Small creeping plants offer solutions for spots in your garden or yard where it's difficult to plant traditional flowers or shrubs. Groundcovers can fill sloping areas, creep between rocks and stepping stones or brighten up the space below a tree. They also provide an attractive look for areas where grass is difficult to grow or maintain. Herbaceous groundcovers die back to the ground in the winter, so choose evergreen creeping plants if you need color all year long.
Short Herbaceous Plants
Your creeping plant alternatives in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 8 include Thymus praecox or creeping thyme, an herbaceous perennial which grows 3 to 6 inches tall. It likes sun or light shade and well-drained soil. It offers drought tolerance, attracts bees and produces purplish-pink flowers in the summer. Golden creeping speedwell is another herbaceous choice, reaching a height of 1 to 4 inches. It needs full sun and regular watering. This plant produces blue flowers in the summer and is deer resistant. You can grow it in zones 4 through 9.
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Short Evergreen Plants
Spreading wintergreen is a short evergreen groundcover for zones 3 to 7. It needs light to moderate shade and prefers acidic soil with even moisture. It produces pinkish-white flowers in the spring. Creeping Jenny is an evergreen ground cover that only grows 2 inches high. It has yellowish-green leaves throughout the growing season and bright yellow flowers in the summer. It produces its best color in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. You can grow creeping Jenny in zones 2 through 10. Its leaves turn an orange-bronze hue in the winter.
Midsize Creeping Plants
Creeping blueberry grows 6 to 12 inches tall and is hardy in zones 7 through 9. This evergreen groundcover likes acidic, sandy soil that is well-drained. It needs sun or light shade and offers moderate drought tolerance. A deciduous option in this height group is creeping phlox, which can grow in zones 3 to 9. Phlox needs partial or full shade and delivers purple, white or pink flowers in the spring. Creeping liriope grows 8 to 12 inches high and likes partial shade or shade. This evergreen plant produces pale violet and white flowers in mid- to late summer. Its ability to adapt to adverse conditions can create some invasive tendencies. Creeping lilyturf grows quickly to a height of 12 inches in zones 5 to 11. This evergreen offers white blooms in summer and early fall. It likes partial sun and weekly watering.
Creeping cotoneaster reaches a height of 1 to 1 1/2 feet and is suitable for zones 4b to 7. It can tolerate a variety of conditions, but it prefers moist, well-drained soil and sun to light shade. This evergreen produces small, white flowers in the spring and tiny, red fruit in the fall.
- Fine Gardening: Cover Ground with Creeping Plants
- University of Illinois Extension: Tips to Consider When Adding Groundcovers to Your Landscape
- NC State University: Scientific Name Thymus praecox
- Monrovia: Golden Creeping Speedwell
- NC State University: Scientific Name Gaultheria procumbens
- Wilson Bros Landscape: Creeping Jenny
- Fine Gardening: Lysimachia nummularia
- NC State University: Scientific Name Vaccinium crassifolium
- NC State University: Scientific Name Phlox stolonifera
- NC State University: Scientific Name Liriope spicata
- Monrovia: Creeping Lilyturf
- NC State University: Scientific Name Cotoneaster adpressus