5 Reasons to Plant Herbal Groundcovers

| February/March 2010

  • For more photos of herbal groundcovers, click on the IMAGE GALLERY.
    Photo by Jerry Pavia
  • Wooly yarrow does best in full sun.
    Photo by Jerry Pavia
  • For more photos of herbal groundcovers, click on the IMAGE GALLERY.
    Photo by Jerry Pavia
  • Roman chamomile makes a wonderful lawn substitute.
    Photo by Jerry Pavia
  • Groundcovers like this scented geranium are practical and luxuriously fragrant.
    Photo by Jerry Pavia
  • Lamb's ears grows well in full sun and partial shade.
    Photo by Jerry Pavia
  • For more photos of herbal groundcovers, click on the IMAGE GALLERY.
    Photo by Susan Roth
  • Creeping thyme prefers sun to part shade, and works well along a stepping-stone path.
    Photo by David Cavagnaro

• Scented Herbal Groundcovers 

• Drought Tolerant Groundcovers 

Every spring, nurseries and garden centers buzz with gardeners looking for that perfect mulch to spread in their yards. Gardeners want mulch with beneficial properties and curb appeal. Bag after bag is loaded into pickups, trunks and even backseats.

But did you know there also are living mulches? I’m talking about the soil-huggers, the low-growers of the plant world—the unheralded herbal groundcovers. Low-maintenance herbal groundcovers are mulches that eliminate weeding, prevent soil erosion, insulate in winter and retain water in summer. In this case, beauty, delightful fragrance and edible landscaping are just icing on the gardening cake. Nothing brings mulching benefits as nicely as agreeable herbs.

Herbs are masters at adapting to a variety of soils and reproduce all by themselves. As living mulches, they’re rivaled by none. There isn’t one good reason to consider herbs as groundcovers—there are five great ones.

1. Wise Watering

Living groundcovers can conserve water in your garden, which can save you money wherever you live. If you live in a drought-stricken area like California, it can be especially important. Under-planting with herbal groundcovers holds moisture in the soil by slowing water evaporation and allowing the water to remain available to the plant roots below. The groundcovers also protect the soil from drying in the sun’s rays. Most groundcovers do well without any supplemental watering.

3/31/2013 10:55:31 PM

I planted Golden Oregano in a bed last year to use as living mulch. It over-wintered beautifully. I'm very happy with it. I may divide some of it to help it completely cover the bare spots. It's edible, too. When I fertilize, I'll be sure to be organic.

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