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Planting Ground Cover Plants

Most ground covers take about one year to establish and actually begin filling in an area. After established though, they need very little maintenance.

Choose an area with well-drained soil. Dig a hole for each plant and plant to the root collar (the line on the plant where it was planted before). Most varieties can be spaced from 8 inches to 18 inches apart, depending on the variety and how fast they establish. A timed-release organic fertilizer may be mixed into the soil during the planting on ground covers.

Mulch around each plant with about 2 to 3 inches of aged compost or other organic matter. Water until soil is completely moist. Then, water every 2 to 4 days (depending on local weather) during the first 4 to 6 weeks for the plants to create a newer root system. Their first summer in the ground, they will need watering (once established) at least twice a week, possibly more, during no rain periods.

Note: vinca once established generally does not require regular watering.

As the ground covers establish and begin to creep into other areas, many can be kept neat by using a weed trimmer or hand shears.

Ivy should be pruned in early spring before rapid growth. Mow large areas with ivy or use a hedge trimmer. Note: be sure to pick up and dispose of all pieces of the plants after mowing or trimming so that they do not attach and begin growing in unwanted areas.

The ivy will rejuvenate quickly with new growth. To keep ivy under control, 2 to 3 trimmings per year may be necessary. Ivy shouldn’t be allowed to climb into trees or onto low growing branches. The shrubs and trees will eventually die.

Sedum is drought tolerant and will thrive in hot sun and poor soil. It will tolerate some shade, but prefers 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Sedum doesn’t always appear attractive during their first growing year. Clusters of 3 or more plants look best. They don’t need to be fertilized or cut back to grow. They are pretty self sufficient.