What's a good ground cover plant that flowers from now until late summer/early fall in Zone 5? We have really sandy/acidic soil with not much sun where I want to put flowers like this.
You could try myrtle, also known as periwinkle or vinca minor. It is an evergreen ground cover with small blue flowers. It is well suited to shady areas. But I don't think it blooms all summer.
In general, perennial plants flower for a few weeks, but come back every year, while most annuals flower for a longer period but need to be replanted each spring. Perennial plants that 'bloom all season long' generally flower sporadically or sparsely - not that much color at any one time.
Some perennials that bloom early will have a second, smaller flush of flowers if they're cut way back after the spring bloom - nepeta (catmint) is one of those, but it prefers a lot of sun.
You could plant a shade-tolerant, summer-blooming ground cover under-planted with spring bulbs to extend the season, but I'm not sure what would work in shade. Hardy geranium, thalictrum (meadow rue), brunera, and epimedium all take shade, but (IMHO) they don't have what you'd call flower power (especially when grown in shade) and the second 2 bloom in spring - right now, in my area.
Thank you for the suggestions! I think I need to post another question about starting a garden because I feel so clueless!
Have you thought about hosta? I have a large area under some pine trees with different kinds of hosta, including variegated and blues. They flower at different times throughout the summer but the flowers are just a bonus. I have interplanted violets (purple and white) that provide early Spring interest.
Have you thought about hosta? I have a large area under some pine trees with different kinds of hosta, including variegated and blues. They flower at different times throughout the summer but the flowers are just a bonus. I have interplanted violets (purple and white) that provide early Spring interest. Mulch and soil conditioner when planting will improve the sandy soil.
Or maybe a tiarella with variegated foliage? They only bloom in spring, but maybe the foliage could provide enough visual interest?
Or 'Biokovo' geraniums -- which don't flower in spring, but flower gently in the summer and provide great foliage color in the fall?
Or a nice mix of hosta, tiarella and geraniums? With some liriope thrown in for texture?
Heuchera comes with lots of different foliage colors. The flowers aren't very impressive, but the foliage can add color.
How does sedum do in shade? It also comes with lots of different shaped and colored foliage.
When you say "ground cover", do you mean something that will be walked on?
One problem is the plants that like salt and sand tend to be things that evolved on the beach, and also like sun. Things that like shade evolved to grow under trees in soil with lots of organic matter from fallen leaves.
Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis var. montana) spreads like crazy and likes shade.
Bearberry loves salt and sand. It's flowers aren't terribly obvious but it has them, and also produces berries in the fall. It doesn't spread very fast though, and likes sun.
Cranberry also produces berries and flowers, and loves sand.
Not really a groundcover, but New England Showy Aster loves sand and salt and has flowers
This post was edited by edlincoln on Tue, May 14, 13 at 12:49