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How To Plant Quick Spreading Ground Cover How To Plant Quick Spreading Ground Cover

Garden Essentials

How To Plant Quick Spreading Ground Cover

Written by: Noah Bennett

Learn how to easily plant quick spreading ground cover in your garden to create a lush and low-maintenance landscape.

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When it comes to landscaping, finding the right ground cover plants can make all the difference in creating a beautiful, low-maintenance garden. If you’re looking for plants that quickly spread and provide lush coverage, then quick spreading ground cover plants are the perfect solution. These plants not only add aesthetic appeal to your garden, but they also help to control soil erosion, suppress weeds, and conserve moisture.

Choosing the right quick spreading ground cover plants for your garden depends on various factors such as climate, soil type, and sun exposure. Some popular options include creeping thyme, English ivy, creeping Jenny, and sedum. These ground cover plants are not only visually appealing but also offer practical benefits in terms of easy maintenance and resilience.

Before you start planting, it’s important to prepare the site properly. This includes removing any weeds or existing vegetation and ensuring the soil is well-drained and fertile. Adequate site preparation will create ideal conditions for the quick spreading ground cover plants to thrive and fill in the desired area quickly.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of choosing, planting, and maintaining quick spreading ground cover plants. From site preparation to expansion options, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create a stunning garden with minimal effort.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose quick spreading ground cover plants like creeping thyme and English ivy to create a beautiful, low-maintenance garden with erosion control and weed suppression benefits.
  • Prepare the planting site properly, water and mulch consistently, and maintain the plants to ensure healthy, vibrant quick spreading ground cover in your garden.

Choosing the Right Quick Spreading Ground Cover Plants

When it comes to selecting quick spreading ground cover plants, it’s essential to consider factors such as climate, soil conditions, and the specific needs of your garden. Here are some popular options to consider:

  1. Creeping Thyme: Creeping thyme is a versatile ground cover plant that is known for its aromatic foliage and vibrant flowers. It thrives in sunny locations and well-drained soil. Creeping thyme not only provides excellent coverage but also attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden.
  2. English Ivy: English ivy is a classic choice for ground cover due to its ability to quickly spread and form a dense carpet. It is particularly effective at controlling erosion on slopes. English ivy prefers partial to full shade and fertile, moist soil. However, it can become invasive, so it’s important to monitor its growth.
  3. Creeping Jenny: Creeping Jenny, also known as Moneywort, is a low-growing perennial that quickly fills in bare areas with its vibrant green leaves. It thrives in moist soil and partial shade and is an excellent choice for edges of ponds or in rock gardens.
  4. Sedum: Sedums are a diverse group of ground cover plants that can tolerate various growing conditions. They come in different colors, textures, and bloom times, providing visual interest throughout the year. Sedums prefer well-drained soil and full sun but can also tolerate partial shade.

When selecting quick spreading ground cover plants, it’s important to consider the overall aesthetic you want to achieve in your garden. You can mix and match different varieties to create a visually appealing and dynamic landscape. Additionally, consider the specific needs of the plants, such as watering requirements and maintenance, to ensure they are suitable for your gardening style.

Before making your final selection, it’s also a good idea to consult with local experts or nurseries, as they can provide valuable insights into the best ground cover plants for your specific region. They can guide you in choosing plants that are well-suited to the climate and environmental conditions of your area.

By carefully choosing the right quick spreading ground cover plants, you can create a beautifully lush and low-maintenance garden that will add value and curb appeal to your outdoor space.

Site Preparation for Planting

Proper site preparation plays a crucial role in the successful establishment of quick spreading ground cover plants. Follow these steps to ensure your planting site is ready:

  1. Clear the Area: Begin by clearing the planting area of any existing vegetation, including grass, weeds, and rocks. Use a garden spade or shovel to remove any stubborn weeds or grass roots, ensuring a clean and weed-free site.
  2. Soil Testing: Conduct a soil test to determine the pH level and nutrient content of your soil. This will help you understand any amendments or adjustments needed to create optimal growing conditions for the ground cover plants.
  3. Improve Drainage: Most quick spreading ground cover plants prefer well-draining soil. If your soil tends to be heavy or compacted, you can amend it with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will improve the soil structure and ensure proper drainage.
  4. Address Soil pH: Based on the results of your soil test, adjust the pH level if necessary. Some ground cover plants thrive in slightly acidic soil, while others prefer more alkaline conditions. Add lime to raise the pH or sulfur to lower it, according to specific plant requirements.
  5. Provide Adequate Sunlight: Determine the sunlight requirements of your chosen ground cover plants. Ensure that the planting site receives the appropriate amount of sunlight, whether it’s full sun, partial shade, or full shade. This will promote healthy growth and encourage quick spreading.
  6. Address Drainage Issues: If your planting area is prone to waterlogging or poor drainage, consider incorporating drainage solutions such as installing a French drain or elevating the planting bed. Proper drainage will prevent excessive moisture accumulation, which can lead to root rot and other plant diseases.
  7. Weed Prevention: Before planting, lay down a weed barrier fabric or apply a layer of organic mulch to suppress weed growth. This will save you time and effort in weed control, allowing the ground cover plants to establish without competition.

By taking the time to properly prepare the planting site, you set the stage for healthy and vigorous growth of your quick spreading ground cover plants. Remember to consider the specific needs of the plants when preparing the site, including sunlight, drainage, and soil conditions. With a well-prepared site, your ground cover plants will have the best chance to flourish and provide the desired coverage in your garden.

Planting Quick Spreading Ground Cover Step-by-Step

Once you have prepared the planting site, it’s time to start planting your quick spreading ground cover plants. Follow these step-by-step instructions for successful planting:

  1. Dig the Holes: Use a garden trowel or shovel to dig small planting holes for each ground cover plant. The size of the hole should be slightly larger than the root ball of the plant.
  2. Planting Spacing: Determine the recommended spacing for your chosen ground cover plants. This information can usually be found on the plant label or obtained from a gardening resource. Space the plants accordingly to allow for proper growth and coverage.
  3. Remove the Plants from Containers: Gently remove the ground cover plants from their containers or nursery pots. Carefully loosen the roots if they are tightly bound, ensuring they have room to grow and establish in the planting hole.
  4. Place the Plants in the Holes: Set each ground cover plant in its respective hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the soil surface. Adjust the depth as needed.
  5. Backfill and Firm the Soil: Fill in the planting holes with soil, gently firming it around the plant roots. Avoid compacting the soil too firmly, as it can hinder proper root development.
  6. Water Thoroughly: After planting, give the ground cover plants a thorough watering to settle the soil and ensure good root-to-soil contact. Keep the soil consistently moist during the establishment period to promote healthy growth.
  7. Apply Mulch: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the base of the plants. This will help retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and provide insulation for the roots.

It’s important to note that while quick spreading ground cover plants are known for their ability to fill in an area quickly, they still require time to establish strong root systems. Be patient and provide consistent care, including regular watering and appropriate maintenance, to ensure their long-term success.

Remember to follow any specific planting instructions provided by the nursery or written on the plant labels. These guidelines may vary depending on the species and cultivar of the ground cover plants you have chosen.

By following these step-by-step planting instructions, you will give your quick spreading ground cover plants the best chance to thrive and create the beautiful coverage you desire in your garden.

Watering and Mulching

Proper watering and mulching are essential for the health and success of your quick spreading ground cover plants. They help to provide adequate moisture, suppress weed growth, and maintain optimal soil conditions. Here’s what you need to know:


Watering requirements may vary depending on the specific ground cover plants you have chosen and the climate of your region. However, the following are some general watering guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Establishment Period: During the first few weeks after planting, it is crucial to provide sufficient moisture to help the plants establish healthy root systems. Water them deeply and consistently, keeping the soil evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.
  • Regular Watering: Once the ground cover plants are established, they may require less frequent watering. Monitor the soil moisture and water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Remember to water deeply to encourage deep root growth, rather than shallow watering that only wets the surface.
  • Watering Methods: To ensure efficient water uptake, consider using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system. These methods deliver water directly to the plant roots, minimizing water loss through evaporation and leaf wetting.
  • Avoid Overwatering: While it’s important to provide adequate moisture, be careful not to overwater your ground cover plants. Overwatering can lead to root diseases and waterlogged soil conditions. Allow the top layer of soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions.


Applying mulch around your quick spreading ground cover plants offers numerous benefits:

  • Weed Suppression: A layer of mulch helps to suppress weed growth by smothering weed seeds and blocking sunlight from reaching the soil surface. This reduces competition for nutrients and moisture, allowing your ground cover plants to thrive.
  • Moisture Retention: Mulch acts as a protective barrier, reducing soil evaporation and conserving moisture. It helps to maintain a more consistent soil moisture level and reduces the frequency of watering.
  • Insulation: Mulch provides insulation for the plant’s root system, protecting it from extreme temperature fluctuations. This is particularly beneficial during hot summers and cold winters.
  • Soil Health: As the mulch layer breaks down over time, it adds organic matter to the soil, improving its structure, fertility, and water-holding capacity.

When applying mulch, follow these guidelines:

  • Apply a layer of mulch around 2-3 inches thick, taking care not to pile it up against the plant stem or crown.
  • Leave a small gap around the base of each plant to prevent moisture buildup and potential rot.
  • Refresh the mulch layer annually or as needed to maintain the desired thickness.

By implementing proper watering practices and applying mulch, you will create a supportive environment for your quick spreading ground cover plants, ensuring their optimal growth and longevity in your garden.

Choose ground cover plants that are known for their quick spreading abilities, such as creeping thyme or periwinkle. Plant them close together to encourage faster coverage and use mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Pruning and Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your quick spreading ground cover plants through regular pruning and proper care is essential for keeping them healthy, promoting dense growth, and maintaining the desired coverage. Here are some pruning and maintenance tips to help you achieve optimal results:

  • Regular Inspection: Inspect your ground cover plants regularly for any signs of disease, pests, or unwanted growth. Early detection allows for prompt action and prevents potential issues from spreading and affecting the entire plant bed.
  • Pruning: Prune your quick spreading ground cover plants as needed to remove dead or damaged branches, promote airflow, and maintain the desired shape and size. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts just above a leaf node or bud.
  • Rejuvenation Pruning: Every few years, consider performing rejuvenation pruning on your ground cover plants to encourage new growth and maintain their vigor. This involves cutting back the plants more severely to stimulate fresh growth from the base.
  • Dividing and Transplanting: Some quick spreading ground cover plants may need dividing or transplanting to prevent overcrowding and facilitate healthy growth. Dividing the plants every few years helps rejuvenate them and create new plants for expansion in other areas of your garden.
  • Weed Control: Regularly check for and remove any weeds that emerge within or around your ground cover plants. Weeds compete for resources, potentially affecting the health and growth of your plants. Regular weeding is crucial, especially during the early stages of plant establishment.
  • Fertilization: Quick spreading ground cover plants typically do not require heavy fertilization. However, applying a slow-release organic fertilizer in spring can provide the necessary nutrients to support healthy growth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.
  • Monitoring for Pests: Keep an eye out for common pests that can affect ground cover plants, such as aphids, snails, and slugs. Take appropriate measures to control these pests, such as using organic insecticides or employing natural pest management techniques.
  • Winter Protection: In colder climates, provide winter protection for your ground cover plants by mulching around their base to insulate the root system. You can also cover the plants with breathable frost blankets during extreme cold spells.
  • Regular Maintenance: Conduct regular maintenance tasks, including removing any debris or fallen leaves from the ground cover plants. This helps prevent the accumulation of moisture and reduces the risk of diseases.

Each species of quick spreading ground cover plants may have specific maintenance requirements, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the particular needs of your chosen plants. Consult gardening resources or local experts for more detailed guidance on maintaining and caring for your specific ground cover plants.

By following these pruning and maintenance tips, you can ensure the long-term health and vitality of your quick spreading ground cover plants while enjoying the maximum coverage and beauty they bring to your garden.

Dealing with Common Issues and Pests

While quick spreading ground cover plants are generally hardy and resilient, they can still face certain issues and pests that can affect their health and growth. Being proactive and taking necessary measures can help you mitigate these problems and maintain a thriving garden. Here are some common issues and pests you may encounter:

  • Plant Diseases: Ground cover plants can be susceptible to various diseases, including fungal infections and bacterial diseases. To prevent the spread of diseases, it’s important to practice good plant hygiene, such as removing and destroying diseased plant materials, ensuring proper air circulation, and avoiding overhead watering which can promote fungal growth. If necessary, apply organic fungicides or seek professional advice for specific treatment.
  • Weeds: Weeds can compete with quick spreading ground cover plants for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Regularly inspect your garden for any emerging weeds and promptly remove them by hand or with the help of a garden tool. Applying a layer of mulch can also help suppress weed growth.
  • Aphids: Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can infest ground cover plants. They reproduce rapidly and can cause damage by deforming or stunting plant growth. To control aphids, try spraying a mixture of water and mild soap directly on the affected parts of the plants. Alternatively, introduce natural predators such as ladybugs to help keep their population in check.
  • Snails and Slugs: Snails and slugs are common pests that can feast on the foliage of ground cover plants, leaving behind unsightly damage. To deter these pests, create physical barriers like copper tape or use organic slug and snail baits around the plants. Regularly inspect and remove these pests by hand to prevent further damage.
  • Deer and Rabbits: In areas with high populations of deer or rabbits, these animals may pose a threat to your ground cover plants. Protect your plants by fencing off the area or using deterrents such as motion-activated sprinklers or organic repellents.
  • Improper Growth or Overcrowding: Some quick spreading ground cover plants can become invasive or overtake surrounding plants if not properly contained. Regularly monitor the growth of your plants and implement pruning, dividing, or thinning as needed to maintain a balanced and controlled growth pattern.

If you are uncertain about the specific issue or pest affecting your ground cover plants, consult with local gardening experts or extension services for guidance and appropriate treatment options specific to your region.

Remember, maintaining a healthy garden starts with regular observation and taking prompt action when necessary. By addressing common issues and pests in a timely manner, you can help ensure the longevity and vibrancy of your quick spreading ground cover plants.

Expanding the Quick Spreading Ground Cover Area

Once your quick spreading ground cover plants have established and created a lush carpet in one area of your garden, you may consider expanding their coverage to other areas. Here are some ways to successfully expand the quick spreading ground cover area:

  • Propagation by Division: One of the easiest ways to expand your ground cover area is by dividing the existing plants. Carefully dig up a well-established clump and gently separate it into smaller sections, ensuring each section has roots attached. Replant these divisions in the new desired areas, following proper planting techniques. Water thoroughly and monitor their growth as they establish in the new location.
  • Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Some quick spreading ground cover plants can be propagated by taking stem cuttings. Select healthy, non-flowering stems and cut them just below a leaf node. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a well-drained potting mix, keeping it moist and in a warm, bright location. Once roots have developed, transplant the new plants into the desired areas.
  • Spreading Through Runners or Creeping Stolons: Certain ground cover plants, such as strawberries or carpeting sedums, naturally produce runners or creeping stolons that spread along the ground and root as they go. Simply guide these runners into the desired areas and secure them with small stakes or pins until they take root. Regular watering and monitoring are necessary until the plants are well established.
  • Transplanting: If the ground cover plants you have chosen are easily transplanted, you can carefully lift and move individual plants to the new location. Be sure to dig a hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the root ball. Water thoroughly after transplanting to help settle the soil and encourage root establishment.
  • Seed Propagation: Some quick spreading ground cover plants can be propagated by seeds. Collect mature seeds from your existing plants, following proper seed collection techniques. Prepare the area by removing any weeds and loosening the soil. Sow the seeds according to the specific instructions for each plant, ensuring proper spacing and seed depth. Water regularly and provide suitable conditions for germination and growth.
  • Overlapping Planting: If your ground cover plants have a spreading habit, you can strategically plant them closer together to encourage them to fill in the desired area quickly. This method works well for plants like creeping thyme or moss that naturally spread and interconnect.

When expanding the quick spreading ground cover area, it’s important to consider the specific needs of the plants, such as sunlight, soil conditions, and watering requirements. Adequate preparation, proper planting techniques, and regular care will help ensure the successful establishment and growth of the ground cover plants in their expanded areas.

Remember to be patient as the plants take time to establish and fill in the new areas. With proper care, your quick spreading ground cover plants will create a stunning and low-maintenance carpet of greenery throughout your garden.


Quick spreading ground cover plants are a fantastic addition to any garden, providing not only visual appeal but also practical benefits such as erosion control, weed suppression, and moisture conservation. By carefully choosing the right ground cover plants for your specific conditions and following proper planting techniques, you can establish a lush, low-maintenance garden that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the process of selecting the ideal quick spreading ground cover plants for your garden, preparing the planting site, and step-by-step instructions for successful planting. We’ve also discussed the importance of proper watering and mulching, as well as providing guidance on pruning and maintenance to keep your ground cover plants healthy and vibrant.

Additionally, we’ve emphasized the significance of identifying and addressing common issues and pests that may affect the health of your ground cover plants. By being proactive in managing these challenges, you can maintain the beauty and vitality of your garden.

Furthermore, we’ve discussed various methods for expanding the coverage of your quick spreading ground cover plants, enabling you to create a unified and cohesive landscape in multiple areas of your garden.

By following the tips and guidelines provided in this article, you are well-equipped to create a stunning garden with quick spreading ground cover plants. Remember to consider the specific needs of the plants, adapt your care routine to your climate and soil conditions, and stay vigilant in monitoring and addressing any issues that may arise.

Enjoy the process of watching your ground cover plants flourish and transform your garden into a captivating oasis. With the right choices, proper care, and a bit of patience, your quick spreading ground cover plants will reward you with a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape that you can take pride in.

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Plant Quick Spreading Ground Cover

What are some examples of quick spreading ground cover plants?

Some examples of quick spreading ground cover plants include creeping thyme, periwinkle, creeping Jenny, and sweet woodruff. These plants are great for filling in bare spots in your garden and creating a lush, green carpet.
How do I prepare the soil for planting quick spreading ground cover?

To prepare the soil for planting quick spreading ground cover, you should first remove any weeds and debris from the area. Then, loosen the soil and add some organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, to improve its texture and fertility. This will provide a good foundation for the ground cover plants to spread and thrive.
What are the benefits of using quick spreading ground cover in my garden?

Quick spreading ground cover plants offer several benefits for your garden. They help to suppress weeds, reduce erosion, retain soil moisture, and provide habitat for beneficial insects. Additionally, they can add visual interest and texture to your garden, creating a lush and inviting landscape.
How do I care for quick spreading ground cover plants once they are established?

Once your quick spreading ground cover plants are established, it’s important to provide them with regular water, especially during dry periods. You can also apply a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Additionally, you may need to trim or prune the ground cover plants occasionally to keep them tidy and prevent them from spreading too aggressively.
Can I use quick spreading ground cover in shady areas of my garden?

Yes, there are several quick spreading ground cover plants that are well-suited for shady areas of the garden. Examples include periwinkle, sweet woodruff, and ajuga. These plants can thrive in low light conditions and help to brighten up shady spots with their lush foliage and colorful flowers.

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