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Perennials and shrubs that form an attractive carpet can be put to good use in the garden, especially when looking for low-maintenance options.
Our top 5 ground cover plants:
Many plants are low-growing and spreading in habit and may be termed ground-cover, but the prime requisite of a good ground cover plant is to provide a rapid, dense cover, to suppress germination and development of weed seeds and to eliminate the need for weed control measures. Such plants are usually evergreens or have densely twiggy growth.
Whatever ground-covering plants are used, some weed control will be necessary until the young plants have established and formed a cover (good soil fertility is therefore very important). They will also need to be kept watered during dry spells in the first season or two, especially if positioned under trees.
Suggested spacings for each plant are given below.
Deciduous shrubs:Cotoneaster horizontalis AGM: 60cm (2ft) apartCytisus scoparius subsp. maritimus: 90cm (3ft) apartGenista hispanica: 60cm (2ft) apartPotentilla fruticosa ‘Manchu’: 90cm (3ft) apartRosa Flower Carpet series: 90cm (3ft) apart
Evergreen shrubs:Arctostaphylos uva-ursi: 30cm (1ft) apart, acid soils onlyBerberis candidula: 90cm (3ft) apartCalluna vulgaris and cvs.: 45–60cm (1½–2ft) apart, acid soils onlyCistus salviifolius ‘Prostratus’ (milder areas): 60cm (2ft) apartCotoneaster conspicuus ‘Decorus’ AGM: 60cm (2ft) apartCotoneaster dammeri AGM, C. salicifolius ‘Gnom’: 60cm (2ft) apartCotoneaster × suecicus ‘Skogholm’: 90cm–1.2m (3–4ft) apartErica carnea and cvs.: 45–60cm (1½–2ft) apart, acid soils onlyErica vagans and cvs.: 60cm (2ft) apart, acid soils onlyEuonymus fortunei ‘Silver Queen’ AGM: 90cm (3ft) apartGaultheria procumbens AGM, G. mucronata: 60cm (2ft) apart, acid soils onlyHebe pinguifolia ‘Pagei’ AGM: 45cm (1½ft) apartHelianthemum ‘Rhodanthe Carneum’ AGM, H. ‘Wisley Primrose’ AGM: 60cm (2ft) apartJuniperus sabina ‘Tamariscifolia’, Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Carpet’ AGM: 1.2m (4ft) apartJuniperus × pfitzeriana, J. rigida subsp. conferta: 90cm (3ft) apartPrunus laurocerasus ‘Zabeliana’, P. laurocerasus ‘Otto Luykens’ AGM: 90cm–1.2m (3–4ft) apartTaxus baccata ‘Repandens’ AGM: 1.5m (5ft) apartRubus ‘Betty Ashburner’, R. tricolor: 45cm (1½ft) apart
Herbaceous perennials:Alchemilla mollis AGM: 45cm (1½ft) apartBergenia ‘Morgenröte’: 45cm (1½ft) apartCornus canadensis AGM: 45cm (1½ft) apartGeranium macrorrhizum ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’ AGM: 45cm (1½ft) apartGeranium × riversleaianum ‘Russel Prichard’: 45cm (1½ft) apartSymphytum ibericum : 45cm (1½ft) apart
Evergreen perennials:Epimedium perralderianum: 45cm (1½ft) apartPersicaria affinis ‘Darjeeling Red’ AGM: 45cm (1½ft) apartStachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’: 45cm (1½ft) apartWaldsteinia ternata: 45cm (1½ft) apart
Herbaceous:Ajuga reptans ‘Caitlin’s Giant’: 45cm (1½ft) apartGalium odoratum: 30cm (1ft) apartStephanandra incisa ‘Crispa’: 90cm (3ft) apart
Evergreen:Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae, Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’: 60cm (2ft) apartFragaria vesca ‘Semperflorens’: 45cm (1½ft) apartHedera colchica ‘Dentata Variegata’ AGM, H. hibernica AGM: 90cm (3ft) apartHypericum calycinum: 45-60cm (1½-2ft) apartLamium galeobdolon, L. maculatum ‘Beacon Silver’: 60–90cm (2–3ft) apartLeucothoe fontanesiana AGM: 90cm (3ft) apart, acid soils onlyLysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’: 45cm (1½ft) apartMahonia aquifolium: 60–90cm (2–3ft) apartPachysandra terminalis AGM: 30cm (1ft) apart, acid moist soils onlyRubus ‘Betty Ashburner’, R. tricolor: 45cm (1½ft) apartVaccinium vitis-idaea: 60cm (2ft) apart, acid soils onlyVinca minor: 60cm (2ft) apart
Gravel gardenGreen roofsLow maintenance gardeningPlants for under treesScreening: plants forShrubsSteep banks and slopesWeeds: non-chemical control
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Myriamns on 18/05/2014
I have a real problem with slugs any ideas?
noreen on 19/05/2014
when do I cut down my sedge/grass?
Jon Hopworth on 30/09/2015
Before you plant, I'd recommend clearing the area first by laying down something like this for a couple of weeks. http://www.qvsshop.co.uk/weed-control-fabric-63-c.asp
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