These low-growing ground cover plants are great for creating an alternative lawn, replacing patches of unused or difficult-to-mow areas, filling spaces between flagstone or pavers, or for creating a âliving mulch.â Low ground covers are useful in small spots, borders, or to lower the edges of larger ground covers. Likes: This ground cover plant prefers dry heat. Virgina Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) Most other native groundcovers spread more slowly. Trees, with their amazing root systems, are considered by ecologists as the best choice for erosion control. Mesic to dry upland forests, woodlands, shaded outcrops, well-drained floodplain forests, seepage swamps, and fens. Insects are attracted to the flowers. Some of the most adaptable groundcovers are native Florida plants, like the beach sunflower, some ferns, and railroad vine. With dark green leaves and dainty white flowers, this plant practically glows in the shade when it blooms in late summer. All parts of Viola sororia are edible.Host Plant Info: Supports Mid-Atlantic native bee pollen specialist Andrena violae; host to at least 27 butterfly and moth caterpillars.For More Information: The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc.; Xerces Society Plants for Pollinators: Violets, *Natural habitat information provided by the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora. â¢ Pimelea prostrata. North Carolina Native Plant Society. In the native plant world, there are few plants commercially available that rise just a few inches from the ground. Copyright by Choose Natives 2020. The starry white flowers that appear in spring brighten the garden and add much interest. In Big Meadows, this deciduous fern is found in woodlands spreading far and wide in large colonies. Excessively planted because of their uniformity, state of perpetual greenness, and alleged low maintenance, English ivy and its cronies have wreaked havoc across North America. In spring the inconspicuous reddish flowers bloom underneath the foliage. Groundcovers are low-growing plants that fill in quickly to make a dense carpet of foliage. Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis): Bring the graceful texture of grasses to your garden in a plant size that wonât overwhelm it. â¢ Acaena microphylla. New York fern (Thelypteris noveboracensis), Sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), Blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), American alumroot (Heuchera americana), Dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata), Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera), Golden alexanders (Zizia aurea), Starry solomon’s plume (Maianthemum stellatum), Carolina elephant’s-foot (Elephantopus carolinianus) … the list is long. Consider planting North American native plants as ground covers. Creeping phloxes generally grow six to eight inches high and can take partial shade to full sun. The success of many invasive plants is due to this means of spreading. 4 Goodenia ovata âÂÂGold Coverâ. â¢ Coprosma neglecta. Native Groundcovers for Full Sun. It’s perfect for wildlife cover.Host Plant Info: Host to three Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species.More Information: Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia; Connecticut Botanical Society, Light Requirement: Part Shade, ShadeSoil Moisture: Moist, DryNatural Habitat: “Mesic to dry upland forests, woodlands, shaded outcrops, well-drained floodplain forests, seepage swamps, and fens.”*Comments: White wood aster is the tallest growing of all the flowering plants listed here and it’s one of my favorites because of how resilient and handsome it is. The large basal leaves are tinged with purple. The dainty masses of flowers attract tiny insects.Host Plant Info: None known.More Information: Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, Light Requirement: Sun, Part Shade, ShadeSoil Moisture: Moist, DryNatural Habitat: “Mesic to dry upland forests, woodlands, and well-drained alluvial forests; more characteristic of old fields, clearings, meadows, pastures, roadsides, and other open, disturbed habitats.”*Comments: Wild strawberry is a wonderful, underused perennial plant that spreads quickly by runners in shade or sun. Native groundcover plants. Native plants support our native wildlife, in particular our birds, butterflies and bees (pollinators). Potted Plants. It tolerates periodic flooding as well as drought; note that it’ll want more shade in dry soils. This species is undeniably more special: it was hybridized with a South American variety to produce the cultivated grocery store fruit we know and enjoy.Host Plant Info: Supports Mid-Atlantic native bee pollen specialist Andrena melanochroa; also host to at least 75 Lepidoptera caterpillars including the gray hairstreak butterfly and the grizzled skipper.More Information: Lake Forest College, Light Requirement: Part Shade, ShadeSoil Moisture: MoistNatural Habitat: “Floodplain forests, mesic to occasionally dry-mesic upland forests, seepage swamps, fens, seeps, stream banks, tidal swamps, and moist meadows; most frequent and numerous in moderately to strongly base-rich soils.”*Comments: This is the native plant that is most commonly recommended as an alternative to English ivy in shady locations. Aussie Sunset Read more. Supports Mid-Atlantic native bee pollen specialists. Native Groundcovers of NC. And, as with all natives, you'll get the added benefit of helping pollinators. It will creep into lawn. These plants provide visual interest at a time when many other plants are completely dormant. This vigorous plant spreads at a moderate pace and is unattractive to deer. While most are grown for their foliage, many have colorful blooms during part of the year. Pay special attention to existing weeds, especially perennial types. 1 Grevillea âÂÂPoorinda Royal MantleâÂÂ. A member of the Pipevine family, Wild Ginger is a host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. Think big. Dislikes: It doesnât like too much moisture. Green-and-gold spreads by rhizomes in optimum conditions which include well-drained soils. Introduced plants may become invasive, outcompeting the natives and not providing the food and cover our native wildlife depends on. The northwest native kinnikinnick can sometimes be found at a native plant nursery. 20 Low-Maintenance Ground Cover Plants to Prevent Weeds From Taking Over 1 Lily of the Valley. I have it growing in dappled shade on the side of our property where I keep it in check by cutting back the vines periodically. Classifying a native plant as a good ground cover often means it is rhizomatous in nature; it spreads easily and forms colonies, in turn holding soil in place. And locally native trees are the best choice, naturally. There are oodles of other benefits that trees provide. Fragaria virginiana is not the weed you typically find in your garden or lawn. 3 Westringia fruticosa âÂÂFlatâÂÂnâFruityâ. Anigozanthos 'Landscape Scarlet' - Kangaroo Paw. It can also be abundantly weedy in lawns, fields, pastures, and many other disturbed habitats.”*Comments: Our common violet is rarely mentioned as a grand groundcover by commercial growers—perhaps because it’s typically found growing in our gardens for free. Aussie Crawl Read more. These introduced plants are also designated as invasive in the Mid-Atlantic and in other parts of our country. It seemed to have all the virtues of a handsome groundcover plant, and I've wondered ever since why I don't encounter it more often in gardens. by Heather McCargo. That means they have absolutely no respect for us and our great American land. Browse the following ground cover articles for more ideas and information. NGIA PLANT OF â¦ Groundcover plants are typically lower-growing species that fill in quickly with a dense carpet of foliage. Seed. This is another ideal plant for a woodland setting or the shady garden.Host Plant Info: None known.More Information: Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia; Wildflowers of the United States, Light Requirement: Sun, Part ShadeSoil Moisture: Moist, DryNatural habitat: “In an extremely wide range of forested to open, natural to ruderal habitats. Native Plant Garden Certification; Plant Gallery and Plant ID; Join Us; Contact Us; Double Trillium Grandiflorium. Note: This is a different plant â¦ It favors, but is not restricted to, more base-rich soils.”*Comments: Frothy spikes of white and pinkish flowers are one of the reasons to plant foamflower. I fantasize about less lawn, too. The stems also root easily.Host Plant Info: Known as a host plant for four native caterpillars.More Information: Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, Light Requirement: Part Shade, ShadeSoil Moisture: MoistNatural Habitat: “Overall the species occurs in cove forests, mesic to dry-mesic slope forests, well-drained alluvial forests, and crevices of shaded rock outcrops. These because they are native, they help to contribute to our ecology by supporting the food web. Note that the fruit is highly toxic when eaten by people. Use the taller ground covers for larger areas â¦ Less than a foot high ground cover plants that are native to California. In this category you'll find natives at their shortest of 4 inches, all the way to 3 feet. An evergreen ground cover plant is beneficial to your garden in two ways, each of which has significant value even when found separately on plants!. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation. And it reseeds like the dickens. I’ve come across wild stonecrop growing on sloped woods with Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica) and although it was not a dense growth, it was nonetheless enchanting. The table below also includes information on a plantâs suitability for dry shade, its tolerance to slight foot traffic, and its resistance to deer. I think it’s one of the showiest of the early bloomers. While it may be one of the toughest (er, tolerant) plants out there, Lily of the Valley looks as... 2 Creeping Thyme. It tolerates dry shade very well. The handsome flat, shiny leaves cover the ground, so most weeds canât penetrate. They easily escape into natural areas and outcompete our essential native plants for resources and, as in the case of English ivy, can climb and smother trees. Grevillea (G.baueri xG.Alpina) x G.Rosmar.Lutea. Low-growing mats of Creeping Thyme are â¦ You don’t have to settle on these narcissistic garden center plants because there are many better, more benevolent options: native alternatives that help instead of harm our planet. It climbs by tendrils with adhesive tips so it doesn’t need support and as another attribute, Virginia creeper does not damage walls. Wild ginger needs well-drained, rich soil; planting it in heavy clay may shorten its life. Yes, invasive! They are not beneficial to wildlife—unless their propensity to harbor rats and help breed mosquitoes counts as critter friendly. It spreads via rhizomes, a trait that can be a double-edged sword. Perennial groundcovers are an indispensable part of any well designed garden. 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