Skip to content

Ground cover against weeds: flowering or yet fast growing? Which species are best for your garden?

Landscaping is in full swing, but what do we do with the shady corner, the larger patch of lawn that we know we won’t have time to weed or mow regularly in the summer? What do we do with the section on the slope? The perfect and aesthetic solution in such cases can be ground covers against weeds. Depending on the variety, either walkable, that is, tread-resistant, easy to maintain or even flowering, these plants offer both protection from weeds and a great sight. But which ground covers are suitable for each purpose? We present some practical and pretty little plants that will do your garden good, provide a beautiful sight and save you time in the process.

Ground covers against weeds: fast growing for quick solutions

Wild thyme fast growing ground cover

Fast-growing ground covers are a good solution for those who do not want to wait months for the result of the design. The bare spot or the shady spot should look chic again as soon as possible. Sometimes it just has to go fast! It may also, because nature has also for these purposes something in the magic box.

Fast growing ground cover: Sand thyme (Thymus serpyllum)

Thyme in the garden against weeds

The groundcover thyme, also called cushion thyme due to its low growth height of 8 to 10 cm and its turf-like, dense structure, is an extremely elegant solution. With its shades of purple to scarlet, it is not only a feast for the eyes, but also intensely fragrant and very popular with bees. This native wild plant is considered a flowering ornamental, herb and medicinal plant and is edible and non-toxic. This ground cover is fast growing, evergreen and even tread resistant. The flowering period is from June to August. Sand thyme likes a rather sunny spot and grows perennially. So it will make your gardening and maintenance much easier.

Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum): winter-hardy and fast-growing

Woodruff ground cover against weeds

Sweet woodruff is a fast-growing, hardy groundcover and is suitable for semi-shady to shady spots and damp corners, such as under a tree or in the shade of a house, and tends to like loamy soil. The plant has delicate white flowers from April to June and gives off a pleasant fragrance reminiscent of freshly cut grass. Woodruff is non-toxic, considered a medicinal plant and flowering ornamental, and is bee-friendly.

Always beautiful against weeds: flowering ground covers

Carpet phlox ground cover against weeds


Flowering ground cover for sun and partial shade: carpet phlox (Phlox subulata)

Carpet phlox or cushion phlox is an evergreen and hardy flame flower native to the USA, belonging to the pennywort family, which likes it semi-shade to sunny and grows in stony to sandy soil, beautifying slopes and garden walls. It blooms from April to June in violet, blue, pink and white colors with a growth height of 5 to 15 cm. It serves as a flower decoration and a nectar plant, so it is beautiful to look at and feeds the bees.

Beautiful green even in winter: wintergreen ground cover varieties.

Small evergreen wintergreen ground cover

When choosing ground cover planting, it is important to pay attention to the climatic garden zone in which the plant feels at home, for optimal growth and flowering results. In Germany, plants that survive the winter are classified for zones 7a-7b, 8a-8b and in mountainous areas at 9a. All of our suggested groundcover varieties are suitable for these zones. Please refer to your specific location for optimal flowering results for your garden. Wintergreen varieties, are plants that will continue to green your garden through the winter.

Small periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Small periwinkle is a semi-shrub that grows about 10 to 30 inches tall and bears purple, blue or white flowers from April to May and August to September. It grows in sandy to loamy soil and feels comfortable in both shade and sun. But beware. This little plant is poisonous. So if you have children or pets, consider the location, which for this reason should not be easily accessible. Nevertheless, the plant is popular with bees and can be very well placed on slopes.

Evergreen ground cover to combat weeds: fatman’s bane (Pachysandra terminalis).

Japanese ysander as ground cover against weeds


This evergreen hardy ground cover is also called ysander, is a 15-30 cm tall small shrub that grows in shade or partial shade, preferably on moist soil, and finds its suitability for beautifying areas, for example, under trees. This plant is also poisonous, so it should not be too easily accessible to children and pets. The semi-shrub blooms from April to May in small white, slightly fragrant flowers.

Easy against weeds: low-maintenance ground cover plants

Low-maintenance ground cover against weeds goldenseal

Low-maintenance ground cover for the rock garden: goldenseal (Aurinia saxatilis).

Goldenseal, or rockweed, is native to sunny southern Europe and prefers sunny to semi-shady sites with sandy loamy soil. It grows to about 20-30 inches tall, blooms in wheel-shaped yellow flowers from April to May, and is great for decorating rock gardens and feeding bees. It is easy to care for as it does not require much water and despite its southern origin, it is also hardy, easily withstanding temperatures as low as -35 degrees.

Lavender (Lavandula Augustifolia)

The fragrant Mediterranean plant that adds charm to any garden is not a classic ground cover, but it can be used as such when planted appropriately. For example, it decorates larger, exposed areas with plenty of sunlight and dry to loamy soil or as a bed border. To use lavender as a groundcover, use varieties that do not grow as tall and plant the plants in the area at regular intervals from each other. Smaller growing varieties include Blue Scent, Dwarf Blue or Peter Pan. These varieties grow to a maximum height of 40 cm. In Germany, lavender blooms a little later and you can expect the fragrant flowers from mid-June to July. Lavender is a popular bee pasture , it needs water only when it is particularly hot, fertilizer only once at the beginning of the season and is a hardy semi-shrub.

Ground cover for shade places

Ground cover against weeds planting ivy flower for shady places

Fairy flowers (Epimedium)

A romantic solution for shady spots in the garden, such as under trees, is planting elfflowers as groundcovers. There are deciduous Asian species as well as evergreen, hardy European species of this sock flower growing in moderately dry to moist soil. They like to grow in the shade and delight us in the spring with their flowers, which are available in a wide range of colors.

Ground cover tread resistant: two birds with one stone

Roman chamomile tread resistant lawn substitute

With all ground cover plantings, but especially those that can be walked on, because of the proximity, it should be noted that bees or other insects like to stay there. Therefore, you should always move around and carefully and not blindly reach in to avoid being stung.

Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

This valuable medicinal plant has other talents besides these strong capabilities. For example, as a tread-resistant groundcover for smaller exposed, sunny to semi-shaded areas, where it reaches a growth height of 10 cm – 15 cm. Its pretty daisy-like flowers bloom from June to September. For this purpose, the soil can be dry to moist and gravelly to loamy. The plant is evergreen and should be cut regularly, after the season. If you do not want the plant to spread, you can use the sterile variety Plena, which does not self-seed. Another variety, Treneague, does not form flowers and is even hardier as a lawn substitute. On the fragrant chamomile plant, you can confidently celebrate a garden party or enjoy a garden walk or sunbath.

Star moss (Sagina subulata)

Star moss ground cover instead of lawn

An elegant as well as tread-resistant ground cover solution for shady, semi-shady and sunny parts of the garden is star moss. This is not really a moss plant, as the name suggests. Rather, it is a delicate, pretty masthead plant that blooms white from June to August and is also hardy and evergreen. It is easy to care for, grows 3 inches to 5 inches tall, and does well in moderately moist to moist soil. It is well suited as a tread-resistant ground cover against weeds for area or roof planting and also does well in the rock garden.