Creeping Juniper (Juniperus communis)
The name “creepy” may not apply to creeping junipers. They are actually quite docile creatures, but they do have their own unique way of life. These evergreens don’t grow in large groups like many other trees or shrubs do; instead they prefer to form small clumps that can be difficult to see from afar.
They are usually found near water sources and in moist areas.
These evergreens grow up to 30 feet tall with branches reaching 15 feet high. Their leaves are alternate, oval shaped, greenish-silver and have five leaflets each. The flowers are white or pinkish-purple and bloom from March through June.
In the wild, these evergreens are often found along streams and riversides. They live in woodlands and fields where they provide shade for themselves and their young. They also enjoy some protection from extreme heat, cold, rain or snowstorms.
They’re hardy enough to survive winters in colder climates such as those in Minnesota’s northern reaches. However, they will die back if temperatures drop too much during the summer months. They prefer partial to full sunlight and need to stay hydrated by living near a water source.
Their shallow roots can help them stay stable in loose soil.
Although creeping junipers are fairly common in forests and on hillsides, they aren’t suitable for all regions. If you’re unsure about what types of shrubs or plants are best suited for your location, check with your local Cooperative Extension office.
These evergreens have some other names, including creeping cedar, common juniper, and even just juniper. …
Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)
Pachysandra, also known as Japanese spurge, is a creeping evergreen ground cover that has a thick carpet-like form and dark green leaves. The flowers grow in clusters at the tips of the stems and have five white petals. They’re light purple when they’re young and darken as they age.
These flowers bloom from May through September.
The plant itself is native to Japan, China and Taiwan. It’s a slow growing plant that spreads rapidly, especially when it has the right conditions to flourish. While it prefers moist soil and partial shade, it can grow in a variety of conditions.
It can even survive in acidic soil with poor drainage.
While this ground cover is considered low-maintenance, some common issues can include foliage problems like chlorosis (yellowing), leaf drop and slow growth. To avoid these issues, make sure the soil is well aerated and light. It can also help to add fertilizer to the soil to improve growth and plant health.
These plants are considered invasive and should not be planted in poorer soil or areas where they can easily spread to unwanted areas. If you do not want to deal with the maintenance of controlling their spread, make sure you plant them in a pot so that you can easily transport them if they start growing towards new areas.
Creeping Junipers (Juniperus horizontalis)
If you’re looking for a ground cover that has a bit of a unique twist, the creeping juniper is definitely one to try. These plants have a shrub-like appearance that can add some texture to your garden. When mature, they can reach up to 3 feet in height and spread out into a ground covering mass.
They have small brown cones and blue-green needles.
These are hardy plants that grow naturally in diverse areas. They can survive in dry, rocky, shallow soil in an area that has dappled sun to shade or full sun. They’re perfect for rocky hillsides and woody slopes.
If you’re looking for more of a formal shape or want to contain their spread, it’s best to trim them into the shape you desire since they have shallow roots that don’t go too deep into the ground. If you want to contain their spread, a simple wood or stone border can also help.
These plants can grow in areas with either a wet or dry climate since they have some tolerance for both. They also thrive in acidic or alkaline soil, so they’re fairly adaptable as long as the soil is not frozen. Since they are hardy and grow naturally in diverse areas, they are low-maintenance plants that don’t need much tending to.
They’re a great choice if you’re just looking to add some texture and dimension to your flower beds. They can even make great alternatives to turf grass in some areas since they don’t have deep roots that can interfere with infrastructure in the soil.
Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
The creeping buttercup is native to the central and eastern parts of North America. It’s a low growing plant that has oval shaped leaves and bright yellow flowers that bloom from April through September. These plants spread out by forming large clumps and are great for soil erosion control.
This is a perennial plant that grows in a variety of conditions. It can grow in full sun or shade, dry or moist soil, and various types of habitats. They’re great for stabilizing soil on hillsides.
They can grow in areas with wet or dry soil, but they do require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. If the plants don’t receive enough sunlight, their growth will be stunted and the leaves will be a darker green. If the plants get too much sun, the leaves may become a lighter green.
These plants tolerate a range of soil types, but the soil must be well drained. If the soil is too loose or too dense, it can impair the growth of the plant. They also need soil that has a neutral pH balance.
One of the biggest advantages to growing creeping buttercup plants is their adaptability. They’re one of the few plants that can grow in both wet and dry areas. Consider using them to help stabilizing slopes prone to erosion.
You can also grow them in containers and move them from place to place as you see fit.
Another advantage of these plants is they have a neat and tidy appearance. They’re also resistant to various common pests and diseases. It’s very rare for these plants to suffer any major illnesses, so they require very little maintenance.
One disadvantage of the creeping buttercup is its invasive roots system. If you do not live in an area with wet soil, it’s best to plant these plants in a pot or container and keep them indoors. They can still grow in dry soil, but their roots will spread much quicker and deeper if they have plenty of moisture.
You may also want to consider using these plants as part of an outdoor project that needs extra stability. Be sure to keep an eye on the plant for any signs of spreading too far or growing out of control.
Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)
The creeping jenny is native to most of North America, Europe, and Asia. It has small heart-shaped leaves and yellow flowers that bloom in the summer. This is a low growing ground cover that spreads out over time to form a nice green carpet.
It’s often used in gardens and for erosion control. This plant is often confused with the creeping buttercup, as they have similar foliage and flourish in similar environments.
These plants grow best in full sun to partial shade and like soil that drains well. They can grow in almost any type of soil, but they need it to be well drained. They spread out about 1 to 2 feet each year and can form a nice little green carpet.
The creeping jenny is often used on hillsides that tend to erode.
Sources & references used in this article:
Selecting landscape plants: Groundcovers by AX Niemiera – 2012 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu
Ground Cover Plants by JL Creech – Turfgrass Science, 1969 – Wiley Online Library
Fire-resistant plants for home landscapes: Selecting plants that may reduce your risk from wildfire by AJ Detweiler, SA Fitzgerald – 2006 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu
Groundcovers for the South by M Harrison – 2006 – books.google.com