Groundcovers That Stay Colorful in Winter

Not all groundcovers are green in winter; some have burgundy, yellow or variegated colors. But these low-growing plants won't quit when the mercury drops.

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Celtic Pride Siberian Cypress

Although deer will eat almost any plant if they're hungry, they tend to leave Celtic Pride Siberian cypress alone. This evergreen shrub grows 1 to 3 feet tall and spreads 48 to 60 inches.

Brass Buckle Ilex

Hardy in zones 5 to 8, Brass Buckle is a dwarf Japanese holly (Ilex crenata) with glossy, yellow-green foliage that stays colorful all year. Plant it in sun or partial shade, in moist, acidic soil with good drainage. The plants spread 12 to 18 inches.

Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow'

Also known as bugleweed, Ajuga's foliage looks good year-round. 'Burgundy Glow' is creamy white, burgundy and dark green, and becomes more bronze in fall. Short, spiky blue flowers open in spring.

White Album Euonymus

White Album euonymus covers the ground with mounds of low-growing, evergreen leaves all winter in zones 5 to 8. This shrub is easy to maintain, needs average watering and tolerates part sun to sun.

Juniper 'Old Gold'

Spreading junipers like 'Old Gold' can be planted approximately three feet apart for groundcovers that hold their color all winter. This slow-growing juniper, which tops out around 2 to 3 feet tall, is an attractive golden-yellow.

Good Vibrations Gold Juniper

Good Vibrations Gold juniper tolerates heat and drought and stays attractive in fall and winter, when its foliage turns more bronze. Give these spreading plants sun and average water; they'll reach 12 to 18 inches in height.

Creeping Thyme

Groundcovers don't just provide color and interest in winter; they can also help control erosion and suppress weeds that try to sprout when the weather warms up. Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum, a mat-forming woolly thyme) is rugged enough to walk on and releases a pleasant scent when crushed.

Liriope 'Big Blue'

Clumping 'Big Blue' liriope is a perennial with grassy "straps" that grow up and spill over, like a fountain. Hardy in zones 5 to 10, it opens lilac-purple blooms in summer.

Candytuft 'Snowflake'

Old-fashioned candytuft 'Snowflake' (Iberis sempervirens) stays green all winter; in spring, a carpet of low-growing, white flowers appear. The plants prefer full sun and are drought tolerant.

Dwarf Mondo Grass

Slow-growing, "no-mowing" dwarf mondo grass is a tough, evergreen groundcover that tolerates shade and needs little water.

European Wild Ginger

Also known as European wild ginger, Asarum europeaum forms a mat of glossy foliage that stays green in mild winter areas. The plants spread slowly and prefer rich, moist soil and shade.


Sometimes called Japanese spurge, Pachysandra terminalis spreads by rhizomes and stays green even in winter. It likes shade but tolerates sun once established. Deer tend to leave it alone, disliking its taste.

Artificial Grass

If you're watching your water usage, consider artificial turf as an attractive, evergreen groundcover. Sunburst Landscaping of Arizona installs synthetic EasyTurf, estimated to last 15 to 20 years, for clients in the drought-stricken Southwest.

English Ivy

English ivy (Hedera helix) keeps its dark green color all winter; the vines can grow as a thick groundcover. But be careful where you plant; this ivy is aggressive enough to climb trees and crowd out native plants.