7 Ground Cover Plants to Grow in Wisconsin

Ground cover plants help cover bare ground and improve your property’s landscape. Which ones should you consider growing in Wisconsin?

Ground cover plants are usually included in landscapes to add color or texture. Ground cover is also used to cover ground in areas where grass or other plants don’t grow well.

Some ground cover plants are low maintenance and require little or no regular feeding or watering.

Ground cover plants are ideal for beautifying steep, difficult-to-mow landscapes. In extremely dry climates where watering plants can be challenging, groundcover can function as a grass alternative. 

In this article, we’ll explore 7 groundcover plants that grow well in Wisconsin gardens.

1. Big Leaf Aster 

Big leaf aster is popular as a ground cover because of its broad, heart-shaped leaves. It produces clusters of flat-topped flowers ranging in color from purple to light blue that bloom in early fall. 

This ground cover thrives in wet, shaded areas with lower quality soil like sand or heavy clay. Ironically, it’s also drought tolerant. The great thing about big leaf aster is it helps control erosion on hillsides and slopes.

Avoid planting it in full sun because the additional sun exposure could dry out the plant. 

white flowers growing in the forest

2. Wild Ginger 

Wild ginger is a deciduous, clump-forming plant that grows 6 – 8 inches tall. It has heart-shaped, glossy green leaves and it primarily grows in dense colonies near forests. Although it produces flowers, the blooms are seldom visible under its leaves.

Wild ginger is a good ground cover plant, especially when planted in shaded wooded areas. 

growing heart shaped leaves in the ground

3. Wild Strawberry 

Wild strawberry is a fast-growing, clump-forming perennial that spreads via its runners. This plant is an excellent choice for landscape edging or ground cover. It can also withstand foot traffic and responds well to mowing, which makes it a good grass substitute.

After the wild strawberry’s blooming cycle ends and its flowers fade, wild strawberries appear. The berries are edible and well-liked by people and wildlife. 

bright red of wild strawberries

4. Mistflower 

Mistflower plants produce nectar-rich flowers that bloom for at least 5 weeks beginning in late summer. It attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies. This ground cover can quickly overwhelm small gardens or landscaping borders. 

Plant it in partial shade in moist, well-drained soil.

bunch of beautiful mistflower in the garden

5. Rose Coreopsis 

Rose coreopsis forms small mounds of dark green foliage. In midsummer, it produces vibrant pink flowers. This plant is easy to grow and makes an excellent ground cover or potted plant.  

beautiful bright yellow rose coreopsis

6. Canada Anemone 

Canada anemone is an excellent groundcover to plant in medium to wet soil. It has beautiful leaves and flowering stalks that grow 1 – 2 feet tall.

This plant spreads quickly and forms a dense carpet of green foliage after 1 – 2 seasons. Given its growth rate, be careful where you plant it, and monitor it to ensure it doesn’t take over other plants. 

soft white petals of canada anemone flower

7. Purple Poppy Mallow 

Purple poppy mallow is often recognized for its beautiful bright purple flowers that resemble small wine glasses. Its flowers bloom from mid-spring until fall.

This groundcover thrives in dry to medium soil and full sun. Its strong taproot helps make it drought resistant.

Plant purple poppy mallow in gardens or natural settings. It can even be planted next to walls or other tall structures so that it can climb as it grows. 

beautiful purple poppy mallow in the garden
Leila Haynes
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