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Low-maintenance shade-tolerant ground cover plants for landscaping and gardening

Maintaining nice landscaping in your yard doesn’t require hours of work each week – it does require planning. If you want a nice look and a low-maintenance yard, you need to consider each season and the total work for the year to have something planted.

It helps if you plan your garden by space and conditions – often, lighting is the limiting factor. If you are looking for some low-maintenance and shade-tolerant ground cover plants, we compiled a list of the best 7:

Creeping thyme

Creeping thyme (thymus serpyllum)
Creeping thyme (thymus serpyllum)

One of the best ways to add visual interest and life to a garden or walkway is to grow creeping thyme ground cover. This low-maintenance perennial grows fast, delivering an abundance of lush foliage with aromas and delicate pink, pink-purple, or white flowers that cover the ground in vibrant bloom during the early summer months. Additionally, it’s beloved by beneficial insects like butterflies and bees since its delicate flowers are rich in nectar.


perwinkle ground cover

Growing periwinkle ground cover can be an ideal way to fill large, unsightly bald patches in your garden. It features thin stems blanketed with attractive waxy evergreen foliage and small dainty flowers that bloom in pretty shades of white, blue, or pink. Appreciated for its hardy nature and fast growth rate, periwinkle quickly creates green carpets that do a wonderful job of cooling an area off and making it more inviting. It also has the capability to choke out weeds, requires minimal care, and grows in various types of soil, including sandy soils and clay.

Check out this great video using the right ground cover in the right context:


golden creeping stonecrop sedum mexicanum lemon ball

Growing Sedum ground cover can be a great way to add texture, color, and hardiness to your garden. This drought-tolerant plant sprouts leaves of many shades of green, red, and yellow that cushion any outdoor area against soil erosion and pesky weed growth. Planting Sedum is straightforward; it thrives in partial sunlight with well-drained soil, needs minimum maintenance such as regular watering during hot days or dry spells for best results, and will attract beneficial insects like butterflies to your garden.

Sweet woodruff

sweet woodruff in forest

Sweet Woodruff offers a great alternative for ground cover in shady, moist areas. It grows quickly and produces tiny white flowers in the spring that fill the air with a delightful scent. Although it can sometimes become invasive, it is usually easy to control with routine trimming. Sweet Woodruff is also very tolerant of dry soil, so it can still thrive in sunny spots when watered regularly.

Creeping Phlox

phlox subulata crimson beauty

Growing creeping Phlox is an easy and enjoyable way to bring long-lasting beauty to your garden. This hardy, evergreen ground cover offers brilliant displays of five-petaled pink, blue, or purple flowers in the springtime that are sure to be a knockout feature. Because it only grows to four inches tall and spreads quickly, it’s an ideal choice for both large and small yards.



Hostas are a great choice for gardeners who want to add some visual interest to their landscaping. Not only do they have vibrant foliage, but they also make an ideal ground cover because of their hardy nature and ability to adapt to overgrown areas in the garden. They grow well in shady conditions, require minimal maintenance, and are easily spread across an area. Hostas can be planted from bare root or starter plants, depending on the size of your space, and provide flexible coverage that will last throughout the year with little effort required. So whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance covering for your flower beds or just need a pop of color, hostas make a great choice for growing as ground cover.

Lambs ear

stachys lanata

Growing lamb’s ear ground cover is a great way to enjoy a low-maintenance and beautiful garden. For best results, these plants should be grown in well-draining soil in full to partial sun. Although they can thrive even in hot weather, Lambs Ear prefers cooler temperatures when temperatures are high. When planted correctly, this hardy plant will only need occasional watering and may not require fertilizer or extra maintenance. After it blooms annually with silvery purple flower spikes, you can gently trim the spent flowers to keep them tidy and help promote more vigorous growth.

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Culturalist Press Staff

The Culturalist Press’ mission is to be a place for useful, informed, and relevant writing. Our goal is to be clear, concise, and refreshingly straightforward in our coverage of topics. We champion organizations focused on fact-based journalism as we ourselves are while trying to stay focused on covering topics that matter to everyone.Staff pieces: