The Best Ground Cover Plants to Grow in Michigan

Michigan is a state full of natural beauty, but it’s also home to some of the harshest winters in the country. If you’re not careful, your garden can become completely barren when winter rolls around.

Plenty of ground cover plants will thrive even under extreme weather conditions. These plants are perfect for planting in Michigan because they’ll help protect your soil from erosion and keep weeds at bay, so you don’t have to spend time weeding. Continue reading to learn more about cover plants:

Factors To Consider When Selecting Ground Cover Plants to Grow

Here are some things that you should consider when selecting ground cover plants:


Some plants will not survive in some areas of the country or your backyard if it gets too cold or hot during the summer months. You will want to ensure that any plant you select will survive where you live.

Shade Tolerance

A few ground covers will not tolerate shade very well, while others require total sun exposure to thrive. If the area where you want to plant them gets too much shade, this might not be the best choice for your particular situation.

Water Requirements

Some plants require more water than others. This is something else that needs to be considered when selecting a plant for your garden space because if it does not get enough water, it will die back quickly and become an eyesore rather than an enhancement to your property!

Soil Type

Most ground cover plants will grow well in most soil types, but some prefer sandy soils, while others do better with clay soils. If you have grassy areas with poor drainage, use plants that grow best in wet soil, such as violets or mosses. Choose drought-tolerant plants like lavender and sedum if your yard has dry clay soil.

Sunlight Requirements

Does your area receive full sun? Partial shade? Full shade? Some ground covers require more sunlight than others; therefore, you must select one that fits your needs and location.

Time Of Year

You will want to know what time of year you will plant your ground cover to choose the best types for your location. For example, if you live in an area that gets cold during the winter, you will want to plant your ground cover in the early spring, so it has time to grow before winter comes around. Some plants will not survive freezing temperatures, while others may be able to survive but will not look their best if frozen during the winter months.

Best Ground Cover Plants to Grow in Michigan

Below is a list of ten cover plants that will flourish in Michigan:

Moss phlox

Moss phlox (Phlox subulata) is a low-growing ground cover that can be used as an alternative to moss or creeping thyme. This plant grows well in cool, shady areas and prefers moist soil.

The foliage is dark green and has a silvery appearance. It blooms in spring with small white flowers that attract bees and butterflies.

Moss phlox can be used for erosion control and ground cover in wooded areas. It makes an excellent border plant for your garden beds. The best time to plant this ground cover is during fall or early spring when the plants are dormant. You can use this with other flowering plants, such as bleeding hearts or wild geraniums.

If you want to use moss phlox as a lawn alternative, ensure you have enough space for each plant because they will spread out over time. They grow best in the shade but can tolerate partial sun if adequate moisture is available at all times.

Three-Leaved Stonecrop

Three-leaved stonecrop is an easy, low-growing plant that will spread by creeping roots and become a ground cover. It is native to the eastern U.S. and Canada and grows in moist woodlands and forests.

The leaves of the three-leaved stonecrop are small, dark green, and oval-shaped. The flowers are small and white, blooming from mid to late spring. The leaves have a reddish cast when they emerge in spring.

Three-leaved stonecrop is hardy in zones 4 through 8, making it a good choice for growing in Michigan’s climate. You can grow this plant in full sun or partial shade, but if you’re using it as a ground cover, the partial shade will help prevent your lawn from being overtaken by the plant!

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

The ‘Rozanne’ geranium is a compact, vigorous ground cover that blooms from spring to fall. It’s ideal for edging a border or filling in bare spots. They grow well in containers or mixed with other perennials.

The bright pink flowers have burgundy centers and grow on top of the leaves in clusters at the tips of the stems. The leaves are dark green, deeply lobed, and slightly hairy.

The ‘Rozanne’ geranium is hardy in zones 5 through 8, but it performs best in full sun to part shade. It also tolerates dry soil once established but prefers moist conditions during its first year of growth.


Hosta is a perennial plant that is often used as a ground cover. It works well in shade and sun and grows best in moist, well-drained soil. Hosta can be planted in spring or fall, but it is best to avoid planting during summer, when temperatures are high, and water is scarce.

Hosta plants are hardy and easy to grow, which makes them a favorite for many gardeners. The leaves of hostas vary in shape and size, with some having leaves that have an unusual shape. Some varieties have leaves that look like elephant ears, while others have leaves that resemble arrowheads or hearts.

The flowers on hostas come in different colors: white, yellow, pink, or lavender. They’re usually small and not showy except when they start to fade and turn brownish-yellow or red.


Mazus is an excellent ground cover for shade gardens because it’s a shade-loving plant. It spreads by underground runners that eventually make the plant look like a carpet of leaves.

Mazus grows well in moist soil and is drought tolerant once established. It’s also deer resistant, making it an excellent choice for gardens with wildlife.

Mazus is easy to grow from seed or root divisions, but if you want to start your plants from seed, sow them indoors six weeks before the last frost date, then transplant them into pots when two sets of true leaves appear.

European Wild Ginger

European wild ginger (Asarum europaeum) is a dainty, ground-hugging perennial that’s easy to grow and great for shady areas. The plant looks like wild ginger with its heart-shaped leaves but doesn’t have the same fragrance or taste. You can use the plant in borders or as an understory plant in the middle of your yard.

European wild ginger has small, white flowers that bloom in spring, followed by small red berries later in the year. The plant grows best in part shade to full shade and tolerates most types of soil except wet ones.

Sedum Rupestre ‘Angelina’

If you’re looking for an easy ground cover that will thrive in most of Michigan’s gardens, look no further than sedum. This plant is a perennial succulent that comes in wide varieties and forms. It’s also one of the easiest plants to grow.

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, also known as stonecrop, is a wide variety of sedum with tiny white flowers that bloom late spring through fall. The foliage can be green or variegated, depending on where it was grown.

This plant is known for its ability to thrive in poor soil conditions and total sun exposure. The only thing it doesn’t like is dryness, so ensure you provide regular watering during hot summer months when temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).


Barrenwort is a perennial ground cover that grows best in the midwest half of the United States. It’s low-maintenance and tolerates shade, making it an ideal choice for sunless areas of your yard.

Barrenwort has delicate, green leaves and grows to about 12 inches tall. It spreads quickly to fill in bare spots in your garden.

The flowers are small and white, with four petals apiece. They bloom in early spring before most other plants start to grow.

In addition to being a good ground cover plant for shady areas, barrenwort also grows well in full sun. It can be planted alongside other plants or under trees where you want a little extra color during springtime blooms.

Threadleaf Coreopsis

The Threadleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata) is a perennial plant that grows in Michigan and the midwest. Department of Agriculture classifies plant hardiness into zones 3 to 9. I

Threadleaf coreopsis produces yellow flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators. The plants may be grown from seeds or started indoors in pots before planting outside in the spring.

This plant grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade if necessary. It requires well-drained soil that isn’t too fertile or moist, as excess water can cause crown rot disease on this plant’s roots. It needs good drainage, so its roots aren’t sitting in standing water for long periods due to rain or irrigation water splashing off the ground around it after watering your lawn or garden areas nearby.

Cheddar Pink

A ground cover that’s hardy and drought-tolerant, cheddar pink has a pretty pink flower that blooms in early summer. The plant grows well in full sun to part shade and will thrive in sandy or rocky soil. It’s a good choice for a woodland garden or to fill an area under trees where grass won’t grow.

The leaves of cheddar pink have a rough texture that helps the plant retain water, making it an excellent choice for areas with poor drainage. Cuttings or seeds can propagate the plant, but it’s easy to find at local nurseries if you prefer not to start from scratch.

Benefits of Ground Cover Plants

Here are some of the benefits of ground cover plants:

Low Maintenance

Ground cover plants require little maintenance, making them ideal for those with busy schedules or limited time for gardening. Wide varieties do not need much watering or pruning, making them perfect for homeowners with active lifestyles.

Help Control Erosion

Erosion occurs when the wind blows soil particles off the ground and into water sources. Erosion is a significant concern in rural areas with little vegetation to hold the soil together. Ground cover plants help control erosion by providing shade from sunlight. This allows rainwater to soak into the soil.

Aesthetic Value

They can screen unsightly views from neighbors or passersby. If you don’t like what people see when they look at your yard, consider planting some bushes or trees on top of the hill behind your house so that no one can see it from below. Then grow some ground cover plants in front of those trees and bushes to make it look like there’s nothing back there!

Ground Cover Plants Help Keep Pests Away

The plants help keep pests away from your home by making it harder for them to get under your property’s foundation or into your attic or crawl space. There are many different types of ground cover plants that you can use for this purpose, including vinca vine, creeping thyme, and lavender.

Ground Covering Plants Improve Drainage Around Your Home

Suppose areas near your home tend to flood during heavy rains because of poor drainage. In that case, planting ground cover helps alleviate that problem by adding an extra layer that allows water to flow through more efficiently rather than pooling around your foundation walls or basement flooring.

In conclusion, Michigan is a fantastic place to grow plants. The weather can be rough, especially during the winter, but it’s worth it in the end. You’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers and plants that will last you through the year.

No matter what type of ground cover plant you’re growing, you should start with seeds or small plants and move them indoors when it gets cold. If your house gets cold enough for you to need a space heater, your plants will need somewhere warmer to live too.