This article was reviewed by Steve Snedeker, professional landscaper.
Have you been searching for a ground cover plant to fill your lawn in and choke out weeds that is also low maintenance?
Nobody wants to spend all spring and summer weeding their lawns and gardens. Well, you've come to the right place.
We've put together this guide to help you find the perfect solution for your yard.
- Creeping Thyme
- Phlox Subulata
- Wild strawberry
- Trailing Rosemary
- Dragon's Blood Sedum
- Creeping Jenny
- Phlox Stolonifera
- Mazus Reptans
All of these plants will cover your garden and choke out weeds, but they have other benefits. Some of these plants have added benefits like use in teas and seasonings.
Others flower during certain times of the year, and some stay mostly green with very few flowers. Keep reading learn more about each plant, and discover the perfect ground cover for you.
10 Ground Cover Plants that will Keep Weeds Away
Each plant on the following list will act as both an effective ground cover and a preventative measure for weed growth. Let's check out the list:
1. Creeping Thyme
Using Creeping Thyme for ground cover comes with many benefits. It has a lovely scent, can be used in cooking, and creates a soft, full, and plush terrain.
Creeping Thyme spreads by sending runners underground that choke out other plants, including weeds.
It has a maximum growth height of about four inches, which is considered the ideal height for lawns, and beautiful pink, purple or blue flowers.
UtopiaSeeds Creeping Thyme Seeds produce plants with purple flowers, there are 8,000 seeds per order, plenty for your whole yard.
2. Phlox Subulata
Also known as Creeping Phlox, or Moss Phlox, this plant forms fluffy purple or white flowers in a thick mat. It creates an enchanting look on any yard with cloud-like formations of purple flowers.
The dense carpet of flowers chokes out weeds by preventing sunlight from reaching beyond its bushy growth.
Phlox Subulata seeds from Isla's Garden Seeds produce a phlox with purple flowers, and they come with 1,000 seeds per order.
Moss is a great option for ground cover in low-light areas, and it forms a thick, plush carpet of green.
It spreads quickly and prevents weeds from growing by forming tight to the ground and blocking light.
You can propagate your own moss by finding live moss outdoors and transplanting it in your yard.
Make a moss slurry for larger areas and spread it in your yard by placing some Moss, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of buttermilk into a blender.
Living Moss Fresh Sheet Moss comes in a 9" x 13" sheet that you can transplant, or use to make a slurry.
4. Wild Strawberry
Using Wild Strawberry plants as ground cover is a fun way to create a low-maintenance yard.
The berries are edible and can be harvested, but these plants don't typically grow as many berries as the more well-known fruit-bearing varieties.
This plant is a great option for bird watchers and nature lovers, attracting wildlife to the yard to find its sweet fruit. It spreads using underground runners that choke out other plants and weeds and only rises about four inches off the ground.
Cozy Crib Sweet Wild Strawberry Seeds come in a pack of 100, and the plants spread quickly once they take root.
5. Trailing Rosemary
This delicious and fragrant herb makes for surprisingly good ground cover. Another beneficial factor of rosemary is that insects hate the smell and try to avoid it.
It does best in dry, low-nutrient soil, and it is extremely drought resistant. On slopes and overhangs, it falls over with gravity, creating fountains of lush greenery.
6. Dragon's Blood Sedum
This ground cover plant has fantastic deep red tones which darken through the summer and fall. It chokes out weeds with its dense foliage and spreads quickly.
This ground cover option may need to be trimmed to a desirable height, as it can grow up to six inches tall.
7. Creeping Jenny
Also known as Moneywort, this plant has green leaves that become yellow when they get good sun exposure.
It spreads quickly, and its round flat leaves block light, choking out weeds.
Creeping Jenny hangs nicely over edges and loves moisture, making it good for wet areas and aquariums.
It also has medicinal qualities and has been used to help heal wounds since the middle ages.
8. Phlox Stolonifera
This Phlox loves shady areas, unlike the Subulata variety, which prefers sun. It also has more greenery than its relative, with flowers more spaced and less cloud-like.
Stolonifera still works great as a ground cover, choking out weeds with its runners and density.
9. Mazus Reptan
This plant only grows to heights of two inches, making it virtually maintenance-free. Mazus loves sunny areas but does well in the partial sun too.
It has small blue flowers scattered among seas of lush green foliage and spreads quickly on above-ground runners.
10. White Dutch Clover
White Dutch Clover is a popular alternative to grass, and until you get up close, they're almost indistinguishable. It stays very short, suffocates weeds, and aerates your soil.
The white flowers it produces to attract pollinators, but this ground cover is mostly green just like grass. This is a great option if you don't want a bright, flowery ground cover.
Outside Pride White Dutch Clover Seed is the perfect alternative to grass, this 5-pound pack of clover seed will cover large lawns.
Will Ground Cover Choke Out Other Plants?
Yes, plant species ideal for ground cover will hinder the growth of other plants and weeds. You can contain most ground cover species with barriers to prevent them from growing over plants you want to keep.
Plan out your use of ground cover plants before you begin transplanting them, and try to account for how far they will spread.
How Do You Keep Weeds From Growing In Ground Cover?
Usually, there isn't much you will need to do to stop weed growth with ground cover plants. Most species will deal with weeds on their own once established, but when they are young you may need to pull nearby weeds to help them along.
Ground cover species are usually dense enough, once mature, that they can choke out weeds with light deprivation alone.
What Is The Best Low-Maintenance Ground Cover?
The best ground cover will vary by region or the conditions in your yard. In dry, hot places that don't see much rain, Rosemary is a great drought-resistant option.
In very wet areas, or near water, Creeping Jenny will thrive. Moss does great in the shade, and Phlox Subulata prefers bright, sunny areas.
Can I Use Ground Cover Instead Of Grass?
Ground cover plants can replace grass, and many people prefer it over grass because it requires less maintenance.
Ground cover plants can eliminate the need to spend hours caring for your lawn.
Most varieties stay short naturally so you don't need to mow it, and they keep weeds at bay too.
If you have a Homeowner's Association in your neighborhood, you should check with them before planting any new species.
Covering All Bases
Now that you know all the best plants to use for ground cover, you can plan how to arrange them in your yard.
Use this guide to determine which plants will best suit your yard while adding to your home's curb appeal. Remember to carefully plan your landscaping, accounting for plants that spread. Have fun gardening!
If you want ground cover plants that have long-lasting flowers, read our article "10 Ground Cover Plants That Bloom All Summer."
If you want to learn more about how quickly ground cover plants will establish themselves in your yard read our article "How Fast Do Ground Cover Plants Grow?"