Ground cover plants serve various purposes. They provide a habitat for flowers that need bees and butterflies for the pollination process. They also help by retaining water and controlling erosion while helping to choke off weeds by shading the ground with their leaves.
While most people opt for grass as a way to fill in the gaps of a garden, there are ground cover plants that can also do the job while adding some appeal.
Here are 12 ground cover plants that make great additions to your Florida garden.
1. English Ivy
English ivy is an evergreen climbing vine that grows rapidly. It has dark green, glossy leaves that can grow 6 – 8 inches long. English ivy is a good turf substitute because it thrives in the shade. This low-maintenance plant can be grown as a ground cover, allowed to grow as a vine, or as an indoor plant.
2. Asiatic Jasmine
Asiatic jasmine is a plant commonly found in Florida. It’s an excellent grass alternative for areas where grass doesn’t grow. It’s a hardy, drought-resistant plant that requires regular maintenance such as weeding, trimming, and pruning.
3. Baby Sun Rose
This low-growing plant produces a compact mat that comes in contact with the soil and establishes roots. It thrives in hot, dry, sunny weather and is low maintenance. Individual plantings can grow up to 6 inches tall and spread 1 – 2 feet wide. It produces small aster-like flowers that bloom for the majority of the year. Rather than dominating large areas of the garden bed, this plant works best as a ground cover for smaller areas and in rock gardens.
4. Beach Sunflower
The beach sunflower is native to Florida and makes a great ground cover because it’s drought-resistant and grows well in hot and humid climates. It can grow to be 2 – 4 feet tall in optimal growing conditions. Beach sunflower also attracts butterflies and is an excellent choice as a border plant or as a backdrop for a palm tree or garden fountain.
5. Coral Creeper
Coral creeper is a bushy groundcover plant with delicate reddish-coral flowers that bloom intermittently throughout the year. It grows quickly in all climates and can be grown into a compact round bush or allowed to grow freely as part of a garden’s landscape.
6. Creeping Fig
Soften the appearance of concrete garden walls with a fast-growing creeping fig plant. This hardy ground cover grows low and can become quite dense during the winter months. Over time, it will begin to climb up structures like fences and walls.
7. Golden Pothos
Golden pothos is a small houseplant with big leaves that works well as ground cover. It grows best in the shade, and its speckled leaves and small white flowers add color to Florida gardens.
8. Ice Plant
The ice plant is a one-of-a-kind succulent ground cover that thrives in Florida. It gets its name from its ability to secrete calcium crystals on its leaves, which gives it a frosted look. Ice plants are heat-tolerant perennials that require little attention; they only need sunlight and water to thrive.
The Florida peperomia, or baby rubber plant, is commonly used in natural landscapes and shade gardens. Its lush, velvety leaves make it an attractive ground cover for a large garden. Peperomia plants grow rapidly and can reach a height of 12 inches. Because it grows in clusters, it’s ideal to plant peperomia alongside tropical plants as ground cover.
10. Perennial Peanut
The perennial peanut is a multifunctional ground cover that grows across Florida. It thrives in full sun but will also grow in partial shade. It produces lovely golden flowers during the summer months and is amazingly resilient against drought, worms, and plant disease. Perennial peanut plants can also be a great grass substitute in bigger gardens that have less foot traffic.
11. Sunshine Mimosa
Sunshine mimosa, sometimes called powderpuff mimosa, is a fast-growing Florida ground cover that is gaining popularity in both residential and commercial settings. This plant grows a beautiful green canopy of tiny fern-like blades that retract when touched. It requires little to no water or maintenance except for occasional pruning.
Ferns are unexpectedly great as ground cover. The foxtail fern is one of many species that thrive in Florida’s sun and shade. Garden ferns are excellent as foundation plants and require little maintenance. They also can be cultivated as garden fillers or planted in shaded areas that are unfavorable to other plants.