12 Flowering Ground Cover Plants For Sun Or Shade

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Rain or shine, these flowering ground covers are sure to wow in your landscape!

Ground covers are durable low-growing plants that are often mass-planted to spread and fill tough-to-grow sites. Some ground covers are foliage-heavy, while others are covered in gorgeous, fragrant flower petals. Whether you’re looking to suppress weeds, create a now-mow lawn that spreads over a large area, or fill gaps and creep between stepping stones or slopes, these flowering ground cover perennials will look fabulous! But the beauty doesn’t stop there; after the flowers bloom, these plants will continue to display striking foliage in the garden for many months. What’s not to love? Let’s dig in and discuss some of our favorite flowering ground covers, for both sun and shade!

Flowering Ground Cover Plants For Shade

Bugleweed

(Ajuga)

If you’re looking for a durable, easy-care flowering ground cover for your shade garden, look no further than bugleweed (Ajuga)! The frilled blue/purple flower spikes appear on top of glossy foliage in the late spring and early summer, helping form a thick carpet of blooms that help suppress weeds. When the flowers go away, striking evergreen foliage becomes the star and can change color as the season progresses.

Bloom Time: Spring/summer.

Light Requirements: Sun/Part Sun/Shade.

Water Requirements: Easily grown in average soils.

Foamflower

(Tiarella)

The charming flower texture and evergreen foliage from foamflower have gained popularity amongst gardeners, and rightfully so. This compact perennial can be used as a ground cover in shady spots like under trees or below large shrubs. Foamflower is also easy to grow, durable, and adaptable to various soils.

Bloom Time: Spring

Light Requirements: Shade/part sun.

Water Requirements: Water when the soil is dry. Avoid wet soils, which can be fatal in winter.

Astilbe

(Astilbe)

Astilbe adds instant texture and fragrance to any shady area! This summer bloomer features fluffy flower spikes and fern-like foliage that thrives in the shade. After the flowers are spent, they stay upright through winter, providing contrast and texture to snowy landscapes. We love using them to add an eclectic vibe to rain gardens or woodland areas with moist soil.

Bloom Time: Early to mid-summer.

Light Requirements: Part sun/shade.

Water Requirements: Likes soil consistently moist. Adding mulch can help retain soil moisture.

Siberian Bugloss

(Brunnera)

Siberian bugloss (Brunnera) delicate blue flowers float above eclectic cool-toned foliage that practically shimmers in a shade garden.  Along with gorgeous blue flowers, the heart-shaped foliage features a silvery hue, reflecting light in the shade garden. Some varieties even offer an extra pop with white variegation. This ground cover is also deer-resistant and incredibly easy to care for!

Bloom Time: Mid to late spring.

Light Requirements: Part sun/shade.

Water Requirements: Moderate, prefers even moisture.

Coral Bells

(Heuchera)

If variety is the spice of life, then coral bells (Heuchera) are just that ingredient you need in your shade garden! The colorful foliage below tall flower stems make a statement and “add a little spice” to nearly any shade garden. Purple, orange, green, red, and more coral bells come in various colors that complement your unique garden style.

Bloom Time: Spring.

Light Requirements: Shade/part sun.

Water Requirements: Moderate, prefers even moisture.

Lungwort

(Pulmonaria)

Just because you have a shade garden shouldn’t mean you need to sacrifice colorful flowers! Lungwort (Pulmonaria) is a woodland perennial that adds a pop of color to any shady spot during early spring. It’s low-growing and tidy, making it intriguing and easy to manage. Just ensure lungwort stays well-watered; this perennial will surely delight in the landscape for years to come.

Bloom Time: Spring.

Light Requirements: Shade/part sun.

Water Requirements: Average, don’t allow the soils to dry out.

Flowering Ground Cover Plants For Sun

(Phlox subulata)

Consider planting creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) as your next flowering ground cover to attract pollinators and support your local ecosystem. Creeping phlox blooms in the spring and provides a great early nectar source for swallowtail butterflies and more. With so many beautiful phlox colors and varieties, pollinators won’t be the only ones attracted to your garden!

Bloom Time: Late spring through mid-summer.

Light Requirements: Shade/part sun.

Water Requirements: Low to average water needs.

Dianthus

(Dianthus)

The array of pink and red colors from dianthus is a swoon-worthy summer site! This deer-resistant perennial can take the heat and looks fantastic while doing so. Dianthus can be planted as a ground cover to brighten drab areas between rocks or other landscape elements. We love using the gorgeous pink hues and silvery foliage to create a romantic pathway to a perennial garden. 

Bloom Time: Early summer.

Light Requirements: Sun/part sun.

Water Requirements: Average water needs. Dianthus is drought-tolerant once established, but should be watered regularly during periods of hot, dry weather.

Blue Star Creeper

(Isotoma fluviatilis)

Hundreds of dainty light blue flowers from Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluvitalis) form a dense mat and smother weeds in the landscape! This superstar ground cover is perfect for gardeners of any skill level and can tolerate heavy foot traffic for many years. 

Bloom Time: Spring through summer.

Light Requirements: Sun/part sun.

Water Requirements: Water regularly until established. Although the plant is drought tolerant, it benefits from extra moisture in full sunlight or hot, dry weather.

Ice Plant

(Delosperma)

If we had to envision a perennial embodying the feeling of summer, we would see a field of ice plant (Delosperma)! The cheery spinning flowers come in various summery colors like bright orange, yellow, and pink above blanket succulent foliage. Because ice plants come in various flower colors, we especially love using them as a flowering ground cover in rainbow gardens.

Bloom Time: Summer.

Light Requirements: Sun.

Water Requirements: Water sparingly during the growing season. Plants have a good tolerance for heat and drought.

Stonecrop

(Sedum)

Stonecrop (Sedum) is a low-maintenance ground cover that likes conditions to be hot and dry, making it perfect for areas prone to high summer tempers with little rainfall. But don’t let its heat resistance fool you; this perennial is also cold-tolerant and hardy down to zone 3. Its gorgeous blooms change color throughout the season and hold up well in cut-flower arrangements.

Bloom Time: Summer and fall.

Light Requirements: Sun.

Water Requirements: Dry to average moisture. It tolerates drought once established, but should receive some water when conditions are hot and dry.

A sea of vibrant red blooms creating a carpet to cover the soil
Pictured: Red Creeping Thyme

Red Creeping Thyme

(Thymus praecox)

The prolific pink blooms and intoxicating fragrance from red creeping thyme have made it a garden favorite! Many use this flowering ground cover in small no-mow lawns for its ability to grow quickly and densely, forming a thick mat of tiny pink/red flowers. As long as this ground cover is planted in a sunny spot with good drainage, it should be good to grow! If you’re looking for information on creeping thyme spacing, check out our ground cover spacing chart HERE.

Bloom Time: Summer.

Light Requirements: Sun.

Water Requirements: Keep soil moist but not wet as plants establish. Once established, it tolerates dry conditions.

Ground Cover Plants For Sale:

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