Evergreen ground covers are the perfect option for filling difficult garden spaces and adding beauty and color to your landscape. There is a wide range of evergreen groundcovers to choose from and we know that deciding which is right for you, your region and your landscape can be overwhelming.
This article highlights 25 evergreen ground covers that might be an option for you, or at least give you ideas for that perfect ground cover. You will see that they each have their own pros and cons and some plants offer evergreen varieties within their families. Which gives you even more options.
Many of the groundcovers on our list require minimal maintenance, most are weed suppressants, and virtually all are excellent at preventing soil erosion. Consider what is native to your area, whether it's suited to the climate, and whether it's something that will thrive under your care. However, don't worry about how many plants are available; We are happy to give you a starting point and make your journey easier.
25 of the best evergreen ground covers
Dwarf lingonberry produces edible berries and tender leaves. Source: Nicolas Schwab
Vaccinium vitis-idaea minus is commonly known as dwarf lingonberry. This evergreen groundcover spreads by runners and grows only 4-6 inches tall. Pink bell-shaped flowers bloom in spring and turn into edible red berries in fall. The oval leaves remain shiny all year round. It is hardy from zone 8 and below and grows better when summers are not too hot. In the wild, the cranberry is an important food source for black bears, moose, caribou and rabbits.
Learn more: cranberry plants
English ivy needs containment to avoid spread but is very effective. Source: anro0002
English ivy (Hedera helix) is a fast and aggressive growing perennial ground cover plant. In some areas it is listed as invasive and poisonous to humans and animals. On the plus side, it grows in hardiness zones 4-9 and is a great groundcover when you need to fill a tricky area quickly. English ivy is a cascading plant that likes to climb and has waxy, leathery, lobed leaves with white veins. It produces small starburst yellow-green flowers in late summer which develop into berries appreciated by birds.
Learn more: English ivy
Creeping rosemary does double duty as a groundcover and herb. Source: benloudman
Another fast-growing groundcover is the creeping rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus'. It is also commonly known as trailing or prostrate rosemary because it can spread up to 8 feet. It has grey-green lanceolate leaves that are fragrant – these leaves are also edible. Pale blue flowers grow in clusters that show up during the warm summer months. Creeping rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region, so it is only hardy in zones 8-10.
Learn more: rosemary
Creeping juniper is drought tolerant. Source: Cranbrook Institute of Science
The horizontal, feathery branches of the creeping juniper make it a popular choice for those who want a groundcover plant that doesn't require a lot of attention. Creeping juniper, Juniperus horizontalis, has blue-green foliage that develops a reddish hue in winter. She is ideal for zones 3-9 and the female plants produce obscure flowers that turn into bluish-grey berries. The size of these evergreens depends on the variety, but they typically spread 6-8 feet and can grow to 2 feet tall. Blue Star Juniper is a variety that is ideal for rock gardens and prevents soil erosion.
Learn more: Creeping juniper
Creeping thyme turns pink with hints of flowers. Source: Withrow
Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) stays evergreen in areas with mild winters, so it's also classified as semi-evergreen. It is drought tolerant and features woody stems with tiny, oval, bluish-green leaves. Although it can have fragrant leaves, creeping thyme is not ideal for culinary purposes. Bell-shaped purple flowers attract pollinators in the summer months and this evergreen is hardy in zones 4-8.
Japanese Spurge produces dainty white flowers in spring. Source: Carl E Lewis
Japanese Spurge, Pachysandra terminalis, is a shrubby, evergreen groundcover plant native to Japan. It is hardy in zones 4-8 and grows up to 10 inches tall. It is a semi-evergreen ground cover in colder weather areas. It can be an invasive plant, so it's best to plant it where it won't spread easily. The leaves are small and finely serrated, and it blooms with dainty white flowers in early spring. Japanese Spurge prefers partial shade to full shade and thrives in well-drained soil.
Learn more: Japanese Spurge
Bearberry is tolerant of freezing conditions or poor soil. Source: Matt Lavin
One of the best evergreen ground covers that require minimal maintenance is bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). Commonly known as Kinnikinnick or Bearberry, it is a food source for bears and other wildlife. It thrives on sandy and nutrient-poor soils. Frosty climates are no problem for this ground cover plant as it is ideal for zones 2-7. It prefers full sun but tolerates dry shade. Bearberry spreads by rhizomes, forming a dense ground cover with deep green, waxy leaves. The bell-shaped pink flowers add seasonal interest and a lovely scent.
chickens and chicks
Xeriscapers love the evergreen groundcover effect of chickens and chicks. Source: cristina.sanvito
Chickens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) are an ideal ground cover for dry soil and rock gardens. These evergreen ground covers are succulent and therefore drought tolerant. They store water in their leaves and were originally planted on thatched roofs to prevent fires. A common sight in garden beds, these succulents grow well in zones 3-8. The leaves are arranged in large rosettes (the hen) forming small staggered rosettes, aptly called chicks. The hens die after producing a long-stemmed flower. Chickens and chicks are slow growers, but plant them in bare soil and they will gradually reproduce.
Creeping Myrtle loves deep shade and will fill any available space. Source: Andrés Bertens
One of the best evergreen groundcover plants for deep shade is creeping myrtle (Vinca minor), for its attractive foliage and lavender flowers. This low-growing plant helps suppress weeds with its robust root system and dense foliage. The purple star-shaped flowers stand out against the glossy green foliage, and this trailing plant grows in zones 4-9. Keep in mind that the plant is poisonous to pets, but tolerates dry soil and prefers partial shade to shade.
The creeping phlox turns into a riot of colors in the summer. Source: VT Cookie Monster
Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is a semi-evergreen ground cover plant that forms a low thick mat and grows less than a foot tall. Pink, star-shaped flowers bloom in early summer, hiding the dainty evergreen foliage. Creeping phlox is best grown in zones 5-9 as it cannot tolerate colder climates. This plant grows in a variety of soil conditions from acidic to alkaline, but thrives best in well-drained soil. It is easy to care for and, like many other ground covers, enjoys full sun.
Learn more: creeping phlox
Black Mondo Grass
Black mondo grass is a striking addition to the garden. Source: Declicjardin
This groundcover plant offers year-round interest due to its showy purple-black evergreen foliage. Black moongrass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') thrives in full sun and grows in zones 5-10. It prefers moist soil and each clump of grass reaches 6 inches in height. Known for being slow-growing, the purple flowers that bloom in summer make the wait worthwhile. Mini mondo grass is a variety with dark green foliage and typically grows to only 4 inches.
Learn more: Black Mondo Grass
Creeping Raspberry is a fruiting evergreen ground cover. Source: Bushman.K
Rubus hayata-koidzumi is the botanical name for creeping raspberry. This creeping groundcover maintains its foliage in zones 7-9 year-round and enjoys full sun to part shade. It will survive even with sporadic watering and dry shade. In summer, the creeping raspberry produces small white flowers that can be lost in the profusion of lobed emerald leaves. The fruit is edible, but the thorns along the woody stems are something to watch out for. In winter the leaves develop a beautiful red hue.
Learn more: Creeping Raspberry
Creeping Jenny looks vibrant in summer with fall colors. Source: anro0002
The botanical name of the creeping jenny is Lysimachia nummularia. These groundcovers quickly fill an area and display chalky-colored foliage in zones 2-10 year-round. Consider planting it in an area where other plants have trouble growing, but in a place where it won't encroach on everything else. Due to its robust root systems, it thrives in full sun or full shade. The flowers bloom yellow in summer and the rounded leaves turn bronze in the cold winter months.
Prostrate Rock Cotoneaster takes on an autumnal glow. Source: wlcutler
This evergreen groundcover is an option for areas with cold winters. The USDA hardiness zone is 4-7 and its botanical name is Cotoneaster horizontalis 'Perpusillus'. The ideal location is full sun, but it tolerates partial shade. Cotoneaster has tiny leaves and ornamental red berries with thick, intertwined branches. It might fit into the upright plant category at 1 to 2 feet tall, but it has a width of 5 to 7 feet. In late spring, it blooms with small white flowers that turn into showy red berries.
Learn more: Cotoneaster horizontalis
Spotted deadnettle forms a carpet of green leaves. Source: anro0002
Spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum) remains evergreen only in milder climates that don't get a freezing winter. It is a perennial that is hardy in zones 4-8. They like full to partial shade and will tolerate wet soil as long as it is well drained. Its leaves have jagged edges with a silvery sheen, and purple flowers bloom in summer. When their stems touch the ground, they take root and eventually form a mat. The average height is less than a foot with a wingspan of 2-3 feet.
Siberian cypress has pinnate, draping foliage. Source: MeganEHansen
Microbiota decussata, commonly known as Siberian cypress, is extremely cold tolerant with a hardiness zone of 2-7. Resembling juniper leaves, the pinnate foliage turns brownish-purple in winter and can be shaped or trimmed to suit your landscape. It produces no flowers or berries but will spread to 6 feet and reach heights of up to 18 inches. Use it to fill rocky slopes with thin soil to help with erosion control. It grows in full sun to part sun and requires a moderate amount of water.
Learn more: Microbiota decussata
Gold colored Sedum rupestre forms arching flower spikes. Source: Hortulus
Angelina stonecrop, Sedum rupestre 'Angelina', is a groundcover that is hardy in zones 3-11. This makes it cold tolerant and the green, needle-like foliage turns yellow in winter. In summer, the yellow flowers add color and interest, making them a good addition to most landscapes. It grows moderately fast, prefers full sun and does not require much water once established. Angelina Stonecrop is ideal for those who want a low maintenance evergreen groundcover.
Christmas fern stays green all year round. Source: Justin Tso
Polystichum acrostichoides is commonly referred to as the Christmas Fern because it stays green into Christmas in areas with mild winters. Its hardiness zone is 3-8 and it forms in clumps 1-2 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. Moist and well-drained soil will ensure these beautiful ferns thrive. Full to partial shade is ideal, making it a great choice for planting under trees and large shrubs to fill in space and prevent erosion. They don't flower, but in the spring it produces ferns.
Hoogendorn Japanese Holly
The 'Hoogendorn' cultivar of Japanese holly makes a good low-growing cover. Source: harum.koh
This cultivar of Japanese holly, Ilex crenata 'Hoogendorn', grows low to the ground and spreads to 2 feet wide. Its hardiness zone is 6-9 and the flattened leaves resemble boxwood. White flowers burst out in spring and the waxy leaves look pretty all year round. Hoogendorn thrives best in full sun and in well-drained soil. She requires a moderate amount of water but will tolerate the soil becoming dry between waterings.
Globe Ice Plant
Ice plants are a common evergreen ground cover along California's coasts. Source: Meerar
If you are looking for a groundcover that can withstand very cold climates, then the ball ice plant (Ruschia punctulata) could be a good choice. It is a hardy succulent that also tolerates small amounts of water. The stems are woody and thick with small leaves that remain vibrant year-round. In spring, small pink flowers burst out to add color to your landscape. The average height is less than 5 inches with a spread of up to 15 inches.
Corsican mint tolerates light foot traffic and is delightfully scented. Source: D. Eickhoff
Mentha requienii is an evergreen groundcover in mild climates and hardy in USDA growing zones 7-11. It can be an aggressive breeder and is known as invasive in some areas of the United States. Corsican mint only reaches a height of ¼ inch, but spreads out to cover the entire area. Ideal for filling crevices and walkways that are shaded and can be controlled. Upon entering, it exudes a pleasant mint scent.
Learn more: Corsican coin
Brass knobs create fern-like leaves with small disc-like flowers. Source: D. Eickhoff
This evergreen plant is ideal for rock gardens and for filling rooms with its dense foliage. Leptinella squalida is hardy in zones 4-10 but remains evergreen in zones 9-10. It is low-growing with fern-like foliage and tiny yellow-green disc flowers that resemble buttons when blooming. Regular watering and full sun (in mild climates) will keep this plant happy.
Learn more: brass buttons
Wandgamander helps in erosion control as it spreads gradually. Source: Darkroom Daze
Wall germander is ideal when you want a groundcover with height. Mass plantings provide texture, color, and protection against erosion. Teucrium chamaedrys grows to a foot tall and spreads to two feet. The aromatic dark leaves have a serrated edge and small purple flowers appear in July. It is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and prefers full sun in well-drained soil and a small to moderate amount of moisture.
The prickly pear will gradually spread out over time to form more cushions. Source: Flitzy Phoebie
An ideal ground cover for dry areas is prickly pear, Opuntia spp. It prefers hot climates where it doesn't receive much moisture, such as USDA zones 3-9. This cactus forms clumps that can grow up to 14 inches tall. Beautiful yellow flowers with a red center bloom from June to July. Prickly pears thrive on dry, sandy soil and tolerate drought.
Candytuft is drought and heat tolerant and blooms beautifully. Source: douneika
One look at this evergreen groundcover and you'll understand why it got its name. Candytuft, Iberis sempervirens, blooms with an abundance of white flowers that attract many pollinators. It is hardy in zones 4-8 and ideal for a xeriscape garden as it is drought tolerant and loves the sun. The plant grows in bushy mounds, up to 12 inches tall and just as wide. However, she needs well-drained soil and full sun to thrive. The foliage retains its dark green color throughout the winter.
Learn more: candytuft
frequently asked Questions
Q: What is the fastest growing evergreen groundcover?
A: There are many evergreen ground covers that grow fast and one of the fastest growing is thyme (Thymus serpyllum). Use it to fill in gaps along your stone path as it fills the gaps on the fly and tolerates foot traffic.
Q: What is the best low maintenance ground cover?A: Creeping juniper, Juniperus horizontalis, is one of the best low-maintenance ground covers because it is drought tolerant and grows in poor soil and other areas that other plants do not support.
The green thumb behind this article: