They will colonize over time, but are not invasive. These perennials are from moist woodlands and high elevations from eastern Asia to the Phillipines.
This trillium has upright or outward-facing blossoms of chocolate or reddish-purple, or occasionally white or yellow. At close range, it bears an unpleasant scent. It blooms in mid- to late spring, and grows from 14-20 inches tall and a foot wide.
This trillium produces large white flowers above the foliage in mid-spring, but the flowers are later hidden as the flower stalks nod. The flowers occasionally are maroon, but they retain the white ovaries. The plant is quite variable, and can grow up to 2 feet tall.
This is one of the first and most plentiful Trilliums to bloom in the spring. It has upright maroon blossoms (occasionally white or yellow) without stalks, and its leaves can be nicely mottled. It grows to 12-18 inches tall and 8-12 inches wide.
This striking spring-blooming species features narrow, chocolate-colored petals that twist like a propeller over slightly mottled leaves. It forms a stocky plant, growing to 10-15 inches tall and not quite as wide.
This trillium bears the largest flowers in the genus—almost 4 inches across. Growing to almost 2 feet high and not quite as wide, it is also one of the tallest trilliums. Its chocolate-red blossoms (occasionally white) boast strongly curved petals and prominent stamens. They appear just beneath the leaves in mid- to late spring.
Like other creeping myrtles, 'Illumination' is a tough evergreen ground cover for shade that will grow in almost any soil. Its hallmark is its bright gold leaves that are edged with a border of irregular green. Periwinkle-blue flowers appear in spring. Use 'Illumination' as a shade ground cover or in hanging baskets. -Tom Nelson, Regional Picks: Northern California, Fine Gardening issue #127
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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