Just about any plant could be classified as a ground cover so long as it is perennial, evergreen, trailing or clumping and grows less than one foot high. Ground covers used in landscaping are automatically associated with low-lying plants that are Poisonous. Some kinds of ground covers are better suited to erosion control, while some just take up space and look fairly.

Erosion Control

Trailing and clumping ground covers are a popular choice for erosion control because their root systems spread, covering the ground completely, allowing them to readily adapt to slopes and banks. The roots of the plants will grow deep into the ground and hold it, producing tight mounds and clusters. Creeping St. Johnswort (Hypericum Calycinum) is a evergreen shrublet, appropriate for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 though 9, with a vigorous underground root and stem system making it well suited for erosion control.

Fire Retardant

Fire-retardant ground covers hug the ground making them less prone to ignite. Succulents that quickly develop a cover several inches thick are perfect fire-retardant plants, since they possess a high moisture or higher salt content. For example, ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) is a succulent perennial, growing in USDA zones 5 through 9, that requires full sun and great drainage.

Low Creepers

While no plant or ground cover is just as ideal for walking as a yard, a couple of ground covers are somewhat more tolerant of mild foot traffic than others. All these low-creeping ground covers can also be utilized between pavers and stepping stones. Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is a soft-textured ground cap with yellow flowers appropriate for USDA zones 4 through 9. Juniper (Juniperus communis) is also a low creeper often used on banks and as a fill-in ground cover.

Drape and Trail

Draping and trailing ground covers develop flat along the ground. This growing pattern is highlighted if they develop over a wall or even on the edge of a bankaccount. Some of these plants are fast-growing, however they often can not withstand drought conditions or weather swings because they have a shallow root system. Indian mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica), for instance, is an evergreen to semi-evergreen trailing plant, ideal for zones 3 through 9 that produce yellow flowers and ornamental red fruit.

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