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Mountain West Regional Reports

Use Gorgeous Ground Covers as a Living Mulch | Mountain West Regional Report

‘Firespinner’ ice plant. Photo: Mary Ann Newcomer

Ground covers make a perfect mulch. These ground huggers hold in moisture, keep weeds at bay, and look good in the process. Many are fine sources of pollen and nectar for pollinator insects.

The months of May, June, and July are a perfect time to work on your ground covers, adding new plants and digging up and dividing established ones. Give your existing ground cover a good once-over, shearing faded blooms once they’ve finished their big show. Don’t hesitate to snip back plants where you need to encourage fullness.

Three of my absolute favorite ground covers are ice plants (Delosperma, spp. and cvs., Zones 6–9), rosy pussytoes (Antennaria rosea, Zones 5–8), and purple spinach bugleweed (Ajuga pyramidalis ‘Metallica Crispa Purpurea’, Zones 4–8).

‘Alan’s Apricot’ ice plant (left) and ‘Firespinner’ ice plant (right). Photo: Mary Ann Newcomer

Ice plants are show-stoppers, hailing from the mountains of Africa. They do exceptionally well…

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