13 Low-Growing Perennial Groundcovers

Need help covering bald spots in your yard or keeping down weeds in your garden? These hardy, easy-to-maintain plants may be the answer to your landscaping woes.

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Function as Well as Beauty

Perennial groundcovers can add color and texture to a garden, but they can also control erosion, suppress weeds and function as a filler between larger plantings. Some groundcovers can even be used as an alternative to a grassy lawn, which can be a labor-intensive water waster. You could plant wild thyme in your yard and park your lawnmower forever. Here’s a selection of low-growing perennials that can make your life easier.

Ajuga

Commonly called bugleweed, this groundcover has attractive foliage ranging in color from purple to chartreuse, depending on the type. In the spring it produces short spikes of low-growing flowers in blue, pink or white. Ajuga will spread quickly in the shade.

Learn More: All About Ajuga

Lamb’s Ear

This classic, old-fashioned groundcover has fuzzy, silver-green leaves that grow into low mounds. It bears spikes of pink or purple flowers in the summer and spreads by sowing its own seeds.

Creeping Thyme

Wooly thyme provides color and interest in winter and helps control erosion and suppress weeds when the weather warms up. It is rugged enough to walk on and releases a pleasant scent when crushed, so plant it in between pavers or next to a pathway.

Lamium

Also known as deadnettle, this easy-care groundcover spreads via stems that root as they grow. It’s a shade lover with silvery foliage that blooms in the summer, producing clusters of pink or white flowers.

Mondo Grass

A favorite of Southern gardeners, Mondo is dense clumps of grassy foliage that can range in color from deep purple to striped green. In the summer it bears spikes of flowers in blue, pink or white. Use it to edge borders or plant it close together to completely cover an area.

Lily of the Valley

This shade-lover produces white, bell-shaped flowers that smell very sweet. It grows to six inches in height and spreads by sending out roots that sprout baby plants.

Learn More: Shade Perennials

Creeping Jenny

This plant’s round, chartreuse leaves grow on trailing stems that creep along the ground, rooting as it grows. It’s one of the fastest-spreading low-growing perennials. Use it to light up beds with color and provide contrast to other plants.

See More Photos: 25 Shade-Loving Plants for Containers and Hanging Baskets

Vinca

Commonly known as periwinkle, this popular perennial groundcover has shiny, evergreen leaves and lavender-blue flowers on trailing stems. It spreads by creeping on the ground, putting out roots as it goes. Vinca grows very quickly and can be aggressive.

See More Photos: 15 Perennial Vines

White Stonecrop

Also known as Sedum Album, this creeping evergreen features dense foliage that grows to four inches tall and spreads 12 to 19 inches. In midsummer, it produces tiny clusters of white flowers that attract butterflies. White stonecrop provides year-round interest with its reddish-brown leaves in the fall and winter. Plant in containers or use as groundcover between stepping stones.

Liriope

Also known as monkey grass, this hardy perennial has grassy "straps" that grow up and spill over like a fountain. Liriope is drought-resistant and can thrive in full sun or deep shade. In the summer, it sprouts spikey lilac-purple blooms.

Creeping Phlox

Also known as moss phlox, this attractive and easy-to-grow groundcover is completely covered in fragrant flowers when it blooms in the early spring. The flowers appear in candy-colored shades of pink, purple, blue and white. Creeping phlox grows about 8 inches tall and creates a carpet of color that's perfect for the front of a border garden, slopes or rock gardens.

Learn More: Growing Phlox Varieties

Sandwort

This pretty little ground cover is perfect for rock gardens, slopes or containers in sunny or partially sunny locations. It grows 6 inches tall and produces a tight, moss-like mat of shiny dark green foliage that can spread 12 inches wide. Sandwort is smothered in masses of white flowers in early spring.

Mazus

This pretty sun-loving creeper grows just 2 to 4 inches tall. It features narrow, bright green foliage that resembles a plush carpet and is a great choice for rock gardens and hillsides. Mazus produces masses of blue or white funnel-like blooms in the spring and early summer.

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