Evergreen Ground Cover
Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, IL 60532

Phone: 630-968-0074

1. Bearberry, Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)*- A creeping, sun-loving plant with tiny, dark green, leathery leaves. Small, urn-shaped, white flowers appear from April to June, followed by small, persistent red fruits in August. Grow in sun or part shade in well-drained acid soils.
2. European Wild Ginger (Asarum europaeum) - A low-growing, 6-10-inch tall ground cover for shady areas. Leathery, glossy green leaves are kidney-shaped. In early spring, small, reddish-brown flowers are hidden under the leaves.
3. Pigsqueak or Heart-leaf Bergenia (Bergenia cordifolia) - A 12-18-inch tall plant with a 12-inch spread. Attractive pink flower spikes are borne above the shiny, leathery foliage in early spring. Grows best in partial shade in moist soil with good drainage. Leaves tend to scorch in full sun.

4. Ice Dance Japanese Sedge (Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’) - A clump-forming, cool-season perennial related to ornamental grasses. The ½-inch wide, semi-evergreen leaves have a distinct white border. Best grown in part sun to shade in moist, well-drained soil.

5. Japanese Winter Creeper (Euonymus fortunei)-A trailing or climbing ground cover for sun or shade. Plants are 6-12 inches tall as a ground cover and can climb or spread 40-50 feet. The 1-inch dark green leaves are thick and leathery. [Euonymus fortunei 'Sarcoxie']

6. English Ivy (Hedera helix)- A low, 6-8-inch, trailing ground cover or a high climbing, clinging vine that attaches with root-like holdfasts. Lustrous, dark green leaves are often 3–to-5-lobed. Tolerant of heavy shade.

7. Lenten-rose (Helleborus orientalis) - Dark green, leathery, divided leaves, with nodding flowers that range in color from purple to pink to cream-colored with spotted centers. Plants are 12-15 inches tall. Prefers partial to full shade in humus-rich, well-drained soils.

8. Coralbells (Heuchera spp.)- A native ground cover forming broad, 12-18-inch tall clumps with heart-shaped leaves. Small, airy, creamy white, greenish, or red to pink flowers appear on slender stalks in late spring to early summer. Numerous selections available with a wide array of foliage colors and patterns.

9. Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) - A low-growing, dense, upright perennial with a height of 12 inches and spread of 3-4 feet. Shiny dark green leaves accent the white flower clusters in early spring.

10. Creeping Juniper (Juniperus communis)-Coarse-textured, green foliage has slightly ascending branches. Foliage turns a yellow green in winter. Grows 12-15 inches high creating uniform circles. Full sun in well-drained soils.

11. Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper (Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’) - An evergreen shrub with a mounding, creeping growth habit reaching 4-6 inches tall with a 3-5-foot spread. Attractive bluish-green foliage turns purplish-green in fall. Best in full sun in average, well-drained soil.

12. Creeping Lily-turf (Liriope spicata) - Dark green, grass-like leaves change to a bronzy green in the fall. Spike-like clusters of pale, violet-blue flowers appear in mid-summer. Mow back dried foliage to promote new growth in early spring.

13. Creeping Mahonia (Mahonia repens) - A creeping, low, 10-18-inch tall ground cover with a stiff branching habit. Spiny-toothed, blue-green leaves turn a rich purple in the winter. Deep yellow flowers in April are followed by blue-black, grape-like fruits in August.

14. Siberian Cypress (Microbiota decussata) - A low-growing, 12-inch tall evergreen for shady areas. Flat, arborvitae-like leaves are bright green in summer changing to a bronzy purple in winter. Well-drained soil is a must!

15. Allegheny Pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens) - A 6-8-inch tall ground cover with a spread of 12-18 inches. Suitable for growing under shade trees. Terminal, white, fragrant flowers in early spring. Leaves are flat, green to bluish-green, with slight mottling on the upper surface. Semi-evergreen in northern regions.

16. Japanese Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)-Upright evergreen ground cover forming mats 6-12 inches high. Leaves are a light green changing to lustrous dark green. White, upright, spiked flowers appear early spring

17. Cliff-Green (Paxistima canbyi) - A slow-growing ground cover reaching 12 inches tall by 3-5 feet wide. Dark green, shiny leaves are susceptible to winter burn in northern climates. Prefers well-drained, acidic soil in partial sun to full shade.

18. Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) - This hardy native adds year-round beauty to any well-drained, partially shaded landscape. Lance-shaped, dark green fronds. Plants grow 24-36 inches high.

19. Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpyllum)-An aromatic herb tolerant of light foot traffic. Often semi-evergreen in northern climates. This 4-inch tall, mat-forming perennial prefers full sun in loose, well-drained soil.

20. Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor) - This ground-hugging plant reaches 3-6 inches tall with an indefinite spread. Leaves are shiny green. Dainty, blue-violet flowers are borne on erect stems in early spring and often repeat in fall. Many cultivars available.

*Native to Illinois

© 2012 Morton Arboretum
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