Groundcover Herbs

Flat Thymes in the Garden
Flat Thymes in the Garden

Herbs as Groundcover

 

Like other thick, low-growing plants, many herbs make good groundcovers. They are hardy plants and easy to grow. Not only do they offer beauty, interesting textures, and color, but they also have the added benefit of smelling delicious when you walk on or around them. They are the perfect choice if you need to fill in the gaps between steppingstones on a pathway, add interest to a rock garden, or supply whimsy in a fairy garden. Some groundcovers will even fill in well enough to help control erosion on a hillside, embankment, or hard to mow place in your landscape.

In the garden, both low-growing flowering herbs and foliage herbs make suitable ground covers. With a few exceptions, most herbs do well in spaces with well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Once established, herbal groundcovers need minimal care. When choosing herbs as groundcovers, group them according to their needs; avoid mixing drought-tolerant and moisture-loving ones in the same bed. For the best affect plant odd numbers (three, five, or seven) of each herb together. Don’t set them out in straight rows. This will help them fill the space in quickly and evenly.

If you need plants to control erosion on an embankment or hillside, fibrous-rooted herbs, such as Mints, may be the solution. For those hard-to-mow places in the landscape consider herbs as an alternative to grass. You can even reduce the need for mowing by growing blooming lawns with herbs such as chamomile. If you choose to replace your lawn with a ground cover, however, make certain that all the grass has been removed before planting. This will save time and effort later, as grass will fight to the bitter end to regain its home. Groundcover herbs, such as Chamomile (a perennial and hardy to zone 6), make a lovely carpet and can be mowed. Roman Chamomile has a pleasant fruity scent and pretty little daisy-like flowers. It is a good choice for warmer, sunny locations.

Consider the following herbs for your groundcover needs: (grouped by height)

Height 1”

Minus Thyme – the tiniest of plants. Can handle light foot traffic. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Stepping Stone Thyme – vibrant green flat creeping thyme. Great between stepping stones. Can handle light foot traffic. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Wooly Thyme – fuzzy texture looks like hair from a distance. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Height 2”

White Creeping Thyme – white blossom. Works well in small areas, can handle light foot traffic. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

‘Wine and Roses Thyme – a compact, spreading habit that is great for topiaries and container growing. Its pink blooms blanket the dark green foliage during spring and summertime attracting many bees and butterflies. Ht. 2-4″. Learn more about this variety including sowing information.

Height 2”-3”

Mother of Thyme – dense, trailing variety with pink blooms. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Doone Valley Thyme – leaves deep green with flecks of gold, turning solid green with summer heat and taking on a red hue in winter. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Bressingham Thyme -aromatic variety with starry pink blooms. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Height 4”

Variegated Peppermint – beautiful, creamy variegation, highly fragrant. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Pennyroyal – non-edible, but useful as an insect repellent. Smells like mint when stepped on. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.>

Prostrate Rosemary – creeping groundcover. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Height 3”-6”

Red Creeping Thyme – deep, lavender blooms. Tolerates light foot traffic. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Height 4”-8”

Sweet Woodruff – thrives in shade. Tiny, white lacy flowers with a vanilla scent. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Height 8” and above

Roman Chamomile – a perennial with tiny white flowers. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.

Mints – all mints are invasive. Take care where you plant them. Learn more about this variety including helpful hints, tips and sowing information.