Bugleweed forms a dense, 6” high mat that is very weed resistant. The scalloped leaves come in many colors, from maroon to sage green, chocolate brown to almost black. Some varieties have glossy foliage and others have a flat, matte surface. Pretty, violet-blue flower spikes appear in late spring. Deer resistant.
Hostas are bigger and have more personality than most ground covers. Stick with just one or two varieties if you want a simple, unified look. For a more varied, garden-like appearance, combine different heights, foliage colors and leaf textures. For small areas, there are miniature hostas that grow just 6” tall.
Weeds can’t compete with the glossy, emerald green leaves of this vigorous ground cover. In fact, Lily of the Valley will overtake most other plants, so make sure to give it plenty of room to run. Height is 6 to 8”. Late spring flowers are intensely fragrant and nice for cutting.
Ferns add elegance and grace to shade gardens, woodlands and natural areas. They come in many different heights, from the delicate little Japanese Painted Fern (Anthyrium) to the chest-high Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). For lowest maintenance, plant large areas with a single species. Ferns are rarely damaged by deer.
A dependable, evergreen ground cover with tidy rosettes of emerald green leaves. Spreads by rhizomes into a dense carpet of foliage. Pachysandra tolerates sun, but looks more attractive when grown in shade. Grows 6 to 10” tall. Deer and rabbit resistant.
A creeping ground cover with small shiny leaves on wiry stems. The trailing stems root as they run to fill in any open spaces. Vinca prefers moist soil. Flowers appear inlate spring and come in white, blue or lavender. Some varieties have variegated foliage. Grows 3-5” tall.
Lamium is a low-growing ground cover with decorative foliage that is usually variegated and often frosted with silver. The early summer flower clusters are pink, white or blue. Grows 6-10” tall. Can be shorn after flowering to maintain a compact habit. Deer resistant.
A lacey ground cover with whorls of bright green leaves and fragrant, starry white flowers in late spring. Plant sweet woodruff in moist, rich soil and full to partial shade. Once established, it spreads freely. The foliage is fragrant when crushed, especially after being dried. 5-7” tall.