Popular Landscaping Groundcovers and Shrubs

Find out which shrubs and groundcovers will grow best in your yard, plus get details on the best times to plant, fertilize and prune.

©Horticopia

©Horticopia

©Horticopia

©Horticopia

Sea Green Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Sea Green')

Once established, this evergreen shrub is drought tolerant.

Upright, vase-shaped evergreen shrub noted for its bright green scale-like foliage
Plant in full sun in moist, but well-drained soil
Drought tolerant once established
Fertilize in mid spring with water-soluble fertilizer
Prune as needed to maintain shape
Height: 4-6 feet/ Width: 6-8 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 4-9:
Zone 4: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; avoid exposure to harsh winter wind.
Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; avoid exposure to harsh winter wind.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun; apply mulch after first frost; avoid exposure to harsh winter wind.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; apply mulch after first frost; avoid exposure to harsh winter wind.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; apply mulch in fall; avoid exposure to harsh winter wind.
Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; apply mulch in fall.

Blue Maid Holly (Ilex x meserveae 'Blue Maid')

The blue maid holly is noted for its abundant red fruit.

Evergreen shrub noted for its glossy green foliage and abundant red fruit (female cultivar)
Plant in full sun to partial shade
Plant in rich, but well-drained soil
Water regularly until established
Prune in spring as needed
Height: 10-15 feet/ Width: 10-12 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 5-8:
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch in fall.

Blue Princess Holly (Ilex x meserveae 'Blue Princess')

A notable feature of the blue princess holly is its glossy green foliage.

Ilex x meserveae 'Blue Princess'
Evergreen shrub noted for its glossy green foliage and abundant red fruit (female cultivar)
Plant in full sun to partial shade
Plant in rich, but well-drained soil
Water regularly until established
Prune in spring as needed
Height: 10 feet/ Width: 10 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 5-8:
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch in fall.

Midnight Wine (Weigela 'Midnight Wine')

This shrub produces the best foliage color when planted in full sun.

Small deciduous shrub with dark purple foliage and reddish-pink flowers in spring
Best foliage color is in full sun
Plant in rich, but well-drained soil
Water regularly until established; fertilize in spring; prune after flowering if needed
Height: to 2 feet/ Width: to 2 feet
Hardy in USDA zones (4) 5-8 (9):
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt; may be marginally hardy in this zone.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; may languish in this warmer climate.

Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)

New leaves emerge pink on this semi to evergreen shrub.

Large arching semi to evergreen shrub with new leaves that emerge pink and white fragrant flowers
Attractive to bees and butterflies
Plant in full sun to partial shade; foliage and flowering is better in full sun
Plant in average garden soil that is well-drained
Height: 8-10 feet/ Width: 8-12 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 6-9:
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again in spring; water when dry.

Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa 'Primrose Beauty')

This deciduous arching shrub has pale yellow flowers from summer until frost.

Deciduous arching shrub with silver-gray foliage and pale yellow flowers from summer until frost
Plant in full sun to partial shade
Very cold tolerant; salt tolerant
Plant in average garden soil that is well-drained
Height: 3-4 feet/ Width: 3-4 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 2-7:
Zone 2: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 3: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.

Goldfinger Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa 'Goldfinger')

The goldfinger cinquefoil is very cold tolerant.

Deciduous arching shrub with silver-gray foliage and bright yellow flowers from summer until frost
Plant in full sun to partial shade
Very cold tolerant; salt tolerant
Plant in average garden soil that is well-drained
Height: 3-4 feet/ Width: 3-4 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 2-7:
Zone 2: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 3: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.

Rose Glow Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Rose Glow')

This deciduous shrub is considered invasive in certain parts of the country, so plant it with care.

Gardener's Note: The Rose Glow Japanese Barberry is a non-native, invasive species in Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, New England and Midwest. Plant with care.
Mounding, deciduous shrub with red leaves flecked with white, yellow flowers and thorns
Remove spent flower stalks to prevent unwanted seedlings
Plant in full sun to light shade; foliage color better in full sun
Prune back after first frost; divide and fertilize in spring
Plant in fertile, moist but well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established
Height: 3-5 feet/ Width: 3-4 feet
Hardy in zones 4-8:
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt; pull mulch back in spring.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.

Quartz Red With Eye Verbena (Verbena x hybrida 'Quartz Red with Eye')

This annual is grown as a groundcover and blooms all season.

Annual trailing verbena grown as a groundcover that blooms profusely all season with bright red flowers with a white eye
Plant in loose organic soil that is well-drained; makes an excellent container plant; attracts butterflies
Plant in full sun
Height: 8-12 inches/ Width: 12-18 inches, spreading
Grown as an annual in all zones:
All Zones: Plant in spring after danger of frost has passed; plant in full sun; water when dry; bring indoors for winter or discard plants after first killing frost.

Royal Star Magnolia (Magnolia x stellata 'Royal Star')

White star-like flowers appear on this shrub, or small multi-trunked tree, in very early spring.

Shrub or small multi-trunked tree with fragrant white star-like flowers in very early spring
Buds are pink before opening
Late frosts may damage flowers
Plant in full sun to light shade
Plant in rich, but well-drained soil
Fertilize in late spring with acid-based fertilizer
Height: 10-12 feet/ Width: 10-15 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 4-8 (9):
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; pruning is rarely needed, but can be done after flowering; mulch heavily after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; pruning is rarely needed, but can be done after flowering; mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun; pruning is rarely needed, but can be done after flowering; mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; pruning is rarely needed, but can be done after flowering; mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; pruning is rarely needed, but can be done after flowering; mulch in fall.
Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; pruning is rarely needed, but can be done after flowering; mulch in fall; flowering may be reduced in this warmer zone.

Pink Knockout Rose (Rosa 'Pink Knockout')

The pink knockout rose is ver disease resistant.

Hardy shrub rose with medium pink single to semi-double blooms from late spring to frost
Very Disease Resistant
Moist, but well-drained soil; fertilize regularly during growing season
Prune while dormant in late winter
Plant in full sun for all zones
Height: to 4-5 feet/ Width: 4-5 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 4-9:
Zone 4: Plant in spring; water in dry periods during growing season; after first hard frost in zone 4a, build protective cage around and 6!? taller than shrub and fill with compost or shredded leaves; after first hard frost in zone 4b, mound compost or shredded leaves several inches above crown; prune back 1/3 to ½ in late winter; may suffer significant dieback in this zone.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; water in dry periods during growing season; after first hard frost, mound compost or shredded leaves several inches above crown; prune back 1/3 to 12 in late winter.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; water in dry periods during growing season; after first hard frost, mound compost or shredded leaves several inches deep above crown; prune back 1/3 to 1/2 in late winter.
Zone 7: Plant in early spring or early fall; water in dry periods during growing season; prune back 1/3 to 1/2 in late winter.
Zone 8: Plant in early spring or early fall; water in dry periods during growing season; prune back 1/3 to 1/2 in late winter.
Zone 9: Plant in early spring or early fall; water in dry periods during growing season; watch for fungal diseases year round; apply light fertilizer in November; prune back 1/3 to 1/2 after blooming which can continue into December.

Fairy Rose (Rosa 'The Fairy')

This shrub rose double blooms from late spring to frost.

Hardy shrub rose with pale pink double blooms from late spring to frost
Very Disease Resistant
Moist, but well-drained soil; fertilize regularly during growing season
Prune while dormant in late winter
Plant in full sun for all zones
Height: to 2-3 feet/ Width: 2-3 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 5-9:
Zone 5: Plant in spring; water in dry periods during growing season; after first hard frost, mound compost or shredded leaves several inches above crown; prune back 1/3 to 1/2 in late winter.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; water in dry periods during growing season; after first hard frost, mound compost or shredded leaves several inches deep above crown; prune back 1/3 to 1/2 in late winter.
Zone 7: Plant in early spring or early fall; water in dry periods during growing season; prune back 1/3 to 1/2 in late winter.
Zone 8: Plant in early spring or early fall; water in dry periods during growing season; prune back 1/3 to 1/2 in late winter.
Zone 9: Plant in early spring or early fall; water in dry periods during growing season; watch for fungal diseases year round; apply light fertilizer in November; prune back 1/3 to 1/2 after blooming, which can continue into December.

Big Blue Liriope (Liriope muscari 'Big Blue')

This evergreen groundcover can be planted in full sun to full shade.

Clump forming, evergreen ground cover with grass-like foliage and lavender flowers in summer
Plant in rich organic soil that is well-drained
Plant in full sun to full shade
Prune back tattered foliage in late winter; divide in spring if needed
Height: 12-18 inches/ Width: 1-2 feet
Hardy in USDA zones (5) 6-10:
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; avoid exposure to salt; mulch heavily after first frost; pull back mulch in spring; may be deciduous in this zone.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to full shade; mulch after first frost; pull back mulch in spring.
Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to full shade; mulch after first frost; pull back mulch in spring.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in light to full shade; mulch in fall; pull back mulch in spring.
Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in light to full shade; mulch in fall; pull back mulch in spring.
Zone 10: Plant in early fall; plant in light to full shade; mulch in fall; pull back mulch in spring.

Daybreak Orange Cream Treasure Flower (Gazania rigens 'Daybreak Orange Cream')

Treasure flowers bear beautiful large daisy-like flowers.

Tender perennial grown as an annual for its large 3-5 inch daisy-like flowers with yellow centers, dark pink at the petal bases fading to light pink at the tips
Plant in full sun; fertilize regularly
Plant in coarse, sharply drained soil; plant slightly high; susceptible to root rot
Height: 10-16 inches/ Width: 8-12 inches
Hardy in zones 9-11:
Zones 2-8: Plant in spring after danger of frost has passed; plant in full sun; water when dry, but don't over water; discard plants after first hard frost.
Zone 9: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; water when dry, but don't over water; cut back and mulch in fall.
Zone 10: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; water when dry, but don't over water; cut back and mulch in fall.
Zone 11: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; water when dry, but don't over water; cut back and mulch in fall.

Trailing Dusty Miller (Helichrysum petiolare 'Limelight' -- Licorice Plant)

This annual vine has fuzzy leaves.

Trailing annual vine with bright chartreuse fuzzy leaves
Plant in moist, but well-drained soil; water when dry
Plant in light shade; may lose leaf color in strong light or heat
Height: 20 inches/ Width: to 6 feet
Annual in USDA zones 2-9
Hardy in USDA zones 10-11:
Zones 2-9: Plant in spring after danger of frost has passed; fertilize with water-based fertilizer twice monthly during growing season; cut back foliage and bring indoors before frost or discard plants after killing frost.
Zones 10-11: Plant in spring; mulch in fall; prune away old foliage in early spring; fertilize twice monthly during spring and summer.