Plants – Ground Covers

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Ground Covers
Ground Covers - Flowering Seasons
Ground Covers - Guide

These plants are brilliant by covering vast areas of soil, beautifying drain points or manholes and acting as mulch at the same time, regulating temperatures and suppressing weed growth. Ground covers come in foliage and flowering form, some rooting where they touch the ground, others with a single crown. As with all else, one need to consider conditions and climate, purpose and scale before selecting. Some species may be killed by frost and being fairly short-lived in general, thorough soil preparation, feeding, irrigation and care are essential.


Most ground covers have shallow root systems and the planting bed should be well prepared and the soil fertile to at least 30cm deep. Start by breaking up the soil to this depth and removing any foreign matter. Work the soil through until a fine texture is obtained. Enrich the soil with generous amounts of organic matter and mix the soil/matter-combination thoroughly, again to the depth of 30cm. Add right before planting 60g of both Superphosphate and 2:3:2 p/m². Finally rake your soil surface to an even level and you are ready for sowing and/or planting.

In the case of shrub-like ground covers, for instance the Bougainvillaea, planting holes must be prepared. Dig a planting hole, square, of at least 60 x 60cm and 60cm deep. Water and drain the hole.
Enrich the soil with a third compost and add a handful 2:3:2. Work this medium to a fine texture and mix thoroughly with your garden fork. Remove any foreign objects at the same time. Plant with this improved soil and soak thoroughly.


  • Feed your ground covers with 2:3:2, or general fertiliser of your choice, every six weeks during growing season, unless stated otherwise.

  • Cut back for a neater appearance, ideally after flowering period, or as needed.

  • Lift and divide multi-crowned plants every 2/3 years and replant in a freshly prepared bed. One can also multiply plants by discarding the roots and using the cuttings only, thus rejuvenating the plants and ensuring longer life spans.

  • Pathways for high traffic areas. No ground cover will tolerate being walked on constantly.


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