What is your best/favorite ground cover?

Martina DeLucaJune 16, 2011

I need ground cover ideas. I love to fill in places here and there with interesting ground covers.

This is my favorite.....shared by another GWebber. Woodland violet.

This is another favorite...Colocasia Affinis Jenningsii

Please share pics of yours.....



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I love violets! I know they are terribly invasive, but I still love them. Wonder if they will grow here in Gainesville? I tried many times in vain to grow them in my old place, but they always died.

I also love mimosa strigillosa and perennial peanut. Easiest ground covers ever! Only problem I had was that their underground runners kept popping up where they weren't wanted, and sometimes aren't easy to extract from tight places.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 2:38AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

Love those violets! I have whitish wild ones & sweet violets too - is the blue & white a cultivated variety or native wildflower?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 12:30PM
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KaraLynn(z9 FL, Inverness, Citrus)

Chenile, sunshine mimosa (although it's starting to really get out of control!), sedum, and a type of low growing white zinnia are my favotite ground covers for full sun. For shade I don't really have a favorite. I love woodland violets! I tried them once but they really didn't do well.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 12:46PM
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I prefer PAVERS. They are extremely slow growing and never need mowing.
Drought tolerant and are not bothered by overcrowding.
They are not susceptible to any of Florida's nasty bugs.
They survive for years without any fertilizer amendments.
Survive well in the poorest of Florida's soils.
They stand up to foot traffic very well.

There is one drawback however, very difficult to propagate.
You almost always have to buy them at the big box stores.


1 Like    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 2:27PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

Haha, Lou - I like pavers too - did you know you actually can propagate them yourself? Check out Gardenweb's 'Accoutrements' forum & elsewhere on the web, keywords 'stepping stones'...

& I have Sunshine Mimosa also - those stems are tough to dig up when it crawls into beds! But the flowers are so pretty & once established, it never seems to need water.I suspect it fixes nitrogen too...?

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY Stepping Stones

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 10:16AM
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juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl

Some groundcovers in my garden include this little zinnia Maritima Solcito. It started with an $.88 pot from one of the big box stores. It's self-seeded from one year to the next (doesn't travel far so I don't consider it a pest) and does well in this full sun area. The flowers are dime-sized and self-cleaning. I have seeds to share, it anyone is interested.

Purslane isn't "rare" but a healthy patch of it can certainly add to the garden. I remembered this area as being solid orange but somehow yellow and bright pink showed up this year.

Someone else already mentioned acalypha reptans (chenille plant). Here's my patch. It's in the front yard. I get frequent questions from walkers as to what it is. My inspiration was Felix, who showed pictures of this plant in his yard.

This red flowering plant growing beneath the Black and Blue salvia is Brazilian petunia (ruellia elegans). The patch used to be bigger but had to give way to make space for other plants (a problem exacerbated by viewing pictures here on the Florida Forum of the plants grown by others!).

Ledebouria socialis is also known as leopard leaf or silver squill. Originally it was in the ground but something else loved it there too (? snails), because I found the leaves eaten, etc. I gave up and potted it. I was unimpressed with its flowers earlier in the spring but the foliage makes up for it. The bulbs are on top of the soil. The plant is no more than 6" tall.

Our garden club took a tour of a nearby private garden. The owner was planning to redo her shade garden and encouraged any who were interested to take whatever they found interesting. I took a small piece of this begonia (surely she wouldn't rip out the whole bed?). It has thrived in a pot. Earlier this year, it sent out stalks of pale pink flowers, which were stunning against the black foliage. Now that the plant is well established root-wise, I'll try to find a home that it likes in my garden.

This pink verbena was started from a cutting shared by a fellow gardener. It's a great little plant that returns year after year.

Last is this variegated, very low growing, succulent (still being established). I thought it was a variegated aptenia (baby sun rose) but I've seen recent articles ID'ing it as dorotheanthus bellidiformis Mezoo Trailing Red (whew!). Also called Livingstone Daisy. I like the way it contrasts with the green of the coral honeysuckle above. The Mezoo has dime-sized red flowers although I haven't seen many on my planting. Perhaps it doesn't get enough sun in this spot. No matter, I like the foliage. Those dark blobs you see are coffee grounds. When they dry, I "fluff" up the pine straw and the grounds disappear.

That's it for me. - June

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 12:37PM
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Martina DeLuca

Thanks everyone for your suggestions....and funny, Lou.....pavers are definitely less work. LOL

June, thanks for sharing your pics. I love the Z. salcito. I had a plant last year and it didn't make it through winter, nor did it reseed for me. I will definitely try it again after seeing your picture.

I love, love the Silver Quill. I have it now on my want list. I don't have a problem with snails here, so I hope it will do well in the ground.

I love all your pics. Very pretty.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 10:59AM
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Love your pics! The plants look very happy - maybe you've had the rain I'm waiting for?
I use dwarf chenille too and love it.
Seeing your ruellia elegans reminded me of it - I had it at my old house but not here now. Come to think of it, I haven't seen it for sale recently but I will start asking around.
thanks for the reminder!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 12:56PM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

Tina, I love that frilly, delicate violet. I also love the colocasia affinis jenningsii. I have a small patch, but I just went to see if it had come up yet and it gets smaller every year! Finnicky in my yard. You must have the touch.

June, that zinnia is striking! What a nice display it makes. Also love the photo with the ruellia and salvia.

Because we have relatively little grass, much of our yard is groundcover of some sort. Most are mundane since they need to be easy and do well. I love ferns. I have holly fern, large stands of fistail fern and stenochlaena palustris...even climbing a cabbage palm. This is a small stand of wart fern I started last year that is filling in. I can tell this is going to require attention to keep it inbounds every year.

This is a large stand of macho fern under large trees with much shade. I let it overflow over the curb into the street for a naturalistic effect. Nothing else does well in this area:

Continuing with shade, this is a stand of cast iron plant- aspidistra. I also use the common justicia as a ground cover in a couple of areas. You can also see in the distance, I use selloum philodendron as tall ground covers too.

I love this farfugium giganteum for moderate to deep shade. It is expensive, but every time I see one I buy it. Can't get enough of this plant and I have no success at propagating it!

Going to part shade now- I use a lot of landscape begonias like this grape leaf type, and starburst pentas.

Here is another favorite begonia and a coleus that has withstood the last two winters.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but I have small patches of this small, variegated oregano which I think is attractive as a ground cover. Behind is another frillier farfugium that does ok. Hester, those are your begonia cuttings that are established and blooming in that pot!

Another ruellia that is in no way invasive is this hot rio nights. It also likes part shade. The last couple of years I've been planting caladiums. I love them, but need to see if they return well year to year without digging.

I also have some areas of dwarf chenille which I really like. Behind is thurnbergia battiscombei which doesn't look as good since I recently trimmed it and cut off most of the blooms. Great groundcover though. Variegated pineapple clump continues to expand and cover more ground each year. Here you also see a little burle marx philo which I have in several areas of my yard, but which has been hit very hard by cold. I'm hoping it can recover this year.

Here's more of the same philo with alternanthera purple knight and xanadu as groundcovers in part sun.

More of the alternanthera with gold lantana in mostly sun. I love the contrast. I have this same lantana in several areas of my yard and I really like the way it spreads gracefully.

That's it for now. Anna

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 2:13PM
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juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl

Hester: We did have one good downpour last week (including hail!) but, otherwise, we're way short on the rain gauge too. I had been watering more than usual though in prep for a garden club tour. That's now over so the sprinkler's back to its alloted 1x/wk.

Tina, I also like that pretty little violet. The foliage is even attractive.

Anna, it's always a treat to see your pictures. I also have thunbergia battiscombei but mine's on an obelisk - never thought to just let it crawl along the ground (although "up" does allow room for more plants). On the recent garden tour, it was the plant that brought the most inquiries and requests for cuttings. Looking at your plant combinations and compositions is like looking at art. They are so well done and eye catching.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 3:36PM
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I'm a bit late to GW (once again, virus attack sent the computer back to the shop)so just read the last posts. You all seem to like the violet - it looks an awful lot like the Tasmanian violet I've had for years - and have loads long pieces for cuttings if anyone wants one.
Anna - your garden always looks so fabulous. And I'm glad you got the begonias going - I've been taking cuttings and have just stuck them around the yard and they seem to take easily.
Where did you get that hot rio nights ruellia? I like it a lot.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 2:39PM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

June, it's always a treat to see yours! I wish you'd show us more. Your place looks so perfect. Everything perfectly trimmed, neat and tidy and perfectly taken care of. My plant combinations are all trial and error. Some work, some don't. I keep trying though. Thank-you!

Hester, I misspoke. The ruellia is called ruellia elegans, rio red. I think I got it at Crowley's, but haven't seen it anywhere since. It is a way easy plant and you can come over and get as many cuttings as you like. I've propagated it in a couple of areas and will plan to propagate it again when we get a large rain... will we ever? It takes pretty easily. Would love to see you again.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 7:37PM
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Martina DeLuca

Anna, thanks for responding and posting pics. I love seeing pics of your garden. You have given me alot of ideas as well. You have definitely sold me on Farfugium giganteum for sure. I never thought to grow Thurnbergia battiscombei on the ground either. I have one in a pot waiting for a perfect spot.....very interesting....

I always have problems with the variegated Cuban oregano for some reason. Mine is in a pot and looks awful. Maybe I will try planting it to see what it does.

Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 7:17AM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

Tina, I'm glad I sparked an idea. I always get ideas from others. My cuban oregano is the small-leafed type. It looks best in spring and fall, but keeps expanding a bit each year. It seems to like quite a bit of shade here. Can't blame it with weather like this!


    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:50PM
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my front yard garden patch is overtaken by this ground cover :
http://plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com/?p=3444, i really do not like it because it overtaking whole patch i tried to pull it but it comes back with more power, any ideas how to get rid of it?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 10:03AM
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I love my little Dahlberg daisies. They need zero watering and bloom lots of little happy yellow flowers. They self-seed, but haven't gotten out of control.

I have a bunch in front of my agave. They are so delicate looking; I think they make a nice contrast with the upright, spiky agave.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Here's a picture, but my stuff pales in comparison to the other pics on here. Maybe someday I'll have a gorgeous garden like the rest of you.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Martina DeLuca

Becca, I love Dahlberg daisies. Mine never look as good as yours though. I usually use mine in container plantings and they usually lay down or look squished. I think they are a great ground cover when the look like yours.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 8:01PM
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Love those Dahlbergs, too. When they look ratty I give them a flat top and spread the trimmings around the yard. Great plant!


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:28PM
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aroid, I was looking at those violets at a local nursery and they told me they need lots of water, so I was afraid to buy them b/c they'll only get twice a week watering from the sprinklers unless it rains. Do you find that (the need for lots of water)to be true?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:55PM
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Martina DeLuca

I don't find that they need a lot of water at all, Cynthia. Twice a week would work for mine. I'm in a slightly different zone it looks like, but I still think that would be ok. Just make sure they are in partial to full shade.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:59PM
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Thanks, aroid. I would have them in filtered light under some oak trees. I've tried a couple of things there that did not work out. I have some chenille that are kicking butt and the hecheura (bargains from Lowe's) are doing well, but I had bacopa there as well, and something else whose name is escaping me (memory is the first thing to go), both of which croaked.

We are making a little path in an area where the grass does not grow very well and I am looking to spill a groundcover over some stones. Those violets look like they would be very pretty if used for that.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 5:12PM
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I thought I would share how I am spreading my woodland violets around the garden.

I have them planted in an 10" shallow clay pot that sits in a round plastic tray. I keep the tray filled with water at this time of year. With frequent fertilizing, (I foliar feed with water soluable stuff mixed half strength.) it grows out of the pot and onto the ground. There it will root itself after a while.

I then trim around the pot to cut the rooted strands away from the potted plant and then move the whole shebang to the next area. I have a great patch under Clytemnestra and now Miss Atwood is getting the treatment.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 9:22PM
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Red Berm

I found this post through a search on google about groundcovers. So I know it's old but maybe could use a bump. I like Carex pansa and senecio serpens (blue chalk sticks).

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    Bookmark   March 1, 2015 at 10:33AM
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You know, I don't live among ye, but when I'm down in Ft. Myers area, I always hugely enjoy seeing Coonti-Zamia pumila I believe-as a sort of taller groundcover. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, it has value to one or more butterfly species. Just a very handsome plant IMO. Plus, you can't beat native.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2015 at 12:17PM
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Martina DeLuca

Nice pics, Red Berm. I have a new favorite at the moment :)I'm

    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 5:03PM
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What be that, Martina? Foliage reminds me of some of the Persicarias, er....Polygynums, or whatever they're being called this week. That's a nice bloom.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 6:03AM
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Martina DeLuca

Yes, it is Polygonum Capitatum. Thanks.....love it. It spills perfectly over the wall there.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 4:41PM
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Looks great, Martina.

Good to hear from you again.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 6:27PM
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