Colorful Low-Maintenance Spring Groundcovers

early daffs

A few weeks ago I posted some photos on Facebook that got me thinking about sharing a great way to “double duty” your garden space and basically make plants work for you to create a Spring showcase of garden cheer!

The idea is to use the space under your shrubs to plant carpets of spring blooming plants.  In order to make this super easy and low maintenance I’m recommending plants that naturalize, which basically means they will spread on their own to create beautiful drifts of color to enjoy for years to come.  The only effort you need to make is obtaining the plants and planting them right up under the shrubs, keeping in mind the idea is to get them started and then take advantage of their natural growing habit to ultimately cover the ground.  Simple, right?!

The two plants I shared on Facebook, Chionodoxa (Glory in the snow) and Scilla (Siberian squill), are tiny bulbs that bloom in early spring.  They both spread by seed and producing offsets which are basically baby bulbs that will separate from the original bulb.  For best impact I suggest starting out by planting generous amounts.  You can order them in bulk from Van Engelen and when they arrive in the fall simply plant them closely in shallow holes, no need to worry about anything technical like proper spacing.

Chionodoxa

Chionodoxa

Scilla siberica

Scilla siberica

Another interesting spring bloomer is Sanguinaria canadensis or Bloodroot.  This plant is an ephemeral, meaning it has adapted to woodland conditions by blooming early in the spring before the trees leaf out and then completely disappears by midsummer.  It is a native plant and in the photo below it is planted underneath a Clethra, which is a native shrub with fragrant blooms in late summer.  Perfect duo for a shadier area of your yard.  The Bloodroot has sparkling white blooms that open up on sunny days and attract your attention (the photo on top was taken early in the morning and the flowers are just starting to wake up and open for the day!).  It is an important spring plant for bees, perfect for attracting beneficials insects to your garden.  It’s a little harder to find but well worth searching for.  I’d recommend going to a native plant sale to seek it out, though you may luck into it at a specialized local or online nursery.  If you know someone who has it growing in their yard they may share some with you, but please don’t dig it from the woods, that’s not exactly good citizen or generous gardener behavior!

Bloodroot under Clethra

Bloodroot under Clethra

Bloodroot

Bloodroot

The last recommendation I have for you is the top photo of daffodils, which hardly need an introduction.  I love using an early blooming variety called “Jetfire”, again, Van Engelen carries it.  This variety naturalizes well and I love to plant it generously, knowing within a few years I can rely on ultra impressive drifts of cheery yellow in early spring.  Try planting it under your hydrangeas and you’ll have a virtually care-free area you can enjoy spring, summer and fall.

To learn more about great plants, easy to care for gardening (including asking questions) or how to work with me send me an email at Christine@DIIG,Inc.com