Groundcovers for Foot Traffic

ThirstyGardener(z5 IL)June 2, 2005

We just installed an xlarge flagstone patio. I want to plant low growing ground covers that can withstand moderate to heavy traffic. I've looked into steppables but want "hands on" advice. I've planted the following in the areas that are not really being stepped on: Veronica repens (Speedwell), Sedum 'dragon's blood' stonecrop, scotch & irish moss, Rupturewort glabra. Not really looking for "flowers" as much as greenery. I want to surrond the stones with shades of green. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

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How about Mazus? It can take alot of walking on. It spreads fast but not invasive.Has really pretty flowers for a month in the spring and can take alot of water

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 4:13PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Thirsty,

About the most foot traffic tolerant "patio stuffer" you can get is woolly thyme, Thymus praecox 'Pseudolanuginosis'. It has gray-green, fuzzy leaves and lavender-pink flowers in early summer. You could also use a variety of the other creeping thymes which come with foliage color ranging from light to deep green and flower colors ranging from white, through the pinks, to a deep rose-pink on T.p. 'Coccineus', red mother of thyme. They're all easy to divide into whatever size you need for planting and very easy to grow. Here's a link to the woolly thyme page on, but you can search for creeping thyme in the "keyword or plant" box to see details about all the others. Some of the creeping thymes get several inches high, so be sure you check the height of any you're considering. Any of the Thymus praecox's should be fine.


P.S. Turkish veronica, Veronica liwensis is another good veronica for this purpose.

Here is a link that might be useful: Woolly Thyme

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 6:25PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

That should be spelled liwanensis. I left out a syllable--sorry 'bout that.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 6:29PM
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Creeping Jenny-Lysimachia nummularia-is a favorite of mine, but can only take light traffic, (it looks fabulous "dripping" into a pond).

I was just browsing the Steppables website and noticed that their descriptions can be conflicting. You are right in looking for first hand experience.

That said, I'd like to know how the Rupturewort glabra that you planted is doing.


Here is a link that might be useful: CREEPING JENNY @ STEPPABLES

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 5:46AM
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I'd be very surprised if Herniaria glabra (rupturewort is its common name) is hardy for you. Most references list it as a zone 7 plant. It is one of my favorite low-growing, traffic tolerating groundcovers, able to withstand a fair amount of shade and drought.

Blue star creeper (Laurentia/Pratia) is also a good choice for sunny areas (or light, dappled shade).

For hot, sunny and dry areas, creeping thymes are ideal. They need very good drainage and flowering will attract bees if that is a concern. Look for woolly under the correct botanical name of Thymus pseudolanguinosus - creeping thymes are Thymus serpyllum cultivars, praecox is a discontinued species name.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 7:52AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi again Thirsty,

Here's a link to another groundcover site, Jeepers Creepers. Just click on the individual plant to check out other things that have been recommended here. They give each one a "walk on" rating of high, moderate, light, or none. They list Herniaria as z5, and I'm in z5, but have never grown it myself, so I don't know anymore about it.

Have fun picking,

Here is a link that might be useful: Jeepers Creepers

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 2:25PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

I, too, have "an extra large flagstone patio. We initially tried thyme, but it did not thrive because it needed more sun. The plants in the cracks were not planned, but just occurred over the years. Among these "invaders are: Asarum europium, Fragaria , Sanguinaria canadensis, Cystopteris fragilis, Astilbe chinensis pumila, Viola labradorica, Viola selkerkii. The latter merits a special mention. It appeared from from whence I know not and for 20-25 years it was a lonely Viola indeed. Then one year it proceeded to pop up in virtually every crack in the patio.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 9:24PM
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amyta(z8 mid GA)

Try Blue Creeper. Works here between my stones.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 8:10PM
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Are there types of steppables that can be trimmed using a power mower (on a high setting)?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 10:27PM
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