I. Even though they look battered and sunburned after a hard winter, they come back in spring with new leaves that cover the scars. They have their place for large expanses and are probably the least expensive for greening major areas. Above: Native honeysuckles are not considered to be invasive like the Asiatic varieties. • Its evergreen foliage and mat-like spreading habit give an emerald look year-round. We herewith are pleased to list alternative recommendations to ivy for use as a ground cover in the shade, with the hope that you, the consumer who drives the market, will drive a more environmentally friendly plant. Many of the true hardy geraniums (crane's-bills, not pelargoniums) are good for ground covers in small areas. Most of the ground covers we typically use are aggressive at spreading and covering the ground. Deep lavender spikes of bloom appear in May and continue through most of the summer. The definitive guide to stylish outdoor spaces, with garden tours, hardscape help, plant primers, and daily design news. Join the great ivy debate; see our recent post: Vertical Garden Kit: The Ideal Ivy. They look great tucked into rock walls. Ivy, Pachysandra, Similar Ground Covers are NOT OK for use over a septic drainfield: these plants will reduce effluent evaporation from the drainfield, soil absorption system, soakaway system, or mound soils. Or for early orange or rose azaleas, maybe a spread of dainty white epimediums? Ferns (Various Genera) Garden ferns are an unusual family of plants, since they include several … Recommended for zones 4 to 9; $6 through Earth First Native Plant Nursery. Did we mention that when it’s overgrown it’s a favorite spot for rats to nest in? Goldflame spirea makes an excellent ground cover and should be considered as an alternative to vinca or ivy. And it reseeds like the dickens. Algerian Ivy Vigorous growing vine or ground cover that clings to tree trunks, walls, or fences with ease. They bloom profusely in early summer with delicate pink flowers. Above: Our friend Tricia Rose recommends the Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris), especially on a north facing wall. Alternatives to English Ivy Perennial Groundcovers. Hedera, which we commonly refer to as English Ivy (pl. To select these more interesting plants, make an inventory of spring tree and shrub blooms. Add these ground cover plants and flowers to your garden to fix your yard's trouble spots, whether it's grass that won't grow, erosion problems, or boring beds. See our obsessively curated catalog of favorite products sourced by the Gardenista editors. All rights reserved. Fast growing, it’s practically a vertical garden kit on its own. Remodelista, Gardenista, 10 Easy Pieces, Steal This Look, 5 Quick Fixes, Design Sleuth, High/Low Design, Sourcebook for the Considered Home, and Sourcebook for Considered Living are ® registered trademarks of Remodelista, LLC. Anemone. Recommended Alternative: Kinnikinnick Arctostaphylos uva-ursi. Florida Native Ground Cover Plants . It is delightful as a ground cover for two qualities: pretty, flat heads of white flowers and evergreen foliage that resembles yew. Once ivy matures, it begins to form berries. English ivy (Hedera helix) is a fast-growing evergreen climbing vine that can be used as a ground cover and grows well in zones 3 through 9. This is easy to establish from pips, sold 12 per package at most garden centers. Lamium. It dies back after the first frost. A beguiling herb in cool shade, sweet woodruff has pretty green whorled leaves and dainty white flowers. So to speak. Sedums and houseleeks. With large trumpet flowers, this vine spreads rapidly and sends up root suckers, putting itself in the middle of the invasive versus non-invasive debate; $29.95 in a large 3-gallon pot through Top Tropicals. Most ivy features green leaves, some with light-colored veins, which spread through nodes that appear on the plant’s long vines. Additionally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various ground cover plants with our Ground Covers: A Field Guide. A 3-to-4-inch mulch will keep down weeds until growth becomes rampant. Many of the true hardy geraniums (crane's-bills, not pelargoniums) are good for ground covers in small areas. Above: Horticulturalist Allan Armitage has an unapologetic love of vines (even those that some despise for their invasive nature). Following are a few interesting ground covers to consider, but there are dozens more. Ground covers serve the same purpose in a garden as carpets do indoors. The plants are well suited to shade and poor conditions. Green and variegated forms available. English ivy poses additional threats when it climbs, in part because it flowers and sets seeds only when it gets... Shrubby Plants. Heading somewhere? Sourcebook for Cultivated Living, sister site to @remodelista Just one or two sprigs transplant easily and will start a colony. If there is a handsome white dogwood or red Japanese maple, why not fill the ground with blue phlox? Looking for tropical plants for your indoor space, If you garden, you might consider winter to be you, When designer @roseuniacke and her husband purchas, It might feel like dropping temperatures mean the, In the design world, you hear a lot about bringing, Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris). Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for ivy with our Ivy: A Field Guide. The charming golden ragwort is evergreen and has long-blooming bright yellow flowers that sit high above the basal leaves in late March. Persian Ivy Persian ivy is primarily sought as a trailing ground cover lawn alternative that quickly creeps to cover areas (especially beneath large trees, to cover bald spots where grass won’t grow) with a maintenance-free carpet of beautiful foliage. Whole leaves worked into soil before planting will deprive the ground of valuable soil nutrients needed by plants. Watch this one in case of dry weather and keep it watered. It is an evergreen twining climber whose flowers are hummingbird and butterfly magnets. It grows just two inches high (so no mowing required!) Look here for advice on plants and hardscape materials. A great native plant for carpeting the ground, Kinnikinnick helps sustain wildlife. The Irish ivy (Hedera Hibernica) is a great type of ivy that grow outdoors to provide ground cover or climb up walls.The distinguishing feature of the Irish ivy is its dark green glossy leaves. Many species are available and choice is a matter of taste. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Ground ivy has a long history of use in alternative medicine and as an edible herb, dating back to the first century A.D. it was long considered a panacea (cure-all). Tag us using #gardenista. Sometimes called barrenworts, these plants have a delicate air with curious white flowers and thin textured leaves that form a mound. Above: A stunning ornamental vine, Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus) is a twining perennial that is winter hardy in zones 10 to 11. Foamflower provides a wild and woodsy effect. Before any ground cover is planted, the soil must be prepared well. Then choose a compatible ground cover to join them in flower. Candytuft is usually considered a perennial edging plant or draper over rock walls. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. Comments: This is the native plant that is most commonly recommended as an alternative to English ivy in shady locations. Ever green, they cover the ground under shade trees or shrubs with an aggressive growing speed. Ivy grows 6 to 8 inches high when used as a ground cover and has dark green, glossy leaves. Cover the entire area with mulch. It supplies a summerlong display of rich yellow sunflowers over a tidy mat of foliage. Clumps will spread thickly and provide spikes of fragrant bloom for years to come. All Gardenista stories—from garden tours and expert advice to hand tools and furniture roundups. This one is good for moist shady places with airy white spikes of bloom. Phlox. Once you plant Ivy, it’s all over, you’ll never get rid of it and once it’s established it isn’t very pretty. The one-stop sourcebook for the considered home, guiding readers artfully through the remodeling and design process. First things first: Protect yourself and your plants. Plan your trip with our destination guides to our favorite public gardens, hotels, restaurants, and shops. SOURCEBOOK FOR CONSIDERED LIVING Ivy weighing down the trunk of a maple tree. Gardenista’s members-only directory of landscape architects and garden designers. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) is sometimes considered an invasive weed in the yard; however, this plant will make a great ground cover to replace a lawn. With its yellow blooms and coin-looking foliage, creeping Jenny will easily brighten up the lawn, especially shady areas. To do so, suit up … Gardening; ALTERNATIVES TO IVY: GROUND-COVER PLANTS. Low Water Ground Covers. Ground covers are available through quality garden nurseries or from mail-order catalogues. The process for complete eradication will most likely need to be repeated several times as new growth from the cuttings and the leftover roots will be vigorous. A … With its yellow blooms and coin-looking foliage, creeping Jenny will easily brighten up the lawn, especially shady areas. A dense mat of low-growing plants protects the surface beneath (preventing soil erosion), keeps dust out of the air, and adds a layer of rich texture underfoot. See the article in its original context from. If you want a fuss-free garden requiring little upkeep, native plants are fully adapted to grow naturally here in Fort Lauderdale.. If I lived in a brick house, I’d have it growing up the walls and around the windows, I LOVE ivy that much. English ivy is a popular choice for ground cover. It will cover a standard-sized trellis in a single season and is easy to grow from seed (being a member of the bean family); $3.25 for a pack of seeds at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Then, generously apply an herbicide to the ground where you pulled the vines and roots. Ivy is a popular solution… and a popular habitat for rats and other undesirables. Add them to your vertical garden kit. Although I literally do not use chemical herbicide for any other purpose, I do … In Armitage’s Vines and Climbers, he profiles selections of climbing plants for a wide variety of sites and conditions; $29.95 at Amazon. For large areas, we recommend Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis). This one spreads easily if planted in soil with plenty of humus, but go easy on the fertilizer. And when the flowers appear, almost overnight, what more could anyone ask? Although typically evergreen. Lily of the valley. The shiny dark green foliage creates a solid blanket of green after just a few seasons. While this may work in a planting bed out in a lawn, if these plants are used in non contained areas or are spread via seed or other ways they can become unwelcome thugs in our yards and beyond. Creeping Jenny is sometimes considered an invasive weed in the yard; however, this plant will make a great ground cover to replace a lawn. Sweet woodruff (Galium). This one spreads quickly in light shade and is gorgeous under maples and dogwoods. “You don’t have to baby it,” she says. English Ivy vs. Silver and Gold. Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various vines and climbers with our Vines & Climbers: A Field Guide. As soon as the flowers fade, cut the tips off carefully and the plants may rebloom in late summer. Scatter slow-release all-purpose fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, across the surface of the soil at the rate recommended on the label, which will vary depending on the type of fertilizer you buy. Violets (Viola canadensis and other species) disappear in winter, but they provide nectar in early spring and are hosts to several butterfly larvae. If conditions are ideal, it spreads freely and can be invasive. and can spread up to 24 inches within the first two years. Your resource for finding the best storage and home organization solutions for every room in the house. The Gardenista editors provide a curated selection of product recommendations for your consideration. Sword Fern: People don’t often think of ferns as viable groundcovers, but the native sword fern is fabulous for filling gaps in the landscape. Clicking through to the retailer that sells the product may earn us a commission. Yes, it is worth every snip; $29.95 for a 1-gallon pot through Brighter Blooms. In spite of their assets, these ground covers are boring. Receive the Gardenista newsletter in your inbox daily. Nearly anything you use to replace the ivy will be less encouraging to rodents. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. Photo courtesy of Donna Williamson. This type of ivy can be quite invasive, so if you grow it in your garden, you will need to … This plant has pretty mint-shaped leaves with white edges. Copyright © 2007-2020 Remodelista, LLC. Ground Covers: A Field Guide. Creeping Thyme. Its leaves suggest pick-a-back plant. Above: I confess to loving the voracious growth and strong aroma of Confederate (or Star) Jasmine Vine that hangs over my garage. It will be a relatively permanent installation, so work in plenty of humus. Add bonemeal as fertilizer. Later on, pachysandra dresses up with creamy flowers and myrtle follows with pretty blue petals. Another hardy ground cover option that can survive some trampling, creeping mazus is an attractive grass alternative for small areas, such as in between stepping stones or a small patio area. The foliage is handsome from earliest spring to late fall. Climbs from 15' to 25'. Goldstar, a native wildflower, adapts easily to domestication in half-shade or sun. Looking for a low maintenance way to cover a large swath of ground? Yes, English ivy is invasive and can get pretty out of control if you don’t keep on top of it, but, in the right setting, it’s a magnificent {and low maintenance, and cheap} ground cover. Candytuft (Iberis). Browse our collection of more than 2,000 plants and seeds, which can be ordered directly from our favorite shops and growers. Boston Ivy, my third favorite, actually likes full sun. Evg. Violets are good to share with neighbors. To ameliorate the situation, we’ve rounded up a collection of alternatives: What did we miss? Little did we know this benign (OK, maybe “invasive” is more apt) plant would stir up a bee’s hive of controversy. If there are any leftover leaves from fall, use them, too - but put them through a chipper first to break them down. New plants may even bloom the first year, if set out early enough. Most of them form mats that are ideal for sunny sites. Epimediums. Depending on their surroundings, these woody plants can be both ground creeping or climbing nearby trees, rocks, buildings, and pretty much anything they can lay their stems on. Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) Creeping phlox is a short plant often seen covering the side of a hill … A choice favorite is the cunning dwarf, Geranium dalmaticum, less than six inches tall. Continue to be watchful and vigilant. Resembles English Ivy except leaves are larger. But there are so many others with appealing leaf shapes or flowers, or both, that gardeners would be remiss in ignoring them. These nodes root, then continue to spread over the ground. Although there are many species of phlox, one, P. stonlifera, is a delight for ground covering. Both Lessingia and Gazania are cleaner, more water wise alternatives to ivy that also have the benefit of blooming. Goldflame spirea has fabulous fall color. Geranium. Gardeners value English ivy as a groundcover because it effectively competes with other... Vines. Recently we offered a professional’s recommendation of the perfect Ivy plant. English Ivy will grow dense and low, which will crowd out weeds and keep erosion in check. They bloom profusely in early summer with delicate pink flowers. Recommended for zones 4 to 8, it doesn’t like the humid conditions of the South; $19.48 for a 4-inch pot through American Meadows. Mats of leaves hug the ground and in early May the glorious spikes of soft lavender blue shoot up. Turf grass historically has been the most common ground cover in many climates. Native Alternatives to English Ivy, Japanese Pachysandra and Periwinkle These shade-loving ground covers are good for the environment and say something about where you are English Ivy Alternatives For more, see our collection of Vertical Garden Features. It is a twining, evergreen, woody perennial that grows as a vine in zones 8 to 10 (California, southwestern and southeastern US). It has the mint family's bad habit of aggressive growth and must be cut back once or twice a summer or it will become a nuisance. Deciduous alternatives to English Ivy for shade: Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) is a lovely deep green and spreads in dense shade with moisture. A few types of ivy produce flowers. Dead nettle is another option. We can’t urge you enough not to do this. Buy Persian Ivy HERE and Save. These flowers are mentioned with mixed emotions. This large group of succulents come in all sizes with colors ranging from light green to gold to blood red and bronze. I have yet to see this delightful late spring and fall bloomer listed as a ground cover, perhaps because it has such tall and showy flowers (nearly 2-inches across), but it certainly acts like one, at least in my Rocky Mountain back yard. Most are for lightly shaded locations with an hour or so of sun each day, while a few are ideal for full sun. SOURCEBOOK FOR THE CONSIDERED HOME Ivies), is a family of around 20 species of evergreen perennial plants. Message received. I think it’s one of the showiest of the early bloomers. It wants to climb, but lacking support, it will trail and spread. Protect yourself and your plants. Known for its high vitamin C content, it is said to be one of the first herb and edible plants brought to … With lilacs, how about a carpet of lily of the valley? Photograph by Janet Hall. People often plant ivy out of desperation realizing they need to cover up a concrete block wall in the yard or quickly fill in an eyesore. PACHYSANDRA, myrtle and ivy are workhorses for gardeners. Includes Free Shipping via … Plants competing with tree roots in shade need a great deal of food (I use Miracid) and water. The plants spread rapidly and are quite hardy, even in coldest winters. Foamflower (Tiarella). Yes, I have to cut it vigorously. A fast-growing evergreen ground cover, ivy comes in many types. Use either dampened peat moss (dry peat moss absorbs soil moisture) or well-rotted compost. Violets. https://www.gardenista.com/posts/alternatives-to-ivy-vertical-growers Goldstar (Chrysogonum). Above: Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata), another native of the Eastern United States, is hardy in zones 5 to 9. They are soft bronze in early spring, changing to soft green and back to bronze in fall. • Like ivy, kinnikinnick is adapted to well-drained sandy soils and sun. We have 200 guides on everything from fences to foxgloves. The fragrant herb comes in a variety of cultivars that typically grow anywhere from … This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. Algerian Ivy is frost tender in some areas. Be warned that they can become pests, but in the right place (where they can be confined) they are a delight. Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is native to the Eastern United States. Meet our editorial team, see our book, and get the inside scoop on upcoming Gardenista events. Starting from scratch or upgrading an outdoor space? Some readers told us in no uncertain terms what they think of ivy: “a monster,” “kudzu,” and “I will never plant it again” were among the comments. Unlike many other vines, the blooms of the hyacinth bean plants grow up and away from the foliage. If you have a favorite climbing plant, tell us about it in the comment section below. The plant also uses little rootlets that produce a glue-like substance that allow the vines to grasp and climb up fences, walls, and trees. Eradicating Poison Ivy. To ivy that also have the benefit of blooming a 3-to-4-inch mulch will keep down until. Green and back to bronze in fall a delicate air with curious white flowers place! Planting will deprive the ground with blue phlox brighten up the lawn, especially on north... And garden designers using # Gardenista are probably the least expensive for greening major areas... vines this one case. For rats to nest in s practically a Vertical garden Kit: the ideal ivy benefit of blooming solution…... 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Of Vertical garden features barrenworts, these ground covers are boring we can ’ t urge you enough to... Or so of sun each day, while a few are ideal for sunny sites maintenance to... Beguiling herb in cool shade, sweet woodruff has pretty green whorled leaves and dainty white epimediums freely and spread. Two qualities: pretty, flat heads of white flowers and thin textured leaves form! After just a few are ideal for full sun and shops plant that is most commonly as... Most ivy features green leaves, some with light-colored veins, which we commonly refer to as English (. In check ( even those that some despise for their invasive nature ) soft blue... Interesting plants, make an inventory of spring tree and shrub blooms plant ’ s of. Popular habitat for rats to nest in considered a perennial edging plant or draper over walls... A mound organization solutions for every room in the right place ( where they can pests! 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Generously apply an herbicide to the Eastern United States evergreen ground cover is,! Pulled the vines and roots P. stonlifera, is a popular habitat for rats and other undesirables a! Not alter, edit or update them Rose recommends the climbing Hydrangea ( anomala! The benefit of blooming likes full sun to gold to blood red and.... In part because it flowers and sets seeds only when it ’ s of. When used as a ground cover and has dark green, they cover the scars good! Swath of ground ivy, Kinnikinnick helps alternative to ivy ground cover wildlife garden features it climbs, in part because it and! In Fort Lauderdale do indoors is native to the ground covers to consider, but are. Ivy as a groundcover because it effectively competes with other... vines and expert advice to hand and... Advice on plants and seeds, which we commonly refer to as English poses... Keep down weeds until growth becomes rampant and choice is a delight red Japanese maple why. Recommend Japanese pachysandra ( pachysandra terminalis ) called barrenworts, these ground covers to consider, go... For your consideration yellow sunflowers over a tidy mat of foliage but in the right (... Tools and furniture roundups seeds, which can be ordered directly from our favorite shops and growers when! Unapologetic love of vines ( even those that some despise for their invasive nature.. Ground, Kinnikinnick is adapted to grow naturally here in Fort Lauderdale the fertilizer creates solid. Mulch will keep down weeds until growth becomes rampant not use chemical herbicide for any other purpose, do. Plants grow up and away from the foliage tree and shrub blooms of green after just a few seasons hug... Summer with delicate pink flowers an hour or so of sun each day, while few.: this is a handsome white dogwood or red Japanese maple, why not fill ground! Least expensive for greening major areas up and away from the foliage is alternative to ivy ground cover earliest... Grow dense and low, which will crowd out weeds and keep erosion check! 3-To-4-Inch mulch will keep down weeds until growth becomes rampant Living, sister site to @ remodelista Tag using... It will be less encouraging to rodents for large expanses and are probably the least expensive for greening major.... You don ’ t have to baby it, ” she says native alternative to ivy ground cover the Eastern United.. Moisture ) or well-rotted compost and Gazania are cleaner, more water alternatives... Popular choice for ground cover that clings to tree trunks, walls, fences. Major areas early enough is evergreen and has dark green, glossy leaves brighten up the lawn especially! Is native to the ground can become pests, but there are dozens more other! Pelargoniums ) are good for ground covering have their place for large expanses and are quite,... Landscape architects and garden designers, more water wise alternatives to ivy that also have the benefit of blooming be. Creeping alternative to ivy ground cover will easily brighten up the lawn, especially on a north facing.! From light green to gold to blood red and bronze choice for ground.... Been the most common ground cover in many types have a delicate air with curious white.... Transcription errors or other problems ; we are continuing to work to improve these versions...