Ground cover refers to the low-growing variety of plants that have a running, trailing or spreading growth habit. Using ground cover plants is a great way to add dimension and interest to the landscape design of your property, while lowering maintenance costs.
With rising energy costs and local watering restrictions, many property owners have decided to include a variety of ground covers plants to enhance the look of their landscaping.
Generally, ground cover plants need less water and are easy to maintain, making them an excellent choice as a substitute for turf grass. They can also replace turf grass in shady locations or in spaces where mowing is not practical. In addition to minimizing erosion on steep slopes, planting ground cover provides a cooling effect during hot summer months.
These are 5 of the best ground cover plants for North Texas
Ajuga: A vigorous perennial ground cover, Ajuga provides a lush mat of dark-colored foliage that spreads by runners. This fast growing plant has medium heat tolerance and water requirements. Ajuga blooms in a deep, dark blue foliage in a range of colors from greens, bronzes, multi-colors and purplish blacks. Since Ajuga prefers shade with light morning sun, it is ideally used under trees and other heavily shaded areas. Ajuga provides an attractive accent when it is grown between stepping-stones, in a rock garden or as a low border.
Asiatic Jasmine: This dense evergreen plant is a popular choice for many North Texas property owners. Asiatic jasmine can tolerate the hot, dry conditions of a Texas summer, but it is also well suited for shady areas. It is a hardy plant that is generally resistant to weeds and pest problems. Although Asiatic jasmine is a popular choice, it is not a replacement for turf grass in all situations. Since it is vine-like and forms a mat of growth, it is not as easy to walk on as turf. Install Asiatic jasmine in areas with little or no foot traffic.
Lamb’s Ear: Known for its soft, silvery-green fuzzy leaves, Lamb’s Ear is a low mounding perennial, not easily penetrated by weeds. This ground cover plant is extremely drought tolerate and flourishes in dry, sunny conditions.
Lamb’s Ear requires little watering, in fact over-watering can lead to rot. Lambs Ear spreads quickly, with very little maintenance and works well when filling in beds or along a border. In mixed beds, Lamb’s Ear is beautiful when combined with coreopsis.
Liriope: Also known as monkey grass and lilyturf, this low growing ornamental grass grows in dense evergreen clumps that a form solid mass planting. In late summer through fall, Liriope produces a blue-purple spike of flowers. Another variety called Aztec Grass has soft, almost grey green foliage with white stripes.
Liriope is exceptionally drought tolerant and grows in almost any soil. It is often used as a border or to fill in small areas to underplant trees.
Vinca: Cora and Nirvana Vinca (commonly referred to as periwinkle) are heat tolerant and pest and disease resistant perennials. Available in a wide array of colors, this upright-growing plant produces numerous blooms throughout the summer. Like Lamb’s Ear, Vinca is sensitive to over-watering. However, proper irrigation control will solve this problem. It rarely needs to be watered more than twice a week and thrives in the heat. Vinca is ideal for container planting and looks great in hanging baskets when combined with other trailing type plants, such as Texas Wisteria and sweet potato vines.
Selecting the right combination of perennials, ground cover and ornamental grasses can have a significant impact on your water and maintenance costs by reducing the high labor of mowing and trimming.