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When planning your pleasure garden, ask yourself some relevant questions: are some places difficult to access or difficult to mow? How long do you want or can you spend on maintaining your lawn? Ground cover plants will provide floral and decorative answers to these questions. Let yourself be tempted and discover these "grassy" plants.

Ground cover plants: an alternative to grass

Ground cover plants: an alternative to grass

Advantages and disadvantages of ground cover plants

The ground cover plants will cover the bare earth of a green carpet more or less high (less than 20 cm) and often flowery. They have many advantages:

  • The plants' grassy Do not need mowing.
  • Except for the first year of planting, they do not require almost no watering.
  • They are as sober as they are frugal in fertilizer.
  • Some are specialized to cover areas difficult to sod: in the shade, too wet, too dry or sloping.

But ground cover plants will never have the appearance of a green grass and very thick on which you can lie down, play with children or the dog... They also have their limits. These are perennials which bear little or no trampling.

If you choose this grass alternative, take suitable plants for your soil and the use you want to make of it.

Ground cover plants that do not support trampling

  • Yarrow: Achillea millefilium and Achillea odorata: These are common perennials in wild places. They have leaves (20 cm high) finely cut, persistent in winter. They bloom in the spring then in September and October. Rustic, they withstand drought like cold (-15° and more).

Ground cover plants that can be occasionally trampled

  • Dichondra repens or Dichondra crawling: It is a flat ground cover (5 to 10 cm) that likes the shade. It forms a very dense carpet of small round leaves, light green, persistent in winter. Rustic, it supports drought and frosts up to -10°.
  • Frankenia Laevis or Marine Heather: It is a flat ground cover (5 to 10 cm) that like the sun. It forms a carpet of evergreen leaves in winter, dark green and turning red in winter. Rustic, it supports drought and frosts up to -15°.
  • Thymus ciliatus or ciliated thyme. It is a beautiful flat ground cover (5 to 10 cm) that likes both the sun and the half shade. It is rustic. Its evergreen green-gray foliage smells very good. It requires a well-drained soil.
  • Thymus hirsutusIt has the same characteristics as ciliated thyme but unlike other members of the thymus family, it accepts moist soil.

Ground cover plants that support trampling

  • Lippia nodiflora or nodular verbena: A short ground cover with small round leaves, deciduous in winter. A plant that likes the sun as half shade. Rustic, it flowers from June to October.
  • Matricaria tchihatchewii or creeping chamomile: A dense ground cover, persistent in winter, it is covered with white flowers in spring. Rustic, it nonetheless requires watering in dry weather.
  • Trifolium fragiferum: A very rustic clover that blooms in the spring. Mowing after flowering, will densify the vegetation. Watering in dry weather will keep it very green.
  • Verbena tenuisecta or lurking verbena: From May to November, this verbena is covered with flowers. It requires a little watering in dry weather. In winter, it resists up to - 8°.
  • Zoysia tenuifolia or grass of mascareignes: the ground cover that most resembles turf. It has very thin leaves that grow in dense tuft. Rustic and adapted to drought but requires 1 watering every 15 days in case of severe drought.

All these ground cover plants ask really a lot less maintenance than a lawn. For some, watering in dry weather will keep their beautiful green color. Regular weeding, especially the first year of planting is necessary.
Do not hesitate to mix the species to enjoy the qualities of each: Verbena in front of taller yarrow, different species of thyme, etc.


Video Instruction: Skip the Grass: Alternative Ground Covers