Great Ground Covers for Pathways
10 plants that can hold their own
By: National Home Gardening Club
Good pathway plants can be stepped on and still remain healthy and pretty. They’re also dense enough to keep weeds down. Here are some suggestions:
Ground Covers for Sun
Caraway thyme (Thymus herba-barona)* Zones 6 to 9. Mat-forming, wiry-branched ground cover with dark green leaves that smell like caraway. Pale pink flowers appear in midsummer. Grows to 4 inches.
Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) Zones 3 to 8. Dense ground cover that forms cushions of hairy bright green leaves. Flowers can be purple, red, lilac, pink, or white in late spring and early summer. Grows 2 to 6 inches high.
Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus)* Zones 6 to 9. Bushy with lemon-scented green or gold leaves and pale lavender-pink flowers in summer. Grows to 12 inches.
Rock soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides) Zones 4 to 8. Lance-shaped, hairy, bright green leaves 1/2 inch long; abundant pink flowers 1/2 inch across bloom in summer. Grows to 3 inches.
Sandwort (Arenaria montana) Zones 3 to 5. Vigorous evergreen perennial with linear gray-green leaves and
shallow cup-shaped white flowers that bloom in early summer. Grows 3/4 to 2 inches high.
Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) Zones 3 to 7. Mat-forming perennial with lance-shaped, silver, woolly leaves and profuse star-shaped white flowers in late spring and summer. Grows 2 to 3 inches high.
Woolly thyme (Thymus pseudo-lanuginosus)* Zones 6 to 9. Fragrant ground cover with gray-silver leaves and
summer-blooming pink flowers.
Ground Covers for Shade
Carpet bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) Zones 3 to 9. Spoon-shaped dark green leaves with 6-inch dark blue flowers in late spring and early summer. Some cultivars produce variegated bronze-purple or gray-green leaves splashed with cream and/or pink. Grows 6 inches high.
Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera ‘Bruce’s White’ or ‘Blue Ridge’) Zones 4 to 9. Spreading perennial with 2-inch green leaves and upright stems with pale to deep purple flowers in spring. Some cultivars have blue, white, or pink blooms. Grows 4 to 6 inches high.
Periwinkle or Creeping myrtle (Vinca minor) Zones 4 to 9. Long trailing shoots with dark green leaves produce blue-violet flowers from midspring to autumn. Some cultivars bear white, blue, or plum-purple blooms. Grows 4 to 8 inches high.
* These plants release a nice fragrance when you step on them.