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4. English Ivy
Plant Vines For Weed Control Under Shrubs
One of the more frustrating things a gardener faces is the proliferation of weeds that manage to grow under shrubs. That weeds will grow even in such shade shows how formidable they are. Moreover, they defeat the purpose of a beautiful and well-tended shrub by creating an area of chaotic spectacle beneath it.
Weeds also rob the shrub of water and nutrients. Besides simply tearing the weeds out, the best way to make sure they don't return is to plant a more pleasing and desirable plant in their place. Here are a few vines that will not only control the weeds but complement the shrub above it:
Ground Covers are Essential in Creating Lasting Landscaping
When creating an attractive green space, it is essential to properly shape the soil to drain water and maintain its form. Two factors can get to this goal: thick weeds and soil erosion. However, there are options to prevent this from happening. Ground cover is essential in creating a lasting landscape, but rather than choosing care-intensive grasses, why not want a creeping vine?
These plants take much less work to maintain than a lawn or grass and make an excellent choice for laying roots to hold soil in place. Plants such as Virginia creeper, English ivy, wintercreeper, and vinca minor are great stand-ins for care-intensive grass or moss and can quickly choke out weeds that may try to take hold. But which should you choose?
Ground Cover Comes in Many Varieties Depending on your Planting Environment
Its five-lobed leaves form a thick and attractive cover mass, content to grow in dense quantities. Virginia creeper has another trick, however. In autumn, the leaves turn red, ranging from bright crimson to deep purple. This vine would look fantastic with maples of all shades and single-color changers, such as vibrant yellow ginkgo.
English ivy is a favorite standby, Ground Covers, often seen climbing brick buildings and giving them a somewhat wooly appearance from a distance. However, it is content to spread across the ground.
Native to most of Europe and western Asia, it is an evergreen vine that keeps its deep green color year-round. English ivy's berries easily attract birds and can be an excellent boon for declining honeybee populations. Due to its color, which can range from grass green to pine, it is a fantastic companion to nearly any color a garden may have.
Wintercreeper is another evergreen, this time native to East Asia. While its oval leaves are typically green, other cultivars of yellow and variegated leaves are also available. It can easily climb with proper support and is considered cold-hardy. For a vine of exciting colors, wintercreeper is an excellent choice.
Vinca minor is a compact, small-leaved plant native to central and southern Europe. This plant has beautiful periwinkle flowers among its evergreen leaves.
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• Vinca Minor
Vinca minor, or periwinkle, is a spreading evergreen vine/ground cover. Its carpet of leaves and lilac-blue flowers is a fast grower that will quickly overwhelm the weeds. The flowers appear in spring and bloom throughout the summer.
Periwinkle prefers well-drained and moist soil and thrives where the soil is amended with rotted manure or compost. An excellent plant for hardiness zones 3 through 9 will need a shrub's shade in warmer climates.
• English Ivy
English ivy is also ideal for planting in the shade of a shrub. It produces a mat of evergreen leaves, and its roots, which run deep, help prevent erosion. It also gives the area an aristocratic look, identified as it is with great old schools and mansions. Ivy does best in rich soil amended with organic matter, and pruning helps keep its growth compact.
• Trumpet Creeper
The trumpet creeper vine has showy, trumpet-shaped flowers in colors of red, orange, reddish-orange, gold, and buttery yellow and attracts bees, birds, and butterflies to the garden. Hummingbirds are especially partial to it. It prefers soil that's mildly acidic to mildly alkaline. This beautiful vine does best in hardiness zones 4a to 10b.
• Virginia Creeper
The hardy and fast-growing Virginia creeper put people in mind of poison ivy, but it's perfectly safe to handle. It can be told from the noxious weed because it has five instead of three leaves, and its leaves are toothed.
It will grow in nearly any soil condition and benefits from pruning and tying up. In late spring, the plant bears small, greenish-white flowers; in the fall, the glossy green leaves turn brilliant red. Birds and other animals are attracted to its purplish blackberries.
- Moisture retention
- Weed prevention
- Soil erosion control
- Creating natural beauty
Rather than using mulch or gravel as a ground cover, which causes a stark appearance, grapes and creeping plants add more anesthetic, creating beauty and interest in the landscape theme. Varying heights, colors, and bloom seasons can create variety in your landscape. Ground cover plants and vines are easy to care for and occasionally need simple trimming.
Ground cover plants are also suitable for grass as they reduce maintenance such as lawn mowing and fertilizing and the need for watering in dry areas during the summer.
Ground cover plants come in different varieties and can be used in shaded areas, sloped areas, and hard-to-reach areas for watering.
Tall mixtures can be used on property lines or areas where you want to screen viewing. You can use low-growing ground covers in the front of the house or near walkways.
Another excellent use for ground cover plants is beneath towering trees. Typically grass won't grow beneath giant trees, and protruding roots may be unsightly. Ground cover plants like vinca will quickly grow in these shaded areas and disguise the origins.
Hot sunny areas can benefit from healthy ground cover plants that conserve moisture, like creeping veronica and potentilla. These plants will crowd out weeds and reduce maintenance for naturally drier areas.
Ground cover plants can help control erosion on slopes—the more plants on a sloped area, the better. Not only do they hold the soil in place with their roots, but they can help absorb heavy rains and reduce the amount of water runoff.
Taller ground cover plants can climb trellises and fences to add privacy or make an entertaining diversion with their flowers and leaves.
Using ground cover in landscaping can be helpful when trying to make large swathes of land look cultivated and nice. It's usually composed of low-maintenance plants that don't take much if any at all, time to maintain. These plants typically have a creeping effect or a vining pattern, so they grow and spread independently with just a little coaxing from you.
So, what situations warrant this setup? What are the uses for ground covers?
To Cover Shady Areas
Often, grass doesn't grow well in shaded areas. Plenty of shade-loving plants with a vine pattern or tendency to spread can make excellent ground covers. With these solutions, the landscape doesn't look patchy or bare.
To Cover Slopes
Slopes can be challenging to mow on, making grass a less than desirable option for the landscape. Using a ground cover can help eliminate the need for mowing while leaving the slope beautifully decorated.
To Overpower Weeds
Weeds can be tricky and overpowering, enough to mar a landscape and make it look overgrown and tacky. Some plants are thick enough to completely choke out weeds, creating a two-for-one solution that is easy and stunning to look at.
To Create Fragrance and Atmosphere
Lastly, whether flowering vines or another species, these plants can create a stunning sight that is a feast for the senses. The fragrant smell of flowers can put individuals at ease and leave a lasting impression.
Vines and other ground cover are overlooked in favor of a lush lawn full of grass; This is a critical mistake, as different situations call for various plants in landscaping. Knowing when to use each plant is a skill that comes with time, one that is invaluable. With enough knowledge, any landscape can transform into something breathtaking.
Ground cover plants stop soil erosion, are great for retention areas, and are stabilizers.
English Ivy - Hedera Hedra
This species of ivy has more abundant and more leathery leaves than English ivy. Native to Turkey, it grows best in hardiness zones 6 to 9. The leaves are not only different in size and texture than English ivy, but they are heart-shaped and have a smell resembling celery when crushed.
Ivy is notorious for its fast growth and can spread to 50 feet in a few years. It prefers part to full shade and is not fussy about soil as long as it is well-drained. Persian ivy does best with medium watering but can tolerate some drought.
An exciting thing about ivies is that it is rare to see ivy flowers or fruit. Winter temperatures keep these evergreen plants from flowering and fruiting in most places, even if the vine is decades old. If the plant is found in warmer climates, white flowers appear in late summer and early fall, followed by black fruit.
Morning Glory -- Ipomoea purpurea
The morning glory vine is an annual. Technically, this means it needs to be replanted every year, but in reality, the vine reseeds so vigorously that it is often unnecessary. It has a wide range and thrives in hardiness zones 2 to 11.
Its mature height is 6 to 10 feet, while its spread is 3 to 6. The flowers, which famously open in the morning and close in the afternoon, bloom from June until early fall. The morning glory prefers full sun, medium watering, and average soil well-drained but kept moist. It can be grown from seed, so the gardener should start it indoors about a month and a half to two months before the last frost date in spring. It would help if you scored the seed before it's planted to help it germinate.
This fast-growing vine is prized for its beautiful purple flowers with their white throats. The leaves are broad, oval, and attractive.
The Top Three Flowering Ground Covers For Your Lawn
Flowering ground covers are an excellent choice for your lawn when you want to pant traditional grass. You can bring a bit of color to the lawn, and you can plant these ground covers all over your space. You could also use these ground covers for large fields you do not want to mow all the time. These ground covers can only grow so long, and they will thicken over time.
Halls Honeysuckle Vines
Hall's honeysuckle vines are very interesting in that they are bush that seems to have nothing but flowers attached. The plant itself is straightforward to manage, and you can watch it change colors during the year until it goes dormant in the winter. You do not need to worry about these plants getting too big because they can only grow so tall. Plus, you can plant these plants around the edge of your lawn or by the mailbox without using a traditional vine when you want to cover space.
He Halls's honeysuckle vine is still honeysuckle, which means you can taste its nectar in the garden.
The trumpet creeper has a beautiful red flower that appears to be the trumpet's bell. These flowers usually stay close to the ground, and their slight red/pink color is glorious. It would help if you remembered that most people using the trumpet creeper would want it for its color. Some ground covers are just green, but this particular ground cover is a lovely shade of crimson.
The trumpet vine is a fun plant because you can take some of its blooms for a bouquet or keep them in the house. The vine grows back very fast, and the colors change from dark to light pink until they die out for the winter. This vine comes back strong in early spring because it increases.
Ajuga plant is also known as bugleweed because it stands up at attention as if called there by the bugle. The soft purple color of the blossoms makes this plant a lovely addition to any lawn, and they could be planted anywhere without trouble because they do not grow out. Plus, they can only grow to a certain height. You can cover the ground without the flowers appearing to be merely taking over the yard. In essence, the bugleweed seems purposeful.
When you have invested in these ground covers, you can bring some life back to your lawn. Plus, you can make your yard look like it should have been designed this way. You do not need grass when you have access to these lovely plants, and you can use them on the edges, by the mailbox, and across the yard to take up space.
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Enhance your landscaping with the vast varieties of ground cover plants
As most seasoned gardeners and landscapers know, ground cover plants are ideal for that extra color and woodsy feel. Ground cover plants are excellent in difficult gardening areas like walkways, hillsides, edging, and erosion control. Ground cover plants come in a great variety of textures and colors. Some are drought-resistant, and others are perfect for lining the hidden stone walkway and tolerating foot traffic.
Ground cover plants range from small cropped mounds to tall lush grass. The colors range from the darkest green to the brightest yellow. Some ground covers are evergreens and keep their bristles all season, while others lose their leaves seasonally.
If you live in a dryer area where drought is an issue, you cannot go wrong with planting some thyme ground cover, hardy in zones 5-9, and growing best in well-drained soil. Thyme has a beautiful fragrance and does flower. Not only can you use the fresh or dried thyme for cooking, but the plant also stands up to mild foot traffic. Add some thyme ground cover to your walkway to enhance the beauty of your yard. Remember that thyme does best in full sun.
If you are looking for an excellent ground cover to border that hidden path to your secret garden, try sweet woodruff, best in zones 4-8 in moist but rich, well-drained soil. Enjoy the lacy foliage, sweet white flowers, and a beautiful scent to engage your senses.
Sweet woodruff enjoys the shady areas of your yard. Flowers typically appear in mid-spring. This ground cover can reach heights of 6 to 12 inches; accent trees and shrubs by planting sweet woodruff in the shade of the branches.
Best in zones 5-9, brass buttons are an evergreen ground cover that forms in small clumps or mounds. They will create a small button-like flower and typically stay around 3 inches high. This ground cover thrives in moist but well-drained soil.
Originally from New Zealand, brass buttons are ideal for rock gardens and will do best in full sun. The foliage ranges from shades of black to almost a heather grey. Brass buttons are a low-maintenance ground cover that does well in container gardening.
No garden or yard is complete without the woodsy presence of a ground cover plant. With such wide varieties, you can find a suitable plant for every yard area.