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A beautiful and well-maintained garden is a dream for many homeowners in the UK. But achieving that perfect, lush garden can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to choosing the right ground cover plants. These low-growing plants not only add color and texture to your garden, but they also provide many benefits such as weed control, erosion prevention, and moisture retention. In this article, we will explore 9 ground cover plants that are easy to grow and maintain in the UK, creating a lush and vibrant landscape.

1. Creeping Thyme



One of the most popular ground cover plants in the UK, creeping thyme is a hardy and low-maintenance herb that adds both beauty and functionality to your garden. With its tiny purple flowers and aromatic foliage, creeping thyme forms a dense mat that suppresses weeds and requires minimal watering once established. It is also known to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making it a great addition to any eco-friendly garden.

Tip: Plant creeping thyme in well-drained soil and full sun for best growth.

2. Periwinkle [IMG1]



The periwinkle plant, also known as Vinca minor, offers year-round greenery with its glossy leaves and delicate blue or white flowers. This fast-spreading ground cover plant is ideal for shady areas where other plants may struggle to thrive. It is also drought-tolerant once established, making it a great choice for those looking for low-maintenance options.

Tip: Trim periwinkle regularly to prevent it from becoming invasive.

3. Snow-in-Summer



For those looking for a splash of white in their garden, Snow-in-Summer (Cerastium tomentosum) is an excellent choice. This low-growing perennial produces masses of small white flowers in late spring which contrast beautifully against its fuzzy silver-grey foliage. It can withstand harsh weather conditions and is a great option for filling in gaps between larger plants.

Tip: Snow-in-Summer can be divided every 3-4 years to prevent overcrowding and maintain its vigor.

4. Bugle



Bugle (Ajuga reptans) is a versatile ground cover plant that comes in a variety of colors ranging from deep purple to variegated shades. Its spreading habit makes it an ideal choice for covering large areas, and its dense foliage suppresses weed growth. Bugle also produces tall spikes of blue or pink flowers in late spring, adding interest to your garden.

Tip: Plant bugle in partial shade for best growth.

5. Campanula



With its bell-shaped flowers and heart-shaped leaves, Campanula (also known as Bellflower) adds a touch of elegance to any garden. It comes in various sizes, from low-growing varieties suitable for ground cover to taller ones that can be used as border plants. Campanula thrives in well-drained soil and requires minimal maintenance, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

Tip: Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming.

6. Irish Moss



Irish Moss (Sagina subulata) is a low-growing perennial that forms a dense mat of emerald green foliage, providing an attractive backdrop for other plants in your garden. It grows well in full sun or partial shade and is tolerant of drought once established. Irish Moss also produces tiny white flowers in early summer that add a delicate charm to your garden.

Tip: Avoid over-fertilizing Irish Moss, as it can cause the foliage to turn yellow.

7. Blue Star Creeper



Blue Star Creeper (Pratia pedunculata) is a low-maintenance ground cover plant with small, star-like blue flowers that bloom from spring to fall. Its creeping habit makes it ideal for filling in gaps between stepping stones or as a border plant in rock gardens. It can also tolerate foot traffic, making it a great choice for pathways.

Tip: Blue Star Creeper prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial shade.

8. Cotoneaster [IMG2]



Cotoneasters are an excellent option for ground cover due to their dense foliage and ability to thrive in various conditions. They produce small white or pink flowers in spring, followed by small red berries in the fall. Cotoneaster can be used on slopes to help control erosion or as a border plant to add color and texture to your garden.

Tip: Prune cotoneaster regularly to maintain its shape and prevent it from becoming too woody.

9. Silver Mound



Silver Mound (Artemisia schmidtiana) is a low-growing perennial with finely textured silver-gray foliage that adds a unique touch to any garden. It is drought-tolerant and deer-resistant, making it an attractive option for those looking for low-maintenance plants. Silver Mound also produces small yellow flowers in summer, adding interest to your garden.

Tip: Plant Silver Mound in well-drained soil and full sun for best growth.

Pros:
- Ground cover plants provide an attractive, low-maintenance alternative to traditional grass lawns.
- They help suppress weed growth and reduce erosion of soil.
- Many ground cover plants attract pollinators, making them beneficial for the environment.
- They come in a variety of colors, textures, and sizes, allowing you to create unique and visually appealing landscapes.
- Ground cover plants require less water than traditional lawns, helping to conserve water resources.

Cons:
- Some ground cover plants can become invasive if not managed properly.
- They may require regular trimming or dividing to prevent overcrowding.
- In cold climates, some ground cover plants may not survive harsh winters.
- They may take longer to establish compared to traditional lawns.

Takeaways:
- When choosing ground cover plants, consider your garden's light and moisture conditions to ensure the plants thrive.
- Regular maintenance, such as trimming and dividing, is crucial for keeping ground cover plants healthy and preventing them from becoming invasive.
- Incorporating a variety of ground cover plants can add interest and diversity to your garden.
- Consider using ground cover plants in areas that are difficult to mow or maintain, such as slopes or between stones.

Conclusion:
With their low-maintenance, weed-suppressing, and visually appealing qualities, ground cover plants are an excellent option for creating a lush garden landscape in the UK. From creeping thyme to silver mound, there are many options to choose from based on your garden's needs and your personal preferences. So why wait? Start incorporating these 9 ground cover plants into your garden today and enjoy a beautiful, vibrant landscape all year round.