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Groundcovers - Planting Guidelines

Groundcovers - Planting Guidelines

Planting guidelines for groundcovers
What is a groundcover?
Groundcovers are low growing plants (usually less than 3' tall) that provide a uniform appearance and provide good coverage of an area.
Appropriate plant selection for the location
What type of soil do you have?  How much light does it receive?  Is it exposed to wind?  What will work on a steep bank?  Does it receive foot traffic?   View sun loving groundcovers, shade loving groundcovers, and drought tolerant groundcovers
For large areas, consider higher growing groundcovers. Select short growing groundcovers for small areas, steep banks or slopes.  Best when planted in groupings.
When to plant
Groundcovers can be planted in the spring and fall  With the cooler temperatures of fall more energy goes into root development, thus not competing in the spring with top growth. Groundcovers can be planted in summer provided the area has access to consistent water supply.
Soil preparation
Taking the time to prepare the soil and removing the weeds will reduce maintenance time once your plants are in the ground. Once established, groundcovers require little maintenance, yet help suppress weeds and reduce mulch needs in the landscape.  
Spacing requirements
You can find general guidelines for spacing on our plant labels, but there are factors to consider when deciding how to space your groundcovers.  As a general rule, it is best to space plants so the area will be filled in by the second or third season.  

Growth rate

Plants have different growth rates. More aggressive growing types such as aegopodium, plumbago, houttouynia are going to grow fast so subsequently they can be spaced further apart.

Budget & time  

You can space at greater distances and save money, but that also means you will need to wait long for plants to fill in.


General spacing recommendations:

Aegopodium                     12-18"
Anacyclus                          8-12"
Ajuga                                8-12"
Coreopsis                         12-18"
Delosperma                        8-12"
Dianthus                          10-12"
Festuca                            12-18"
Geranium                         12-18"
Hakonechloa                     12-18"
Hellebores                        12-18"
Heuchera                          12-18"
Heucherella                       12-18"
Houttunyia                        14-24"
Iberis                                 8-12"
Isotoma                             8-12"
Lysimachia                        10-12"
Microbiota                         24-36"
Nepeta                              12-18"
Pachysandra                       8-12"
Phlox, creeping                  10-12"
Plumbago                          12-18"
Rosemary                          18-24"
Sagina                                8-12"
Sedum                              10-12"
Sempervivum                       6-8"
Thyme, creeping                10-18"