Ground Covers: Must Take Action

I can't remember a better spring for plant growth around here. As a result, much of the ground cover in my garden is very effectively covering the ground...

...and also covering some hostas, a row of daylilies, my favorite variegated phlox, and the blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium bermudianum.

At least those are plants I've either seen trying to escape a ground cover around them or that I have looked for and found beneath some ground cover.

Who knows what other plants are struggling under the sedum and lamium, especially?

I'll find out when I pull out a bunch of it this weekend.
I'll free plants like this hosta, trapped beneath the ground cover.

And while I am out there, I'll deal with my old enemy, moneywort, Lysimachia nummularia My brain must have been numb when I planted it. WHAT was I thinking? I was thinking of course that I could control it. that I could keep it contained to grow just along the edge of the flower bed it was in. Wrong! I had to dig it all out a few years ago because it had gone too far. I thought I had gotten rid of it, but a sprig of it shows up now and again and has to be pulled.

And that is one of the pitfalls of ground covers. Once planted, can you ever really get rid of a ground cover completely? I think not. So BE CAREFUL about planting ground covers.


By the way, I actually spent two summers in college working at two different nurseries, propagating ground covers. Yes, really, I did. That's where I learned to love these plants, I guess, and became very familiar with them. Most ground covers, not surprisingly, are easy to propagate from cuttings. They root readily. That's one thing characteristic that makes a plant a good ground cover.

Think about it...


  1. I was thinking about my lamium at the beginning of the post, then there is yours! I bought this, thinking it would be a nice edging to my shade garden. What I didn't realize is that it would grow into my garden. Trying to be frugal, I dug it up and planted it around some trees where I don't intend to plant anything else.
    I think I'll forget the ground covers and stick to mulch...
    The quote from Elizabeth Lawrence is very appropriate here!

  2. I have mother trying to give some to me because she has lots of it she has pulled out because of this.

    It looks good but overtakes everything. Maybe I can encourage it to grow in my lawn and take it over?

  3. Good luck. Carol! I've spent this past spring ripping out lamium that I don't remember ever planting! Its choking my wildflowers and autumn ferns and actually swallowed beloved lady's slipppers (my hostas seem to burst through). I love sweet woodruff but it too is invasive but easier to pull out. Myrtle in my rock garden is fairly well-behaved and the Pachysandra surrounding my house, planted over 35 years ago, is no problem.

  4. It's not groundcover but the plant that drives me crazy year after year is blue spiderwort (Commelina coelestis ). I planted it once, about ten years ago, but it comes back and back and back. Never again.

  5. hmm... I bought a four-pack of Lamium (which was a new plant for me) at Costco. I thought it was an annual - I bought it to go in a hanging basket for the foliage. I had two extras, so I stuck them in my beds to fill in some empty space between some plants that I do really like.

    Thanks for then warning - I'll rip em out!

    That's what I get for spontaneously buying (and worse - planting!) without doing research.

  6. Oh my...I've never seen ground cover hide a hosta! I have experience mostly in ripping it up from our first house where the man who we bought from believed in gravel, rocks and ground cover. NOTHING else, well except his lack of weeding.

    I was really excited when my ground cover thyme grew on the rock I put by it, but now it's headed towards my hens and chickens!

  7. I have the same problem with the ageratum that I planted last spring. It overwintered and is starting to be a thug, covering just about everything in my entry garden. I, too, am pulling it out.

    Always Growing

  8. LOL - I could've taken that shot of the Lamium drowning the Hosta. I spent an afternoon ripping a big plastic trug full of the stuff out of one little area & there's still plenty more. It is handy, though, to have my own personal supply to use for my mom's large concrete urns.

  9. Somehow I never planted Lamium in a spot that it thrived, so the one scraggly piece finally was pulled out and thrown on the compost pile! I escaped Lamium but not the Vincas. We have two in the South! Both sport lovely Vinca flowers and the will to jump across sidewalks to embed themselves in another spot.
    I think that ground covers are like a virus that is always there but waiting in dormancy till you aren't paying attention and they creep out under a shrub and get well established before you notice them!

  10. I love my groundcovers, too... even the lamiums and the golden creeping Jenny! But I agree, there really is a fine line between groundcovers growing, and growing too much. If only we could give them directions when we planted them, and have them follow our orders. :)

  11. Gosh I wish I had a lamium that would rear up and make a charge. I havne't had such luck as yet. Maybe I should be careful what I ask for.

  12. I was able to completely remove some ajugas from one garden, Carol, and my creeping lamiastrum is where it can run free as it wishes. The clump forming one, Hermann's Pride, is amazing though.

    We do have quite a bit of sweet woodruff, but i plan on moving some of it out under the hardwoods, where it can go as far as it wants without any grumbling from me.


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