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Clay tolerant low maintenance ground cover plants for borders and problem areas

Ground cover plants are ideal for low in put gardener. Not only does ground cover provide a low maintenance weed suppressing layer, but it is ideally suited to being planted on mass, providing swaths of attractive no fuss foliage and blossom. A variety of ground cover plants are tough enough to put up with heavy clay and some will also put up with a shady spot. Many of the plants on this list are also evergreen, which means you get some added winter interest thrown in.

Ground cover can be planted around taller plants, as a low edge of bed planting or in larger drifts, and there are a wide range of ground cover plants that will be happy on heavy clay soils in a range of troublesome conditions, such as difficult hard to manage banks or in a shady corner that you don’t know what to do with.

To get plants going it is best to dig a decent sized planting pit at least three times the size of the pot you are planting – dig into the hole and spoil plenty of well rotted compost to ensure young plants are not exposed to water-logging after planting. Once established this will become less of a problem and many plants will spread and root into surrounding soil, in fact eventually you might find your biggest problem with some of these plants is keeping them under control.


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Latin &
Common Name
EarmarkType & FormFlowers & Foliage
Alchemilla mollis - Ladies mantle, AlcemillaAlchemilla mollis

Ladies mantle, Alcemilla
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Rounded - ClumpLime green flowers (Summer early)
Carex oshimensis - Evergold - Golden Sedge, CarexCarex oshimensis

'Evergold'

Golden Sedge, Carex
Herbaceous Flowers, Grass, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading archingNon-flowering
Polygonatum x hybridum - Stiatum - Solomons seal, PolygonatumPolygonatum x hybridum

'Stiatum'

Solomon's seal, Polygonatum
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, SpreadingWhite flowers (Summer early)
Brunnera macrophylla - Langtrees - Siberian BuglossBrunnera macrophylla

'Langtrees'

Siberian Bugloss
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingDark blue flowers (Spring)
Hedera helix - Goldchild - Ivy, HederaHedera helix

'Goldchild'

Ivy, Hedera
Climber, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading archingNon-flowering
Ajuga reptans - Bugle, AjugaAjuga reptans

Bugle, Ajuga
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading ground huggingDark blue flowers (Spring)
Persicaria affine - BistortPersicaria affine

Bistort
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingRed flowers (Summer)
Bergenia purpurascens - Elephants ears, bergeniaBergenia purpurascens

Elephants ears, bergenia
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading clumpDark pink flowers (Spring)
Pulmonaria - Trevi Fountain - LungwortPulmonaria

'Trevi Fountain'

Lungwort
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Rounded - ClumpDark pink flowers (Summer early)
Vinca minor - Atropurpurea - PeriwinkleVinca minor

'Atropurpurea'

Periwinkle
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingPurple flowers (Summer)


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