Hardy Ground Cover Plants for Colder Climates

Ground cover plants have a number of uses in the landscape. Cold hardy plants have the added benefit of providing color during long northern winters.

Benefits Of Ground Cover Plants

Ground cover plants can be used in many situations, including:

  • Erosion control for steep banks or slopes - fast growing ground cover plants can quickly fill in open areas to hold soil in place.
  • In shaded areas under trees or near buildings-ground cover plants can protect tree trunks and structure bases from mower damage.
  • Where shallow tree roots make it difficult to grow grass or other plants-unlike grass, the low water and nutrient requirements of some ground cover plants prevent competition with tree roots.

Cold Hardy Ground Cover Plants

  • Sweet Woodruff (Galium Odoratum) zones 2 - 8 A vigorous, spreading plant, Sweet Woodruff grows well in partial sun to full shade. Fragrant in spring, Sweet Woodruff can be invasive in warmer zones.
  • Ajuga/Carpet Bugleweed (Ajuga Reptans) zones 4 - 9 Growing about 4" high, this ground cover plant creates 8" flower spikes in the spring. Ajuga is easily propagated from smaller runner plants by separating and replanting in the spring.
  • Candytuft (Iberis Sempervirens) zones 3 - 9 This evergreen ground cover plant features snow-white flowers in spring. Attractive to birds and butterflies, Candytuft grows in full sun to partial shade and has average soil and water needs.
  • Cliff Green (Paxistima Canbyi) zones 3 - 6 The glossy, dark green foliage of this low growing plant stays green throughout the winter. Cliff Green requires full sun and moist, organic soil, but requires very little maintenance.
  • Mother-of-Thyme (Thymus Praecox) zones 2 - 8 A fantastic ground cover plant that is covered with pink flowers during the summer. Requires full sun and a dry location, but will tolerate light to moderate foot traffic.
  • Periwinkle (Vinca Minor) zones 3 - 8 A popular ground cover for heavy shade areas, periwinkle features lavender flowers over dark, evergreen foliage. Periwinkle quickly forms a dense mat of growth and will even grow under mature trees.
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Groundcover can be the ideal solution for marginal areas or any part of the landscape where you want low-maintenance plants. Care must be taken, however, to choose plant varieties that won't take over your yard.

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