The care of the grave has a healing effect for many bereaved. During the design, one can process one’s grief, retreat and forget the world for a brief moment. However, the care of the grave site can be very costly. A permanent grave planting is therefore ideal for those who cannot visit the grave every week. Evergreen groundcovers get by with little maintenance. We list several hardy species that are suitable for the grave site.
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Permanent grave planting with ground covers: what should be considered in the design?
Ground covers are plants that have a low growth habit. On average, they reach a height of growth of 20 cm – 30 cm. On the grave site, the dwarf shrubs and compact perennials perform similar functions, as in the home garden. They:
- are used as gap fillers
- suppress weeds and the spread of other wild plants
- are a cheap option for grave planting due to their low purchase price
- are very durable and can decorate the grave site for decades.
- need very little maintenance. A visit to the cemetery once a month is completely sufficient.
With a grave planting one should include additional care measures in the first year. Plants are planted more closely than usual in the ground and some may not tolerate root competition well in the first few months. So you should be prepared to replace individual specimens with new ones during the first year. As for fertilizing and watering, groundcovers are fairly undemanding. Provide them with slow-release fertilizer in spring and water the young plants regularly in the first year. From the second year, watering can be almost completely omitted. Only in summer, when it is hot, you should water them every two weeks.
Which evergreen ground covers are suitable?
Common ivy: Traditionally, we know common ivy as an evergreen climber. However, it can spread just as well on the ground as long as the location suits it. The ivy prefers a semi-shaded place. The high humidity in winter does not bother him, as well as snow and rain. Only in the first year the young plants need frost protection, from then on they can easily cope with the Central European climate and prolonged frost. From the 10th year the ivy begins to form flowers.
Varieties: “Gold Child” has light green leaves with a golden yellow edge, in “Gold Star” the whole leaves are colored yellow-green. Large-leaved Irish ivy is an alternative to the native common ivy.
Especially beautiful flowering ground cover
Small-leaved periwinkle (Vinca minor): This plant is perfect for permanent grave planting. Several varieties are available at garden centers, most of which are hardy and, as the plant name itself suggests, evergreen. Vinca minor has a dense habit and bears large blue-purple flowers in spring (March to April). Depending on the variety, a second bloom is possible in the fall. Small-leaved periwinkle feels comfortable in shade, as well as in off-sun and sunny areas. It grows vigorously, making it the perfect groundcover for the grave site. With the exception of fertilizing before flowering and weekly watering in the summer, the plant will do fine without further care.
Varieties: “Alba” stays very low (up to 10 cm) and has snow-white leaves, “Rubra” forms large purple-blue flowers,
Carpet Golden Strawberry (Waldsteinia ternata) is an evergreen ground cover that is popular for its bright yellow flowers. But its large, hairy leaves are also a real eye-catcher after the flowering period ends in May. The plant has a creeping habit. The only drawback to golden strawberry is that it can spread very quickly in the bed or grave site and crowd out other plants. A root barrier can help stop the spread of golden strawberry. Otherwise, the groundcover is quite undemanding.
Hardy foliage ornamentals
Thickleberry (Pachysandra terminalis) is a carpet-forming evergreen plant. The ground cover scores with dark green leaves and a dense growth. As a result, the fat male is perfect for low-maintenance grave planting. With the exception of occasional watering during prolonged hot spells in the summer, the fat male is very low maintenance. It has no special requirements for soil and location and feels comfortable in both shade and sun.
Variety: “Compakta” reaches a maximum growth height of 9 cm.
Carpet false knotweed (Mühlenbeckia axillaris) is a particularly beautiful ground cover with dark shoots and circular leaves that are glossy green in summer and then turn reddish brown in autumn.
Ground cover with red berries for permanent grave planting.
Carpet medlar (Cotoneaster dammeri) is a groundcover with a flat habit and glossy dark green leaves. It spreads quickly over the grave site and forms a dense carpet. Positive side effect: the ground cover does not give weeds a chance. Unlike other carpet-forming plants, the carpet medlar blooms from June. Its white flowers herald the summer. Then, in the fall, the red berries appear, adorning the plant into spring. Carpet medlar easily tolerates shaping and pruning and is very hardy.
Variety: ‘Radicans’ is pruning tolerant, grows to a maximum height of 40 cm and has arching shoots. Carpet dwarf medlar “Frieders Evergreen” has a flat growth habit and is very slow growing.
Low mockberry (Gaultheria procumbens) is a dwarf shrub that prefers a location in the shade. Especially popular for its bright red berries, the ground cover is a real eye-catcher, especially in winter.