10 Best Low-Growing Perennials for Year-Round Ground Cover

Best Low Growing Perennials

Looking to add some vibrant color and texture to your garden without the hassle of constant maintenance? Low-growing perennials offer the perfect solution, providing a beautiful and long-lasting addition to any landscape.

These versatile plants not only add visual interest but also help suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture. From vibrant blooms to lush foliage, low-growing perennials come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a must-have for any gardener looking to create a stunning and low-maintenance outdoor space.

Best Low-growing Perennials

1. Astilbe

low perennials

Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila’ is a low-growing Astilbe that makes an attractive ground cover. It was the winner of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit and displays fluffy, rich, lavender-purple flowers in late summer. It grows up to 12-18 in. tall (30-45 cm).

Astilbe grows best in part shade. It can thrive in full sun but will need shade in the afternoon in hot summer climates. Flowering will be reduced in full shade. Astilbe thrives in moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH ( 6.0).

In traditional medicine, the plant has been used for the treatment of ulcers, bleeding during childbirth, inflammation, body aches, diarrhea, and dysentery.

2. Barrenwort

low growing perennial border plants

Epimedium, also known as bishop’s hat or barrenwort, are long-lived perennials that deserve to be used more widely. Low-growing foliage of great distinction and delicate spring flowers make epimediums a good garden choice. Growing barrenwort requires acidic soil with plenty of organic amendments.

They need regular water as the plants establish but can tolerate low water situations once they are mature. This graceful, low-growing perennial features delicate flowers and interesting shaped leaves, which take on lovely hues of burgundy and rose in spring and fall.

Use barrenwort as an edging plant along wooded pathways and along the edge of stonewalls to soften any hard lines or edges. It is Used to lower blood sugar levels in the treatment of impotence, seminal emissions, lumbago, arthritis, numbness and weakness of the limbs, hypertension, and chronic bronchitis.

3. Blanket Flower

low growing perennial flowers

Gaillardia, also known as blanket flower, is an easy-to-grow, short-lived perennial with richly colored, daisy-like flowers. The plant forms a slowly spreading mound, and the common name may refer to how it can slowly spread and “blanket” an area. Grow blanket flowers in the sun in fast-draining soil.

Grow all types of gaillardias in full sun and sandy, fast-draining soils. They rarely survive the winter in heavier soil, so need to be grown on berms or in containers. Blanket flowers are self-sufficient perennials that are more or less maintenance-free once established.

Tea of the roots is used as a medicine for gastroenteritis, and chewed powdered root is applied to skin disorders. Sore nipples of nursing mothers are bathed in tea made from this plant, and it is also used for sore eyes. The Kiowa tribe believed it brought good luck.

4. Bleeding Heart

low growing flowers

Bleeding hearts are one of several Dicentra species. Old-fashioned bleeding hearts, or common bleeding hearts, are known botanically as Lamprocapnos spectabilis (formerly Dicentra spectabilis). Depending on the variety, they can grow six inches to three feet tall in part sun to shade.

Bleeding heart grows best in light shade, although it will tolerate full sun in moist and cool climates. In most locations, plants prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. They also need well-drained soil and will rot if the soil remains too soggy. The flowers are incredibly fragrant.

Perennial Seasonal Care

The roots, or rather rhizomes, have a strong, bitter, and slightly acrid flavor that is most commonly used for pain-relieving effects. Medicinally, this one is classified as a narcotic analgesic. Otherwise, it is known as a mind-altering sedative and pain-numbing remedy.

5. Blue Star Creeper

low-growing perennial border plants

It is a member of the Campanulaceae family and is known for its blue star-shaped flowers and low-growing habit. Blue Star Creeper only grows 1-3 inches tall but can spread up to 2 feet wide.

Blue Star Creeper has moderate water needs and prefers consistently moist soil. Plant blue star creepers in sunny or partially sunny areas. They need a sufficient amount of light to grow. Full shade is not ideal.

It’s not particularly demanding when it comes to fertilization. Creeper is primarily used as a ground cover in gardens and landscapes to fill in gaps between larger plants, to fill gaps between stone pathways, or to create a low-growing border.

6. Calla lily

short flowers

Calla lilies are known as rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants. They come in many colors but are one of the few true black perennial flowers you can grow. This tropical plant prefers temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees F.

Calla lilies have a wide range of climate tolerances, except extreme heat and cold. They need at least 6 hours of sun to flower; more shade results in more foliage but will decrease flowering.

Calla lily is extremely toxic and should not be ingested. plant’s rhizome, or underground stem, has been used in medicinal treatments in South Africa.

7. Creeping Thyme

low-growing perennials that bloom all summer

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is a low-growing ground cover that can replace traditional turf grass. A member of the mint family, it is hardy in zones 4 through 9 and should be planted during spring, as the cool temperatures make it easier for it to establish.

Creeping thyme needs full sun and well-drained soil – it simply won’t thrive in heavy, poorly-drained soil. Additionally, the soil should have a neutral to alkaline pH and be moderately fertile.

The active ingredient in thyme is thymol, which is a powerful antiseptic used in antiseptics and mouthwashes. Creeping thyme has similar medicinal properties to common thyme, but it is less potent.

8. Dusty Miller

small perennial flowers

Dusty Miller is an herb of Mediterranean origin. It is heat—and drought-tolerant and does best in full sun. It will become leggy when grown in the shade.

Although it performs best in moist, well-drained, moderately rich soils, it is tolerant of poor soils. The parts of the plant that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, people take dusty Miller to treat “spots before the eyes” and migraine headaches. Women use it to start their menstrual periods. Dusty Miller is sometimes used as an eyewash for cataracts and blurred vision.

9. Coral Bells

low growing perennials

Heuchera, commonly called coral bells or alumroot. The ideal conditions for coral bells are part shade, meaning 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day and out of the way of the scorching afternoon sun.

However, heuchera plants will grow in any amount of sunlight, including full sun, as long as you water well. Varieties that produce flowers can be used as cut flowers in fresh bouquets.

The root is very astringent and has been used in the treatment of cancer and also as an external remedy in sores, wounds, vaginal discharges, and ulcers.

10. Bear Berry

small perennial flowers

Bearberry is a native low-growing evergreen shrub that makes an attractive ground cover. Bearberry plants thrive in full sun; however, they can tolerate light shade. you’ll get the most growth, flowers, and fruit when you give your bearberry full sun rather than partial shade.

Bearberry is used as an antibacterial and astringent in the urinary tract. Bearberry is possibly effective for urinary tract inflammation.


Understanding the best low-growing perennials offers numerous benefits for gardeners and landscaping enthusiasts alike. By familiarizing oneself with these plants, individuals can create visually appealing and manageable landscapes that require less maintenance and resources over time.

Moreover, selecting the right low-growing perennials can enhance biodiversity, support pollinators, and contribute to overall environmental sustainability. Low-growing perennials offer a dynamic range to any garden, especially with options featuring colorful foliage and a variety of flowers. From the tiny, feathery flowers of companion plants to the heart-shaped flowers and pink flowers that bloom in early summer, these perennials enrich landscapes continuously.

The lavender blue flowers and yellow flowers pop against the green or gray-green foliage, adding vibrant hues. Notable varieties like blue-eyed grass bring unique beauty with their subtle blooms. Embrace these flowering plants to ensure your garden is a flourishing display from early summer onwards.

Johan Perez
Johan Perez is an experienced agriculturalist with over twenty years in the field. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and has contributed extensively to research on sustainable farming practices. Johan has also written for numerous agricultural periodicals, offering expert advice on farming technologies and methods. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, which often inform his professional insights into ecological agriculture.

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