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Garden Design

Ground cover


Ground cover

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Whether shade or sun, whether perennials or dwarf shrubs – with these tips you can successfully plant ground cover in your garden.

Ground cover green larger areas and grow into a thick carpet. In a low-maintenance one, therefore, nobody can avoid ground cover. However, they will only grow densely if you avoid some basic mistakes.

Ground cover are low plants that can reach a maximum height of 30 to 40 centimeters. However, ground cover with numerous runners or underground rhizomes grow very quickly in width and finally combine to form a dense carpet of leaves and flowers. The perennials or dwarf shrubs offered in the garden centers are usually reliably hardy. If you plant summer flowers such as petunias, cape daisies or hanging geraniums as ground cover – a quick interim solution as a gap filler in the year of planting – these are of course not winter hardy.

Plant ground cover correctly

Before planting, be sure to loosen the soil and remove root weeds with a digging fork. The more thoroughly you do this, the easier it will be to care for the herbaceous bed later. Because whether groundgrass or couch grass, every tiny bit of root overlooked or left in the ground for convenience drifts out and becomes a full-blown nuisance after a short time. Slipping into soil preparation is one of the main mistakes when planting ground cover.

A loose, slightly loamy and humus soil is optimal for most ground cover. Heavy clay soils can be loosened up with building sand, pure sand can be spiced up with clay and rock flour. With soils that have been fallow for years, a soil activator that invigorates the soil will not do any harm. One of the few exceptions are the rock garden perennials, which love real “scrap soil” with gravel and sand.

Before you put the plants in the ground, submerge each one in a bucket of water so that the root ball can soak up. The immersion bath should last until no more air bubbles rise from the ball – then the earth has filled up enough. Ground covers are usually sold in very small pots, but this makes planting easier: Pierce the loose garden soil with a hand shovel, press the shovel away from you for a moment so that the back wall of the planting hole holds, and then pull the loose soil forward the hole. The ground cover comes so deep into the earth that the ball of the earth is covered with earth a good centimeter. Press the plant a little with both hands without pushing it any deeper into the ground.

Garden care Bark mulch: costs, grain size, quality Bark mulch offers many advantages in the bed: It makes it more difficult for weeds to settle, protects the earth from frost and the washout caused by …

Practical tip: If possible, do not hoe between the ingrown ground cover, this will damage the roots. Better mulch.

When should you plant ground cover?

Late autumn from September to October is ideal. Then the weeds don’t grow quite as wildly and the ground cover still has enough time to take root before winter. After all, the ground is still warm enough. In the next spring, the ground cover has grown in and can better assert itself against weeds.

At what distance should you plant ground cover?

The plant pots are neither an indication of the spacing between the plants nor the vigor of the plants – the pots are always small, no matter how big the plants later become. In the case of ground cover, the required number per square meter is often specified. If you can’t do that much with that, you can use a rule of thumb: Divide the number 100 by the number of plants per square meter and multiply the result by 2. Then you have the planting distances in centimeters.

If you plant ground covers at the correct planting distance, they will quickly become dense without competing with one another. Photo: sidm / TH

Which ground cover are evergreen?

Even in winter, evergreen ground cover ensures that the ground is covered and that no weeds become established in mild winters. However, many evergreen ground cover plants also shed their leaves in clear frost and bright winter sun – that’s too much even for the hard-boiled plants. This is less of a problem in shady and somewhat sheltered locations. The most popular evergreen ground covers include:

Balkan cranesbill (Geranium macrorrhizum)

Dickman (Pachysandra terminalis)

Ivy (Hedera helix)

Hazelwort (Asarum europaeum)

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Creeping spindle (Euonymus fortunei)

Foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Dense ground cover such as the evergreen spherical flower (Globularia punctata) cover the ground completely over the years. Photo: sidm / TH

Combine ground cover

An area with only one type of ground cover may be nice and dense, but it looks boring. However, you can easily combine the ground cover with other shrubs or smaller trees. However, space and nutrients in the bed are limited. Only plant vigorous perennials, otherwise there will be a merciless catfight, in which the ground cover will push weaker perennials out of the bed. Always plant ground cover at the recommended planting distance, not closer. If there are still gaps in the bed in the first few years, it is better to plant annuals than fill the gaps instead of overloading the bed.

The golden strawberry is one of the most popular ground covers. It blooms from April to June with yellow flowers and is absolutely easy to care for. Photo: sidm / TH

Whether sunny or shady – block ground cover

“You can’t get in here!”: Ground covers act like bouncers on weeds and are probably the nicest way to keep a border weed-free. The ground cover grow so densely that they prevent emerging weeds and even approaching weed seeds hardly find a place to germinate. Important: Not all ground covers become so dense that they suppress weeds.

Garden care weed film In addition to laborious manual labor and the chemical club, weed film can also destroy the weeds

The cranesbills (geranium), the woody fat man (pachysander), spiny nuts (acaena) or the golden strawberry (Waldsteinia) get really nice and dense. Like the golden nettles (lamium) that are getting taller, these also grow where there is shade. Many varieties of the elven flower (Epimedium x perralchicum) also grow in shady places and become very dense. In the fall, established stocks of elven flowers even swallow the fall leaves. As a rule, ground cover roses do not become so dense that they reliably suppress weeds. However, since they are deeply rooted, the roses are quite capable of paving steep slopes.

Cranesbill attracts attention from afar with its bright flowers. Many varieties grow ground covering. Photo: sidm / TH

As a horticultural engineer, Thomas Heß is the expert for everything that is green and blooming in the garden: Our author explains when the best time for fertilization or winter quarters is and how to prevent waterlogging. Benefit from his expert knowledge!

Whether shade or sun, whether perennials or dwarf shrubs – with these tips you can successfully plant ground cover in your garden.

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