Hardy ground cover plants are an asset to the garden in many ways: On the one hand, they spread across the area and displace annoying weeds. On the other hand, their colorful flowers (if they have any) serve as an important source of food for many bees and insects. And as an added bonus, most varieties retain their leaves all year round - as long as they have the "evergreen" designation. Below we will introduce you to five winter-hardy ground cover plants that are suitable for large areas and sometimes also for the balcony, terrace or even the windowsill.
As the name suggests, this plant is a lemon-scented ground cover. Not only is it hardy and evergreen, but – like ordinary thyme – it can also be used for cooking. Brewed with hot water, the small leaves can be used to make a tasty tea. But what is even more important: Lemon thyme forms dense and sturdy cushions, which is why it is also suitable for (stone) gardens. The height is between ten and 15 centimeters. As far as location is concerned, the plant prefers a sunny to semi-shady place. The pink flowers, however, only appear from May to July.
The evergreen upholstery shrub "Mazus Reptans" (also known as lipmouth) is an equally popular ground cover: its purple flowers, which show their most beautiful side between May and July, look like small butterflies. The hardy plant comes from the Himalayas and is therefore resistant to freezing temperatures. If you keep a distance of 20 to 30 centimeters between each seedling, the ground cover will usually grow 15 centimeters in height - in sunny but also shady locations. If you don't have a garden, you can also use the plant as a bed border.
This hardy ground cover is not only an asset for the garden: bees, bumblebees and butterflies also enjoy the yellowish-green flower umbels of the Andean cushion 'Azorella' in early summer, between May and June. The plant has the great advantage that it grows quickly and densely (five to ten centimeters high), so weeds no longer have a chance. In the cold winter months, the dark green leaf cushion comes into its own particularly well in a sunny to semi-shady place in the (rock) garden or bed, which usually only requires minimal care.
This evergreen ground cover only blooms from spring to late summer, but it also has dark green leaves that catch the eye in winter: Vinca minor 'Blue' (also called small evergreen) is particularly easy to care for and has few demands on its location. Whether sunny, partially shaded or completely shady - the space in the garden can vary. The hardy perennial grows up to 20 centimeters high and prefers a loose, humus-rich soil. The plant rarely needs to be watered unless there is prolonged drought.
The fact that ivy can grow anytime and anywhere is a thorn in the side of many hobby gardeners. The hardy ground cover spreads quickly and is difficult to get rid of. However, if you get involved with the climbing plant, you can enjoy it all year round. The evergreen and vigorous plant is extremely robust, easy to care for and undemanding in terms of location. And what many people don't know: Ivy forms small flower umbels in late summer, which are a real culinary delight for bees. It also displaces unwanted wild growth quickly, effectively and reliably.
One more tip at the end: To ensure that an impenetrable carpet of plants spreads across your garden and displaces unwanted wild growth, you should plant several plants in the ground at as small a distance as possible (20 to 30 centimeters). However, keep in mind that there is a recommended number of pieces per square meter (depending on the variety) that you should stick to.
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