Types of Low Lying Perennials for Ground Cover


Ground-hugging plants in the landscape will cover large bare areas, reduce soil erosion and replace grass in shady locations. Ground cover is a flexible option for areas that are difficult to plant in and can add color and texture to the garden. Perennial plants that are low-growing will provide interest year after year in the garden.


  • The United States Department of Agriculture categorizes plants according to their cold hardiness. Further classification includes ornamental features and growing habit. Use plants suitable for a particular growing zone to ensure optimal performance.

Herbaceous Plants

  • The roots and crowns of herbaceous perennials survive winter frost while the tops do not. Returning each year, these plants can survive, with care, for many seasons or only last a few years. Crown vetch (Coronilla varia) grows to 1 to 2 feet high, thrives in dry climates and is hardy to zone 4. Pink flowers appear from May through September and extend up to 6 feet. Well suited for banks or wide open areas, crown vetch spreads rapidly and has invasive tendencies.

Evergreen Plants

  • Evergreen ground cover plants maintain colored foliage all year long. Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis), for example, is a vibrant evergreen that thrives in shady locations. Ornamental foliage provides seasonal color, turning from purple in the spring to bright green in the summer to yellow-green in the winter. Pachysandra is hardy in zones 3 to 9 and performs best if planted under taller shrubbery or trees for shade and protection.

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