Tips and Guides

Do You Have Groundcovers In Your Garden?

These low-growing plants can help you maintain your green corner in different ways

Original Article: Jan Imperio Photography: Jun Pinzon Styling: Issa Villar

Have you noticed those short plants that are not grasses when you walk around a garden? They are called groundcovers. They are not like grasses that are meant to be stepped on, but they do play an important role. Groundcovers not only help prevent soil erosion and weed growth, they also keep the soil from drying up by acting as covers that protect it from too much sun and wind exposure. Curious about groundcovers you can use in your garden? Here are some suggestions: 

1. Tropic Marianne ("bakya") and Spider Plant 

These plants are perfect if you have a garden that receives half a day of sunlight or even less. Because they have light-colored foliage, you can see them even in dark spots in your garden. When you see that the leaf margins are turning brown, it means they are getting too much sunlight. Water them moderately and plant them in a soil that is rich in organic matter. 

2. Dwarf Mondo Grass ("Kyoto dwarf") and Metal Leaf

If your garden has uneven light (some parts are exposed to the sun while other parts are shaded), you need groundcovers that can thrive both in sunny and shady areas. Kyoto dwarf and Metal Leaf are some of the plants you can use. Since they are exposed to varying amounts of sunlight in your garden, water the plants that are under full sunlight more frequently. Plant these groundcovers using clay loam soil, and give them a dose of nitrogen-rich fertilizer every six months. Also, take note that the metal leaf has a more silver color when exposed to full sunlight, while it turns purple when placed in shady areas. 

3. Mother-in-law's Tongue ("Golden Hahnii")

A crumbly or sandy soil cannot hold much moisture and nutrients, and therefore lacks the basic requirements for a plant to thrive. In this case, you need a groundcover that can tolerate drought like the Mother-in-law's Tongue. This plant likes to be under a bright light. If you put it in a shady area, its yellow margins will be replaced by a deep green leaf color. Give it deep watering once a week—too much water will make its leaves and roots rot. 

4. Creeping Charlie and Peanut Plant 

If you have a large garden, use groundcovers that can spread out after a few weeks of being planted so you don't have to buy a lot of plants. Creeping Charlie and Peanut Plant are your best bets. They send out runners so they don't eat up a lot of time for them to be able to cover your garden. These picks can also be easily propagated through cuttings. Water these plants moderately, and watch out for excessive growth. 

Read the original article ("Down-to-earth Plants") in the April 2007 issue of Real Living magazine. Download your digital copy on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details. 

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