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FutureStarrFlowering Ground Cover Shade
You might think of ivy (Hedera) as a climbing plant, but it can also be encouraged to grow flat, forming attractive evergreen ground cover. There are many varieties to choose from, some variegated, with differing leaf sizes. Hedera helix ‘Halebob’ is an attractive choice (pictured).Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ is an attractive evergreen ground cover plant that has eye-catching silver foliage with dark green veins. In spring, it bears pretty blue flowers that look like forget-me-nots. It looks especially attractive planted with woodland plants. (Source:Hardy geraniums, or cranesbills, are invaluable plants for ground cover in all kinds of gardens, whether cottage-style or more contemporary schemes. With blue, pink or mauve flowers, they are perfect for the front of a border and popular with bees.
If that plant happens to be attractive and keep out weeds as well, so much the better. For many years the quintessential American shade ground cover was ivy (Hedera helix and cvs.). It was one of the only trouble-free plants available in nurseries to get the job done. Now, however, we have available a wider selection of plants that can cover large areas of ground without the benefit of a lot of sun. You probably won’t even consider ivy if you first check out these ten outstanding plants for your shady spot.The heat in the South is harmful for sweet wood-ruff, but it can take it if shade and constant moisture are provided. In the North it does much better, and it can cover areas under full shade trees. But keep an eye on it: With plenty of moisture and fertile, acidic soil, it can run rampant in cultivated beds.
For good flowering, keep the soil consistently moist with a pH of 5.5 to 7. While it may look delicate, sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum, USDA Hardiness Zones 5–8) is actually a vigorous spreader. This Eurasian species makes a dense, 15-inch-high ground cover with numerous clusters of fragrant, white, star-shaped flowers, which appear in early summer. The deciduous, emerald green leaves are also star shaped and stay neat well into autumn.Shuttleworth’s wild ginger (Asarum shuttleworthii, Zones 6–9) is a champion, no-care ground cover. The beautifully variegated, evergreen leaves stand shoulder to shoulder, creating a close-knit cover. It is low-growing and spreads slowly by creeping rhizomes, forming 4-inch-high mats of leaves, which hide the insignificant “little brown jug” flowers in spring. The 2-inch-diameter leaves have a rich, grayish green color with striking, silvery gray markings. (Source: www.finegardening.com)