Living Mulch - Using Groundcovers

By Kerry Ann Mendez

Who REALLY likes tossing shovel after shovel of mulch on gardens every year? Please let me know if you do, I'll be in touch. 😉

Why not consider using a drought tolerant "living mulch" instead?

Many perennials provide the same benefits as non-living mulch such as retaining soil moisture, keeping soil temperatures cooler with less fluctuation, minimizing erosion, reducing weeds and beautifying the garden. In addition, perennial groundcovers save time and money while also benefiting pollinators. Sweet!

Below are a few great perennial groundcovers, all of which are available at Estabrook's.

For Sun

Creeping Thyme - There are many outstanding choices including Wooly Thyme (pseudolanuginosus), Red Creeping Thyme (praecox 'Coccineus') and English Thyme (vulgaris).

Creeping Sedum - A huge collection available including 'Angelina', 'Fuldaglut', and 'Blue Spruce'.

Creeping Veronica - Check out 'Georgia Blue', 'Venice Blue', and 'Tidal Pool'

Delosperma (Ice Plant) - Funky succulent leaves with daisy-like flowers.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) - This is such an usual plant and is terrific for underplanting around shrubs and trees.

For Shade

Ajuga (Bugleweed) - Eye-catching winners include 'Black Scallop' and 'Chocolate Chip'

Leptinella squalida - A striking, ferny matt of leaves for sun to part shade.

Mazus - A much underused gem!

Isotoma (Blue Star Creeper) - This spring bloomer has soft blue flowers atop tiny matted green leaves.

Lamium (Dead Nettle) - There are many foliage styles to choose from and they also sport white, pink or purple flowers.

About the Author

KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more. Plus, don't miss her Garden Webinar series!

Kerry Ann Mendez