The Best Ground Cover Plants to Grow in Minnesota

If you’re looking to add beauty to your yard without spending a fortune, consider planting some ground cover plants. These low-maintenance beauties do double duty as decorative accents and effective weed suppressors; keep them watered regularly and fertilize once every few months.

There are plenty of different ground cover plants, each suited to specific needs. Some are ideal for shady areas, while others thrive in full sun. Before selecting one, consider what type of soil you live in, how much light it receives, and whether you want something tall or short. Here are excellent ground cover plants to grow in Minnesota:

Clover Lawn

The clover lawn trend began in 2007 when California native David Dunmire introduced his creation at the annual San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. His design consisted of a mixture of clover and rye grasses, and he called it a “clover lawn.” Soon after, the term caught on, and people began calling it “clover lawn,” even though the designer had never used it.

In 2008, the American Society of Landscape Architects named clover lawn one of the ten best landscape trends of the decade. In 2009, the USDA approved the use of clover lawn as a cover crop, meaning farmers could plant it during fallow periods to replenish soil nutrients. Now, clover lawn is being planted across the United States.


Lamium is one of the easiest plants to grow in our garden. They thrive in full sun and average soil. The flowers bloom in early spring and continue into late fall. They are easy to propagate from seed and divide every few years to keep up with growth. Some varieties produce small white flowers, while others produce large clusters of pink flowers.

The leaves are heart-shaped and dark green. To encourage bushier growth, you can prune the stems down to about 12 inches tall. Trimming the lower branches back to just above ground level is enough if you want a bushy plant.

Mondo grass

Low-growing, evergreen grass species choose the best low-maintenance plants when planted in groups because they’re easy to look after and come in various colors and shapes. Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapaus ‘Nigrescens’), pictured here, is one such species. This variety grows about 3ft tall and produces purple stems topped with tiny violet flowers in late spring. Its foliage turns a dark blue-black color once it reaches maturity.

In hotter climates, it needs some shade, while in cooler climates, it thrives under full sun. It’s also very drought tolerant. Plant it in well-draining soils and water regularly. If you live in a temperate climate, it’s ideal for a large patio or deck area, where you can sit out and enjoy the view.

Mondo grass spreads slowly, covering up to 12 inches per year, so you’ll want to sow several seeds every season to ensure there’s always plenty of greenery. You might have to thin the seedlings occasionally, but don’t worry – the roots proliferate, and you won’t lose much of the plant.

Trailing Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Periwinkle is a groundcover plant that fills your garden or container with beautiful periwinkle-colored blooms. This perennial vine overgrows and spreads quickly, so you may need to watch it. But once you’ve established it, this easy-to-grow plant will give you plenty of color throughout the spring and summer months.

It has a pleasant fragrance and is suitable for planting near your patio, porch, or garden. If you plant it in full sun, it will bloom abundantly. It doesn’t flower much in shaded locations, but it still makes an attractive addition to your landscape. When planted in full sun, trailing periwinkle will bloom profusely. It won’t flower much in shady spots, but it still looks great.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require regular watering, look no further than periwinkle. It thrives in most soil types, including clay, sand, loam, and even peat moss. It does best in areas with spotty light, such as under large deciduous trees or along a stone wall.

Trailing periwinkle grows best in warm temperatures and tolerates cold weather just fine. It prefers slightly acidic soils, though it will tolerate both alkaline and primary conditions. It needs lots of moisture during the growing season, so water regularly. Once established, this plant requires little care. Remove spent blossoms to encourage more blooms, and trim off dead foliage to promote healthy growth.

Sweet Woodruff (Gallium odoratum)

Sweet woodruff is a perennial grassy herb that is native to Eurasian countries like Germany, Poland, and Turkey. It is often found growing along streams and roadsides. In North America, it is considered a weed because it spreads rapidly and becomes invasive. However, it does well in many parts of the United States where it is used as a landscape plant.

The genus name Gallium comes from Latin words meaning “to rub,” referring to the fact that the leaves are covered in tiny hairs. This makes the plant very soft to the touch. The species name odoratum refers to the pleasant smell emitted by the plants.

Aubrieta (Aubrieta deltoidea)

This hardy ground cover is perfect for sunny gardens and borders. It’s a fast-spreading perennial that forms dense mats of bright green leaves. It’s not particularly fragrant, but its glossy leaves make it a good choice for adding texture to your garden.

You can find aubrieta in shades of green, yellow, red, orange, and brown. It’s charming when paired with other colorful perennials. It likes moist, fertile soil and full sun. It’s drought tolerant, so it’s a good option for dry regions. Aubrieta is easy to establish and maintain. Just cut back any dead or damaged foliage to promote new growth. Watering should be done sparingly since excess water encourages disease.

You can buy aubrieta in plugs at nurseries. These small plants are easier to handle and transplant into larger containers or beds. They also grow faster than seedlings.

These ferns have been around for millions of years. They are some of the oldest living things on Earth. Perennial ferns are tough, adaptable plants that thrive in almost every environment. They are among the easiest plants to grow. You don’t need special equipment or training to get started. All you need is a potting mix, a few seeds, and a sunny window.

Firecracker Sedum (Sedum)

Firecracker sedum is an annual flowering plant that has become popular recently. Its bright red flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It’s a great addition to any garden because it looks beautiful yearly.

Firecracker sedums come in several varieties, including ‘Autumn Joy,’ ‘Coral Bells,’ ‘Red Hot Poker, and ‘Ruby Spice. Each variety has different flower colors and shapes. Some varieties bloom all summer, while others only bloom for a short time.

Firecracker sedums require regular watering throughout the growing season. Keep them watered until they start to wilt. Then let them go dormant for a couple of weeks before watering again. When the plants die, remove them from their pots and replant them in fresh soil. This will help prevent diseases from spreading.

If you want to try planting firecracker sedums outside, choose locations that receive plenty of sunlight. They prefer a warm climate, so if you live in a cold area, wait until springtime to plant them outdoors. Plant them about 12 inches apart in rows that are 3 feet wide. Add a layer of mulch between each row to keep weeds under control.

Dragon’s Blood (Red Sedum)

A beautiful and bold ground cover, Dragon’s Blood loves sunlight. This fast-growing plant is perfect for shady areas and borders where you want something low maintenance and colourful. With its bright red foliage and deep green leaves, Dragon’s Blood makes a great addition to gardens, landscapes, and containers.

It has thick, dark green stems topped with clusters of white blooms. The flowers look like miniature daisies. They’re lovely during late fall and winter. The plant grows best in well-drained soils. Dragon’s blood sedums are very slow growers. If you want to speed up the process, add fertilizer to the soil as needed. Water regularly to encourage healthy growth. Do this by keeping the soil evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, which causes roots to rot.

After establishing them for several years, they may grow up to eight feet tall and become an attractive evergreen shrubs. This hardy ground cover plant tolerates Dry Soil and Temperature Variations.

Ajuga Ground Cover

Bugleweed (also known as Ajuga repents) is an annual herbaceous plant native to Europe, Asia, North Africa, and parts of Australia. It multiplies and spreads via underground rhizomes. Its bright green leaves grow directly from the root system, and the stems may grow up to three feet high.

In addition to being used as a garden ornamental, bugleweed is also helpful as a natural pesticide because it contains chemicals called sesquiterpene lactones. These compounds act as insecticides, causing paralysis and eventually death. They also control fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and rust. Bugleweed is an aggressive spreader, so don’t let it grow near anything else.

If you’re lucky, bugleweed may not spread aggressively through its underground runners. But if you don’t want it to spread, you may need to control it by planting it in an isolated spot.

The plant excels at growing in the shade, and it can thrive in rocky, steep, and otherwise hard-to-cultivate terrain. It can also be used to stabilize eroded land, and it has an excellent ability to hold onto nutrients.

Bugleweed is often used as an erosion barrier and can help keep soil from being washed away. Its roots create a thick carpet that displaces competing plants. Bugleweed is unique in that it is tough enough to survive under black walnut trees, which produce a chemical that discourages almost all other plant species.

Bellflower, Campanula

A clump-forming, low-growing bellflower produces blue, bell-shaped flowers above pretty foliage from mid-June to late August. This perennial plant grows up to 30cm tall and wide and looks good planted singly or in groups. It does best in full sun and needs fertile, well-drained soil that doesn’t dry out too much. Plant in spring or early summer.

This compact, clumping bellflower forms a neat mound of soft mauve, purple and white blooms over a long flowering season from July to October. It is an excellent cut flower and ideal for small gardens with limited space. However, a little care is needed; deadhead regularly to keep plants looking healthy.


Need an easy evergreen carpet for planting where no grass dare grow — or want a beautiful addition to your garden? Try stonecrop. These low-growing plants are perfect for shady spots because their fleshy, bluish-green foliage helps retain what little water it gets. Some varieties of stonecrop are native to North America, while others come from around the world.

Stonecrop grows best in well-drained soil, and mulch and weeding to keep weeds down will ensure you won’t have to worry about watering. You’ll find many colors and forms of stonecrop, including some that bloom every spring.

Vinca Minor

Vinca minor is one of those plants that seems perfect for every garden situation. This perennial vine proliferates and spreads quickly, making it an excellent choice for filling in bare spots around the yard. And because it doesn’t require much attention once established, it makes an excellent option for planting along walkways and patios.

However, while vinca minor grows well in many different types of soil, it isn’t always easy to find varieties that don’t mind transplanted into new locations. If you’re looking to plant vinca minor, look for varieties labelled “self-seeding.” These tend to be slower growing and less aggressive about spreading, meaning they won’t take over your yard quite as fast.

Creeping Jenny

Lysimachia (creeping jenny or standard creeping buttercup) is a flowering perennial herb native to Eurasia and North Africa. Its name derives from the Greek word lysima, meaning “to creep.” This plant grows into a clump-forming rosette shape, growing about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It spreads rapidly by underground rhizomes and seeds. In some places, it is considered an invasive weed.

The leaves are long, narrow, and pointed and grow along the stem. They are usually light green, though sometimes dark green or purple. The flowers are produced in summer and early fall. They are small, yellow, and held in dense heads near the tips of the stems.

Creeping Jenny requires well-drained soil and bright sun. It does best in moist conditions and tolerates both shade and drought. It is very hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -20°F.

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