Choosing Groundcover Plants for Sun

Learn about groundcover plants that will thrive in natural sunlight and grow successfully in your lawn and garden spaces.

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Silvery Groudcovers Ideal for Sunny SitesEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

This shimmering silver design is ideal for sites that receive a lot of sunshine. The dominant groundcover plant is Artemisia schmidtiana "Nana", which runs through the design like a river, pooling around the taller structural plants at the rear. In the foreground the ornamental blue grasses create a textural contrast with their long, spiky blades of foliage. Ornamental pink thrift (Armeria maritime "Splendens") flowers from spring until early summer and adds a splash of color. You will need approximately 6x5 feet (1.8x1.5 m) of space to grow these plants. These grasses, which are best-suited for warm, sheltered gardens, prefer sharply draining soil and full sun.

Materials Needed:

  • 7 Blauglut (Festuca glauca) plants
  • 3 Valerie Finnis (Artemisia ludoviciana)
  • 7 Nana (Artemisia schmidtiana)
  • 3 Silver Spear (Astelia chathamica)
  • 9 Splendens (Armeria maritima)
  • horticultural grit
  • gardening shears
  • horticultural fabric (optional)

Planting and Aftercare

These plants are typical of Mediterranean planting designs and thrive in dry, arid conditions. Add horticultural grit to the soil if it is heavy, and cut back surrounding shrubs and tree branches if they block out any sunlight. Plant the tall Astelia and cut-leaved Artemisia at the back to give the plan some height and plant drifts of the colorful Armeria in front of them. Plant the Artemisia 'Nana' in a zigzag pattern across the center of the bed and finally the grasses in the front. Plant in spring so that the slightly tender Astelia have a chance to establish before the onset of winter. The design is relatively low maintenance: cut back the dead stems of the pink thrift after flowering. The Astelia may need covering with horticultural fabric in cooler areas during winter, and you may need to remove some of the dead grass foliage in spring.

Blauglut (Festuca glauca)

Blauglut Ideal for Sites Receiving Lots of SunEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Valerie Finnis (Artemisia ludoviciana)

Sunny Valerie FinnisEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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