Growing Ground Covers

Common silverweed

Low-growing ground covers are ideal for planting along a garden border. They support taller plants, preventing them from flopping over the garden edge, while allowing them to remain visible. They’re also a great way to gradually expand your garden to replace high-maintenance lawn with attractive, pollinator-friendly habitat.

When adding ground covers to your garden, use potted plants instead of seed. Plant ground covers closely together (approximately 15-20 centimetres apart) for faster establishment and quicker coverage. To reduce competition from weeds, keep bare soil between new plants covered with a six-to-eight-centimetre layer of mulched leaves or wood chips until the plants grow large enough to cover the ground. Periodic hand-weeding will still be required.

Common silverweed, common blue violet and wild strawberry are great native ground covers because they stay short, growing less than 20 centimetres tall, and spread well. These species can also tolerate light foot traffic and mowing, so let them spread beyond your garden into the lawn. Set your mower’s blades high to avoid cutting too much of the ground cover. Try to leave the blooms for hungry pollinators.

Discover more native ground covers for shade or sun, refer to CVC’s Woodland Plants for Landscaping and Prairie & Meadow Plants for Landscaping plant lists.

Main photo of common silverweed by: Melissa McMasters

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