11 ground covers for your garden
Whether you’re looking to cover a large area or simply fill some space between plants in a garden bed, there are many types of garden ground covers to consider. Some have a scent, some feature flowers and all vary in leaf colour, density and coverage.
Prostrate grevilleas, pictured above, are groundcovers that can thrive in the harshest conditions. The plants are found throughout Australia and available in a wide variety of colours, you’re sure to find one local to your area. Common types include Bronze Rambler, Gaudi Chaudii, Royal Mantle and Mt Tamboritha. Perfect for attracting native birds to your garden.
Mondo grass (Ophiopogon sp.)
Mondo grass is a popular choice of ground cover for garden beds. Ideally placed along paths or to section off areas in your garden, it features low-growing grass-like leaves. Dwarf varieties grow up to 10cm and feature small mauve flowers and bright blue berries. Tall mondo grass varieties grow up to 65cm and can be planted about 20cm apart for thick coverage. For something different, black mondo grass has dark purple foliage and produces pink flowers. More than just an edging plant, it is perfect for planting between pavers for a garden feature.
Creeping boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium)
An ideal choice for cottage style gardens, Creeping boobialla is a dense spreading ground cover that features clusters of white, star-shaped scented flowers. A very hardy plant, it is frost and drought resistant and can be used to help prevent soil erosion. It can be easily trained to spread, trail or cascade and even looks good in a decorative pot.
Thyme (Thymus sp.)
An easy-to-care for ground cover, there are a few varieties of thyme to consider. Perfect for low foot traffic areas, thyme is soft to walk on, looks great, and can help you keep the weeds down. Doone Valley grows to 5cm in height, has a feint lemon scent and features green and gold leaves with a purple flower. Woolly thyme has a silvery appearance and is slow growing, so it’s ideal for cramped spaces like between stones or along paths.
Fan flower (Scaevola)
Fan flower is an evergreen with mauve flowers that fan out and can easily form a mat of colour about 12cm high and about 1m in width. It prefers a partially shaded area in well-drained soil, and can tolerate salty conditions from coastal regions. With careful pruning, you can even shape it to suit garden edges, rockeries and small pots.
Pig face (Mesembryanthemum)
You won’t find a hardier or lower maintenance ground cover than Pig face. A South African native that prefers well-drained soils, it produces fine daisy-like flowers in a variety of colours. If you’ve got a dry, sunny, rocky or sandy area to fill, this is the ground cover for you.
Isotoma (Isotoma axillaris)
Australian Harebell (Isotoma) is a native ground cover that thickly grows like a dense mat and features purple flowers. It’s a great choice for your garden because it requires little maintenance. It grows well in partial shade, in rockeries, between pavers and even beside ponds.
Spreading guinea flower (Hibbertia procumbens)
Spreading guinea flower adds some bright, yellow flowers to your garden in the spring and summer months. An evergreen, prostrate shrub with dark green foliage, it is ideal for small gardens, native gardens and rockeries with dry soils.
Australian violet (Viola hederacea)
Australian violet is an attractive choice as a ground cover for your garden with bold mauve and white flowers all year around. Native to south-eastern Australia, it is fast-spreading, frost resistant, loves the cold weather but can struggle in dry conditions. It’s the perfect cover for shaded, damp narrow areas such as down the side of a house, next to a garage or along a fence.
If you have an area in your garden that you find difficult to grow something in, then Dichondra repens may be the answer. A native creeper that spreads like a thick carpet and suppresses weeds, you can grow it between paving stones, on your driveway strip or under other plants. Great for use as a substitute lawn in shady locations.
Blue star creeper (Pratia pedunculata)
Blue star creeper is a popular ground cover for moist environments. It forms a carpet of blue and white starflowers during spring and summer but needs a little attention and care in dry spells. It looks great under ferns, in rockeries, shady areas or even at the edge of a garden pond.
Choose your ground cover
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