Groundcovers are plants that grow close to the ground and blanket the soil in a dense mat. Aesthetically, groundcovers soften edges along paths and borders and cover unattractive bare soil. They also choke out weeds and eliminate the expense and yearly effort of mulching plantings beds while also reducing the need to water by holding moisture in the soil.
Notwithstanding these aesthetic and functional benefits, groundcovers are often an afterthought in landscape design and if they are considered, it is usually Pachysandra or Vinca, both of which provide little benefit to pollinators. Therefore, if you are considering using a groundcover, why not give one of these 5 a try. They are not only beautiful and functional but will also make the pollinators happy.
1. Phlox stolonifersa (Creeping Phlox)
Creeping phlox, native to the United States, grows up to 1 foot and does best in full sun to part shade. It blooms in spring to summer and is available to a variety of colors including pink, lavender-blue, violet and white.
2. Tiarella cordifolia (Foamflower)
Tiarella cordifolia, another native of the United States, comes in a variety of leaf and flower colors. Pictured above is Tiarella 'Pink Skyrocket'. It grows best in part sun to full shade with foliage reaching a height of about 10 inches and the flowers to 24 inches. The bottlebrush-like flowers bloom in the spring and attract all sorts of pollinators.
3. Asarum canadense (Wild Ginger)
Asarum canadense is native to the United States and grows best in part sun to full shade. It reaches a maximum height of 1 foot. The inconspicuous, purple-brown flowers bloom in spring and while not a noticeable feature, the fly and ant pollinators flock to them.
4. Geranium maculatum (Wild Geranium)
Geranium maculatum is native to the Northeastern United States. It blooms in early spring and comes in several colors from pale pink to lilac. It grows best in full sun to part shade and reaches a height of 1.5 to 2 feet.
5. Lamium maculatum (Spotted Deadnettle)
Although the only non-native groundcover listed here, Lamium maculatum's non-invasive nature and its nectar and pollen rich flowers make it a good choice for attracting pollinators. The flowers come in varieties of pink and white and the best cultivars have striking variegated foliage. Growing best in part to full shade, it reaches a height of under 1 foot.