Ground covers are available in a variety of sizes, forms and a range of colors, including shades of green such as gray-green or blue-green, as well as gold, cream, red and purple. New spring growth is usually brighter, darkening as the season progresses. Many ground covers turn purple or red in autumn.
Benefits of Evergreen Ground Covers
Evergreen ground covers can be planted to cover a difficult area such as a slope, a steep bank or next to a house. Some varieties, such as pachysandra, thrive in the shade of a tall tree where nothing else will grow. Often, ground covers serve as a background for colorful annuals or perennials, making the colors seem to pop in contrast. Ground covers can also buffer the hard lines of a sidewalk or driveway, or act as a transition from one area to another. Evergreen ground covers offer winter protection for birds
Needled Evergreen Ground Covers
Spreading junipers, growing to heights of 3 to 4 inches, are effective evergreen ground covers that are tolerant of hot weather and poor, dry soil. "Armstrong" is is a spreading juniper variety with attractive, blue-green foliage. "Compact Pfitzer" boasts bright, green foliage and "Old Gold" displays an interesting green shade. "Deodara cedar" is a spreading cedar that grows to about 12 inches in height. "Feelin' Blue" is a spreading cedar that displays bluish-green foliage. "Prospect Prostate" and "Spreading Star are light green.
Broad-Leaved Evergreen Ground Covers
Broad-leaved evergreens include plants with wider, flatter leaves. Holly is a good example of a broad-leaved ground cover, with bright red berries and shiny, serrated foliage. Euonymus, also known as Wintercreeper, turns from green to purple in winter. Mahonia, or Oregon Grape, has a holly-like appearance. Yellow flowers appear in April and May, followed by dark blue berries. In autumn, Mahonia's foliage turns reddish purple. Japanese spurge, also known as pachysandra, is a lush, spreading ground cover with glossy green foliage.
Caring for Evergreen Ground Covers
Once established, most evergreen ground covers are low-maintenance plants, but a dose of timed-release fertilizer applied every spring will get your ground cover off to a good start on the season. Any fertilizer formulated for trees and shrubs is appropriate. Water ground covers according to the particular needs of each plant. Juniper and deodara cedar prefer sunlight and dry soil. Pachysandra and mahonia require moist, well-drained soil.
- Photo Credit holly image by david purday from Fotolia.com