University of Maryland Extension

Groundcover List

This list offers some suggestions for groundcovers for different sites, however, there are many more options. Plants need to be able to grow on challenging sites, especially when used for slope or bank stabilization and as a grass substitute, are easy-to-grow, and relatively fast growing. Invasive plants such as English ivy, Japanese pachysandra, and vinca should not be planted as they are known to move into and take over natural areas. It can take a few years for a groundcover to fill in. As the saying goes 'the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap'.

*deer resistant
N = Native

(click on image to enlarge)

Full Sun

Part Shade

Dry Shade

Stabilize Bank


(N) Allegheny spurge*
(Pachysandra procumbens)

Alleghany spurge



(N)  Ageratum, hardy
    (Conoclinium coelestinum)

purple ageratum    X
Barrenwort* (Epimedium ssp.)Barrenwort     X     X
Blue star juniper* (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’)blue star juniper    X            X

(N)  Canadian ginger* (Asarum canadense)


Canadian ginger     X
Catmint* 'Walkers Low'

(Nepeta x faassenii 'Walkers Low')
catmint   X       X
(N) Cinnamon fern* (Osmunda cinnamomea)Cinnamon fern     X
(N) Christmas fern* (Polystichum        acrostichoides)

Christmas fern     X     X       X
Comfrey 'Hidcote Blue'
(Symphytum 'Hidcote Blue')
Comfrey   X     X     X       X
Creeping thyme* (Thymus serpyllum)Creeping thyme   X            X
(N)   Crested iris(Iris cristata)crested iris        X          
Deutzia 'Nikko'* (Deutzia gracilis ‘Nikko’)Deutzia 'Nikko'    X     X        X
(N)   Foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia)Foam flower     X
(N) Golden Groundsel or Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea)golden groundsel       X
(N)   Green and gold(Chrysogonum    virginianum)Green and gold   X    X      
Lamb's ears'Helene von Stein' (Stachys byzantina 'Helene von Stein') 
fuzzy lamb's ears  X    X      X
(N)   Maidenhair fern* (Adiantum pedatum)Maidenhair fern    X   
Mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus)Mondo grass      X       
(N) Moss phlox(Phlox subulata)moss phlox  X         X
(N) Partridgeberry* (Mitchella repens)Partridgeberry    X
(N)  Pennsylvania sedge* (Carex    pensylvanica)Pennsylvania sedge    X    X
(N) Phlox, creeping 'Sherwood Purple' (Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple')creeping phlox    X
Plumbago* (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)plumbago   X    X       X
(N)  Pussytoes, Plantain-leaf *(Antennaria plantaginifolia)pussytoes    X    X      X
Sedge, Variegated Japanese* (Carex oshimensis 'Evergold')Japanese sedge        X       X
Sedum 'Angelina' (Sedum rupestre 'Angelina')sedum angelina   X


(N)  Sensitive fern(Onoclea sensibilis)sensitive fern      X     
Shore juniper* (Juniperus conferta)shore juniper   X             X
Solomon's seal, variegated (Polygonatum odorata)Solomon's seal        X    X      
Sumac* 'Gro-Low' (Rhus aromatic ‘Gro-Low’)Gro -low sumac    X    X       X
Sweet box* (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis)sweetbox        X        X
Willowleaf cotoneaster (Cotoneaster salicifolius repens)Willowleaf cotoneaster   X    X      X    
Winter jasmine* (Jasminum nudiflorum)winter jasmine   X    X          X
Wood spurge* (Euphorbia amygdaloides)wood spurge    X   X     

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