Both professionals and hobbyists want to protect their gardens, while still maintaining the gorgeous, exotic look of their gardens and landscape. Ground cover plants can be beneficial for this. They grow around the unwanted plants, suffocating them in the process and denying them sunlight. They also help preserve the soil moisture, and slow erosion, especially in sloppy beds. Plus, they make stunning additions to the garden floral pattern.
*If you do not want plants then you can also use these covers. They are handy when you are going on holidays and leaving your garden for no maintenance and do not want to see garden full of weed when you are back from holidays.
As a professional gardener, I have found these interesting plants to be quite handy in controlling weeds in gardens. To many others, it is still a tough choice between them and conventional weed prevention methods. While some people feel the latter is more reliable, others have good faith in using ground cover plants. The problem, however, is most are unsure of how to go about it.
This is why I have compiled this detailed review list and product guide, of some of the best plant specimen you can use. Combining my professional experience with comments and reviews from numerous gardeners, I have made this article as informative as you will need. This will get you familiar with the important factors to consider, so you can pick the best ground cover plants to prevent weeds.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Ground Cover Plants to Prevent Weeds UK
I must say this is my favourite ground plant cover, and from the tons of feedback, I got, almost everyone else’s. The plant grows and spreads wide, covering bare spaces on the garden floor, denying growth chances for weeds. The leaves, though small, grow plenty and combine with the creeping stems to suppress already growing weed shoots.
In summer, it blooms pink-mauve flowers that give the garden a flattering look and feel. And the flowers are great attractors of bees and butterflies. In addition to all these, Creeping Thyme is also very aromatic, and clients enjoy the attractive scent it gives off. Plus, the leaves are edible and make a great additive to food.
- Low growing creeper
- Pink-mauve flowers
- Blooms throughout summer
- Edible, scented leaves
- Attracts bees
This exquisite perennial is one hardy specimen, combining both beauty and effectiveness. Its resilient nature makes it perfect for preventing weeds, as it grows and spreads over and around unwanted plants, suffocating their growth. It is also drought-tolerant, and quite easy to grow, making it perfect for almost all soil conditions.
Another thing I love about this ground cover plant is its beauty. When in bloom, the perennial rewards your sight with a wide array of stunning flowers. I have had many clients comment awe at the sight of its beautiful beds of white, pink and purple shades on their garden.
- Creeping perennial
- Full sun
- Multi-coloured flowers
- 5 Different varieties
I found this heather to be very useful in rocky gardens; as such types can prove difficult to weed. Also, if your garden grows on peaty, acidic soil, then you should consider this one. The small ground cover shrub is very hardy and spreads far out into the garden, bullying weeds with its height and branches.
I especially love the deep ruby hue of the flowers, and how it complements the green foliage. The shrub is quite useful in sloppy gardens, as I have also discovered, and on such, you get a breathtaking view once full dominance is complete.
- Shrub plant
- Semi-double deep cerise flowers (ruby-red from August to October)
- Thrives on rocky gardens
- Requires peat soil
- Grows on slopes
Evergreen cover plants are a great option for controlling weed growth, and this is the best I have ever tried. The perennial plant produces silvery-grey leaves and forms a blanket around the garden, too dense for weeds to grow out of. I was also rather impressed by its spread, as it covers a significant area of the garden in a short time.
The perennial is also very drought-tolerant, so it needed very little attention- which many clients were pleased with. Although a very hardy and vigorous plant, Evergreen is full sun.
- Low-growing, mat-forming perennial
- Silvery grey-white foliage
- Full sun
- Ideal for edging and rockeries
Variegated ground cover plants are usually not on my go-to list, but this one impressed me. For one thing, it is quite easy to grow. The leaves are a lovely blend of green and creamy white. And they grow large and clustered, cutting off sunlight from weeds.
The ground cover mint herb is also edible, as it gives off a hint of pineapple. I found it makes a great addition to gardens, especially for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Many commend its usefulness as an additive in teas, jellies, sauces and fruit desserts.
- Aromatic mint herb
- Partial shade
- Variegated colours of white and green
- Edible leaves
- Hint of pineapple
Hardly would you find low–growing plants as effective for weed prevention as junipers. I especially love the green carpet, as it lives up to its name by spreading over the garden floor. The coniferous thrives in both sun and shade and achieves a satisfactory level of spread with very little attention.
The dwarf creepy junipers are successful ground cover plants, with their compact, tidy structure and ground-hugging nature.
- Dwarf creeper
- Evergreen conifer
- Thrives under both full sun and shade
- Needle-like leaves
- Adapts to a wide range of climates
Geraniums are a sure option for both beautifying your garden and preventing weeds. For the latter, this plant is most ideal. I read that it is a new hybrid of Geranium, so its performance was greatly impressive. For one thing, it is great at suppressing weeds, despite being a shrubby bush.
The flowers are also exquisite, blooming with a gorgeous dark-violet shade in summer. And the tiny leaves create a trapping impression around each other, so weeds cannot grow through.
- Shrubby, bushy perennial
- Large, violet flowers
- Geranium hybrid
- Small, fanny leaves
- Full sun and shade
Edible ground cover plants are a great option for gardeners, and the Moroccan mint is one of such. Its lush green leaves are broad and thick and grow over each other, forming a canopy. Once established, the perennial herb creates enough shade to block off sunlight and deny weed seedlings from thriving. It also grows densely close, preventing dormant seeds from sprouting.
I have these aromatic herbs planted on my front garden, and my wife loves them. She most especially loves the fact that it also makes a great spice for veal.
- Aromatic perennial herb
- Broad, edible leaves
- Partial shade
- Lavender-lilac flowers
- Attracts pollinators
Deciduous, low-growing plants are usually very attractive, as they bear very pretty and broad leaves. They also make very effective ground covers. This bushy, suckering shrub creates a dense cover, preventing weeds from growing around the garden. They also maintain this function after maturity, creating shade over the ground from a height of about 9 cm!
In summer, the shrub produces cute little pink flowers that easily attract butterflies to your garden. The colours of both the leaves and flowers create a visual sensation many users have come to appreciate.
- Deciduous shrub
- Red leaves
- Pale pink flowers
- Propagated by softwood cuttings
- Disease and pest free
I have always loved Japanese sedges and never hesitate to add them to my gardens. So, when I came across this intricately coloured sedge, I just had to give it a shot. And it worked quite well in my garden.
The brilliantly patterned yellow and green blades angle down, crisscrossing each other when planted close. This forms a network of barriers that suffocate weeds and cuts them off sunlight. The tufted sedge performs well in virtually any condition and climate, making it a valuable addition to any garden.
- Tufted, perennial sedge
- Full-sun, shade and partial-shade
- Yellow and green patterned leaf blades
- Ultimate height and spread of 0.2-0.5m
- Small, brown flower spikes in bloom
Ground Cover Plants to Prevent Weeds UK Product Guide
To get the best out of using ground cover plants, there are certain tips to consider. First, remember that while the plants are still growing, you have to carry out normal weeding and watering procedures. Do this until the ground cover plants are established. Also, strictly follow the instructions that come with each plant, and make sure it is suited for growing in your area.
Also, note that certain factors must be kept in mind when choosing ground cover plants for weed control. These factors are essential in making sure the selected greenery performs exceptionally when included in the garden or landscape.
Ground cover plants grow under varying conditions, with some thriving on certain soils than others. Some species, like Creeping Phlox, are full sun types, meaning they require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. Part sun species can live with about 3-6 hours of direct sunlight daily. And full shade species can cope with up to 3 hours of sunlight.
You should consider the time frame you have planned for the weed control, as it helps you decide whether to choose annuals or perennials. Annuals will only serve this purpose for a year, while perennials last longer. Annuals, however, tend to mature and bloom faster than perennials. I combine both to cover longevity and beauty.
For a green garden even through winter, evergreen ground cover crops are the best option. It is the secret to why most of my clients still maintain an attractive, lush yard during the cold season. Plus, it suppresses the dormant seeds of weeds lying in the soil.
Deciduous ground cover crops though beautiful, are not good choices during autumn, as they shed their leaves. So it is best to use them in a small population if you must.
Most believe plants with faster growth rate are the best choices, but other elements also come in play. While a ground cover plant may spread quickly and suffocate weed, it may prove hard to maintain. I prefer plants that are easy to maintain, and still catchy to the eye.
Also, be careful not to use aggressive species, as these types tend to seed freely. The result may become uncontrollable as some would even grow around your favoured plants, or become invasive species to their local cousins. Be sure to check if the plant you have selected poses such a threat to established natural surroundings.
For weed control, evergreen crawlers are the best option, as these grow and provide cover all year round. If your garden bed lies on a slope, you should consider fast-growing perennials, as these are great for controlling erosion as well. Of course, you can always mix up species to fight weeds, check erosion, and still keep your garden and landscape looking marvellous.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you maintain ground cover plants?
Most ground cover plants require very little maintenance. However, those that do may only require periodic watering and pruning to keep them refreshed and neat.
Which ground cover plants are better; annuals or perennials?
A: Though both are great, the major difference lies in their life span. Annuals grow, mature and bloom within a year. This makes them great for yearly use, after which they have to be re-planted. Perennials give your garden protection for many years but might take a long time after planting to mature.
What ground cover plants should I avoid?
A: Variegated dead nettles (Lamium galeobdolon) have been flagged off as invasive species. Pulmonarias tend to seed freely and become hard to manage and control. And prostrate junipers should be avoided by gardeners cultivating moderately-sized gardens.
Perennials and shrubs that form an attractive carpet can be put to good use in the garden, especially when looking for low-maintenance options.
Tips on how to control weed in garden
Keeping a weed-free garden is a challenge, but with a little planning, it’s easy to get there.
- Use a full depth starter system to spread out the weed roots.
- Go organic to avoid chemical residue.
- Use at least one pair of gloves when pulling weeds.
- Repel weeds with organic manures.
- Use old mulch to build up the soil barrier.
- Nip it in the bud.
- Scatter seeds to get weeds before they emerge.
- Help things grow in soil instead of in the ground.
- Drill holes in pots and ground to make sure the drainage is good, and water them properly.
- Stake plants that grow 3 feet or more.
- It takes more work to dig in the garden than it does to have a beautiful garden.
- Spray for pests, not weeds.
- Plant on time for summer-type crops.
- Cultivate a good deep rooting habit.
- Consider mulching with organic material to improve your garden’s drainage.
Weeds are a major headache among gardeners and landscapers, and controlling them can be nightmarish. So it is a great relief to have ground cover crops for this purpose. In addition to checking weeds, they also preserve soil moisture, insulate the temperature, and control erosion.
In this review and product guide, I have compiled a list of the best ground cover crops for preventing weeds. I have explained their features and pointed out key factors to look out for when picking one for your garden. I do not doubt that this article will be of great help to your weed controlling mission.
I know choosing may feel hard, so I have picked out three options for you. Creeping Thyme is the overall best ground cover crop on this list. It encompasses all the great features you can want and is offered at a great price. If you can afford the extra bucks, Moroccan Mint is a premium option. And Silver Carpet is the ideal choice for gardeners and DIY hobbyists who work and play on a budget.