Ground covers are plants that have only one function – to cover a desired garden area quickly, effectively, densely and without much effort. It goes without saying that they have to please the eye. As a rule, these are species that do not exceed 60 cm in height, but spread several meters sideways. Most ground covers are very easy to care for, undemanding and can thrive in both sun and semi-shade, in both fertile and nutrient-poor soils. They often grow where other plants can hardly take root. But who are really the masters of rapid growth? Which ground covers can you really rely on to turn your landscaping plans and dreams into reality in the shortest possible time? In today’s article we would like to introduce you to some fast-growing ground cover species that are not only fast-growing, but also easy to care for and of course very pretty.
Fast Growing Ground Covers – Which Are Your Favorites?
Lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor)
Lesser periwinkle is getting a lot of attention this year, and with good reason. Its beautiful lavender blue and aromatic petals have inspired the color specialists at Pantone, who dedicated their new color of the year – Very Peri. The name derives from the English term for this amazing little fast-growing groundcover plant – Periwinkle.
But the small periwinkle also cuts a fine figure in the garden. As you can already tell from the name, this groundcover is evergreen, perennial and, despite its delicate appearance, very robust and hardy. It can easily withstand winter temperatures down to -20 degrees.
The small periwinkle thrives well in sunny, partially shaded as well as in shady locations. The only requirement is well-drained soil rich in humus and nutrients. To encourage its growth even further, fertilize with compost tea twice a year.
The flowers of this ground cover inspired the color of the year 2022
The small periwinkle grows fast and dense
Wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
If you are looking for a groundcover that not only looks stunning and grows quickly, but also fills the garden with an irresistible aroma, then Wild Thyme is the perfect plant for you. It gives the garden beds beautiful purple color accents and spreads very quickly.
Wild thyme prefers sunny and dry locations. The soil should be well drained, loose, sandy, loamy and acidic with a pH between 4 and 6. Ideal for rock gardens and borders. This plant thrives in soil that lacks many important nutrients. If you have found that your garden does not have particularly fertile soil, then wild thyme is very suitable for you.
This groundcover is not only visually appealing, but also a medicinal and aromatic herb. Although its scent and effects are not as strong as those of common thyme, it can be used dried for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Wild thyme tea is very effective against gastrointestinal diseases and cold symptoms.
Wild thyme can take root almost anywhere
Its scent is particularly intense when you crush the leaves and flowers
Cushion phlox (Phlox subulata)
The cushion phlox is another fast-growing groundcover with impressive decorative as well as practical benefits for the garden. As you can already see from the name, this plant forms very dense, often overhanging “carpets” of standing single shoots, which very effectively prevent soil erosion. As a result, weeds and the associated problems such as e.g. B. vermin suppressed.
From April to June, cushion phlox enchants with lush flowering. There are now several varieties that cover practically every color of the rainbow. Cushion phlox can produce white, lavender, pink, purple, and multicolored flowers. You can plant different varieties next to each other and create real floral images in the garden.
This ground cover makes a wonderful addition to rock gardens, dry stone walls or foundation plantings as it prefers a sunny spot and loamy, gritty soil. Two feedings a year with an organic flower fertilizer are sufficient.
Fast-growing ground cover leaves no chance for weeds
The cushion phlox forms lush and dreamlike carpets of flowers
Lip mouth (Mazus reptans)
The cleft lip forms dense bushes like the cushion phlox, but is significantly smaller. But this is by no means a disadvantage. The small size but rapid growth of the cleft lip makes it perfect for planting in stepping stone joints, along walls, between cracks and large rocks in your rock garden. Because this groundcover is so hardy and hardy, some gardeners have even used it as a lawn substitute.
Between May and July the cleft lip is almost completely covered with small, mottled, bluish-purple or snow-white flowers. From a few steps back they almost resemble a large swarm of butterflies.
Due to its origin, the Himalayas, the cleft lip is very easy to care for. All it needs is a sunny or partially shaded spot in the garden, moist but well-drained soil, and annual fertilizing. It withstands rain, wind, snow and temperatures down to -30 degrees.
The flowers of the cleft lip are reminiscent of small, lavender blue butterflies
Small and versatile
Common ivy (Hedera helix)
Hardly any other ground cover can keep up with the ivy. This plant spreads at an alarming rate and can even become a real problem if left to its own devices. Within a few years, a single ivy plant can spread up to 5 meters and more over the ground as well as on walls and tree trunks. Common ivy can be used along fences as a wonderful privacy screen and windbreak. However, its growth must always be controlled by regular and aggressive trimming.
Although the ivy impresses with its heart-shaped, dark green leaves and fast growth, it also has other advantages. From the end of August it forms pretty flowers full of nectar, which serve as valuable food for pollinating insects. The bundles of blue-black berries then feed all kinds of songbirds.
In terms of care, ivy is very undemanding. It thrives in almost any condition and is also frost hardy. However, if you want a really dense and lush growth, plant this groundcover ivy in a shady or partially shaded spot in moist, loose, loamy, well-drained soil. Don’t let the soil dry out completely in summer and water regularly.
The ivy is a beautiful sight but needs close control
This ground cover can easily be kept in the fence with the lawn trimmer
Evergreen candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)
The evergreen candytuft is a natural combination of groundcover and shrub. It is particularly appreciated for its profuse, aromatic, snow-white, violet or rose-pink flowers resembling small gift bows. From April to May these delight the senses of the gardener.
A favorite in the rock garden, it is also wonderful for planting on top of walls and foundations. As the name suggests, the evergreen candytuft remains evergreen all year round. It prefers full sun but can also thrive in partial shade. The soil must be mineral-sandy, well-drained, dry and rich in nutrients. Candytuft often suffers from root rot, so water moderately. In winter, this groundcover doesn’t need cold protection unless temperatures drop below -20 degrees.
The candytuft comes in several color variants
Whenever possible, choose bee-friendly garden plants
There are numerous fast-growing ground covers that can overgrow your desired areas within a few years. However, always keep in mind that many of these species grow very aggressively and can suppress other ornamental plants in the garden.