Ground cover protects the earth from temperature fluctuations, from excessive heat and rapid drying out, but also from the cold and from rapid freezing of the soil. The roots keep the soil loose and reasonably moist, even when it is dry. They also provide humus and that is important. The choice of evergreen ground cover is large. I once brought together some interesting plants and put them together according to their location, i.e. whether they like sun or shade. However, there are a large number of ground cover plants that do shed their leaves in very cold winters. That is a protective function.

Evergreen ground cover for sunny locations

Loquat – Cotoneaster dammeri radicans
Loquat is a classic, evergreen and hardy ground cover. It literally crawls across the ground and forms white flowers and then red berries. You can enjoy the fruits well into winter. The loquat clings to all overhangs and overhangs on its way. It is an ideal ground cover and suppresses almost all weeds.
Besides the loquat you can also use the cotoneaster eg Cotoneaster dammeri Coral Beauty, Cotoneaster dammeri Eichholz or Cotoneaster dammeri Jürgl.

  • Size. 10 to 20 cm high and up to a meter wide
  • Growth per year: 20 to 50 cm
  • Flowering: in May / June
  • Plant requirement: 5 to 8 plants per square meter

Hedge myrtle – Lonicera nitida Elegant
The hedge myrtle is also a classic evergreen ground cover. It convinces with its dense foliage in a beautiful fresh green color. The flowers are creamy white and rather inconspicuous, but numerous. The fruits are purple berries. The hedge myrtle prefers a sunny to maximally partially shaded location and is very soil-tolerant. The plant is very cut-resistant and can be brought into any shape.

  • Size: up to 100 cm high and 100 to 150 cm wide
  • Growth per year: 10 to 20 cm
  • Blüte: Mai
  • Plant requirement: 2 to 5 plants per square meter

Small-leaved evergreen – Vinca minor
This carpet-like, evergreen subshrub spreads quickly via ground shoots. In contrast to other evergreen ground cover plants, the flowers here also have an ornamental value. There are different varieties, with white or blue flowers. The plants thrive on loose, nutrient-rich soils and in the sun, partial shade or shade. If the location is unfavorable, the carpet will not be very dense and enough weeds can still grow.

  • Size: 10 to 15 cm
  • Growth per year: weakly growing
  • Flowering: May and mostly a sparse second flowering in September
  • Plant requirement: 10 to 12 plants per square meter

Cinquefoil plumage – Cotula potentillina
This plant is a sun worshiper and ideal as a ground cover for sunny locations. It grows like a carpet and spreads well. However, the winter hardiness is not exactly good, -10 ° C is not a problem, but it shouldn’t get much colder. The flowers are pale yellow and rather inconspicuous, but the leaves look great. They are more reddish brown to brown than green, never uniform, so there is always life on the carpet of leaves. The soil should be well drained and, if possible, not entirely without nutrients. Hardly any maintenance is required in optimal locations.

There are different plumage pads, e.g. the green plumage pad, the garden plumage pad, the dark plumage pad and others.

  • Size: 3 to 5 cm high, but quite wide
  • Growth per year: spreads well, but about 15 cm all around
  • Flowering period: July to August
  • Plant requirement: 8 to 10 plants per square meter

Sturgeon (Geranium)
There are so many varieties of geraniums out there. All of them are not to be confused with our popular pelargonium. Not all cultivars and species are evergreen. The cranesbill usually prefers a slightly damp but not wet location and does not like it too hot. Of course, exceptions always confirm the rule. The individual species and varieties differ in their foliage and flower colors. The plants are very adaptable and reproduce well. They are great ground cover, but actually also beautiful garden perennials. Some can get quite tall, but all of them get dense and they multiply very easily. Every now and then you have to stop them. Most cranesbills are very long-lived and fast-growing. In order to loosen up larger areas, it is advisable to combine different types in groups.

  • Size: from 15 to 40 cm, depending on the type and variety
  • Growth per year: different, but spreading well
  • Flowering: mostly long flowering time, but depending on the variety, some varieties from May to August
  • Plant requirement: 6 to 8 perennials per square meter

Weißer Silberwurz – Dryas octopetala
The white silver root is an evergreen espalier shrub with low, lying and woody shoots. These cover large areas. The shoots can each be one meter long. The flowers are pure white or creamy white with a yellow center. The white silver arum is a mountain plant that thrives best at altitudes between 1,200 and 2,500 meters. Some species are suitable for rock gardens. All in all, they are very frugal plants. They can live to be 100 years old if they are well-positioned.

  • Size: 5 to 15 cm high
  • Annual growth: 15 to 20 cm
  • Flowering period: June to August
  • Plant requirement: 10 plants per square meter

Evergreen ground cover for shady locations

Evergreen spindle bush – Euonymus fortunei Darts Blanket
The evergreen spindle bush is a classic among the shade-loving evergreen ground cover plants. It grows quickly and becomes dense. It also pushes itself up walls and is used as a climbing plant. Its flowers are small and inconspicuous, its fruits orange, but also not very decorative. The leaves are very beautiful when it is frosty, when they change color and turn purple. The plant likes sunny to partially shaded places, but it also gets along well with shade.

In addition to the evergreen spindle bush, there are several other evergreen spindle bushes, for example the white crawler, the yellow crawler and the carpet dwarf spindle.

  • Size: about 50 cm high and 50 to 100 cm wide
  • Growth: 20 to 30 cm per year
  • Flowering period: June / July
  • Plant requirement: 3 to 5 plants per square meter

Common ivy – Hedera helix
The best known evergreen ground covering shade plant is the ivy. This is suitable both as a ground cover and as a climbing plant. With its adhesive roots, it can also climb smooth surfaces. It does best in a shady location and likes slightly moist soil. The flowers are inconspicuous green-yellow and grow in umbels. The fruits are black-blue and spherical. The plant forms thick green carpets.

In addition to the classic ivy, there are other types of ivy that are suitable as ground cover, e.g. the large-leaved ivy (ideal ground cover), the curly-leaved ivy (somewhat frost-sensitive in some locations), the oval-leaved ivy Ovata, the large-leaved ivy Remscheid (dark foliage) and other.

  • Size: up to 12 m high or even wide, depending on how you let it grow
  • Growth in the year. 20 to 75 cm, some varieties up to 2 meters
  • Flowering period: September to October
  • Plant requirement: 5 to 8 plants per square meter

Dickmännchen – Pachysandra terminalsi
The low fat man is an ideal ground cover for partially shaded to shady locations. The flowers are white, rather inconspicuous and unfortunately have no scent. The fruits are also inconspicuous. The fat man is sensitive to surface compaction. The plant also needs a long time to root and until the first runners are formed. A very good variety is ‘Green Carpet’.

  • Size: 15 to 20 cm high and just as wide
  • Growth per year: 5 cm, slowly growing
  • Blüte: Mai
  • Plant requirement: 6 to 9 plants per square meter

Elven flower
The delicate angel flowers are perennial summer or winter green plants, depending on the species and variety. The flower colors range from yellow to white or even pink. The best ground cover of this type is the yellow elven flower (Epimedium x perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’). Their beautiful green foliage forms dense carpets through which weeds can no longer penetrate. In spring, numerous yellow flowers adorn the forest of leaves. The plants thrive best in partial shade or shade. You need humus-rich and not too dry soil. Too much sun can cause burns, especially in winter.

  • Size: 20 to 30 cm, new varieties also higher, rather small in size
  • Growth per year: very manageable, slowly growing
  • Flowering period: April to May
  • Plant requirement: about 10 plants per square meter

Carpet Golden Strawberry or Waldsteinie – Waldsteinia ternata
This flat growing evergreen ground cover forms very dense stands. The leaves are a nice green. The flowering time is short, but the flowers appear profuse. The carpet golden strawberry prefers shady to shady locations and needs soil rich in humus and not too dry. The more shady the plant is, the fewer flowers will form. If the conditions are good, the plant will multiply quickly. It forms runners above ground. Sometimes it can become a nuisance, but it can be contained well.

  • Size: 10 cm high and 30 cm wide
  • Growth per year: manageable, not much
  • Flowering period: April to May
  • Plant requirement: 10 to 12 plants per square meter

Hazel root – Asarum europaeum
This native wild shrub impresses with its dense, dark green, glossy leaves. The inconspicuous brownish-red flowers have hardly any ornamental value. The perennial, which is only 10 cm high, likes quiet partially shaded or shady locations under trees and a nutrient-rich and calcareous soil. She can only tolerate winter sun badly, which can lead to burns.

  • Size: 10 to 15 cm high and 25 cm wide
  • Growth per year: slow growing, max. 5 cm
  • Flowering: March / April
  • Plant requirement: about 12 to 15 plants per square meter

Evergreen ground cover is ideal for areas that should overgrown and where weeds should no longer stand a chance. The choice is usually more varied for shady places. Many of the evergreen plants find it difficult to cope with winter sun. You just have to choose the types and varieties well. Ultimately, there is the right plant for every area and every soil. Ground cover does a good job in the garden by relieving us gardeners of pulling weeds. Especially those who have large areas to green, but cannot use a lawn due to the unfavorable location, are well advised to use evergreen ground cover.

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