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Acid tolerant ground cover plants for low borders and mixed planting

Here is a list of low growing acid tolerant plants. Such ground cover plants are great for providing a low maintenance ground hugging foliage layer. Not only will ground cover reduce the need for weeding but it will also ‘lock in’ moisture and reduce the chance of erosion; it also looks much nicer than bare soil so generally this sort of planting is all round good for the time pressed / armchair gardener. Many acid loving or acid tolerant ground cover plants can be planted around taller plants, as a low edge of bed planting or in drifts whether in full sun or part shade, depending on the plants environmental requirements.

There are a number of ground cover plants that will be happy on well drained acid soils whether in full sun or shade. As with all planting, make sure you prepare the soil by digging in plenty of decent well rotted compost and try and get rid of as much weed growth as possible before planting, especially for aggressive perennial weeds such as nettles or couch which will grow through and over run even the toughest of ground cover. If in doubt then a couple applications of a glyphosate based herbicide over the growing season should do it.

As with all new planting, water in generously and repeat water during establishment. An application of bark or compost mulch will also lock in soil moisture and cut down on weed growth.

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Latin &
Common Name
EarmarkType & FormFlowers & Foliage
Pachysandra terminalis - Japanes Spurge, PachysandraPachysandra terminalis

Japanes Spurge, Pachysandra
Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading ground huggingWhite flowers (Spring)
Carex oshimensis - Evergold - Golden Sedge, CarexCarex oshimensis


Golden Sedge, Carex
Herbaceous Flowers, Grass, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading archingNon-flowering
Erica carnea - Springwood White - HeatherErica carnea

'Springwood White'

Shrub, Ground cover, Alpine, Container-friendly, SpreadingWhite flowers (Summer early, scented)
Hedera helix - Ivy, HederaHedera helix

Ivy, Hedera
Climber, Ground cover, SpreadingNon-flowering
Leucothoe axillaris - ScarlettaLeucothoe axillaris

Shrub, Dark pink flowers (Summer late)
Pernettya mucronata - Mascala - PernettyaPernettya mucronata


Shrub, Ground cover, Spreading clumpWhite flowers (Spring)
Calluna vulgaris - Springwood WhiteCalluna vulgaris

'Springwood White'
Shrub, Ground cover, Container-friendly, White flowers (Autumn)
Vaccinium corymbosumVaccinium corymbosum Shrub, Ground cover, Rounded - BushNon-flowering
Rubus - Betty AshburnerRubus

Betty Ashburner
Shrub, Ground cover, Rounded - BushNon-flowering
Vinca minor - Atropurpurea - PeriwinkleVinca minor


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

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Have you seen our other plant top ten recommendations?