Covering Dry Ground

Covering Dry Ground

Alyssum Clear Crystal White

Most gardeners are plagued with at least one patch of dry, bare ground in their garden that no amount of staring at forlornly is going to magic away. These areas can be particularly hard to cover, especially when trying to be water wise in the process. The job can be done, chop-chop, with just a couple of instant and water wise ground covers, so give it a whirl. Ground covers work in two ways; they protect the ground from losing water and if you pop them underneath other plants, like roses perhaps, the roses will need slightly less water as a mere spin off from having this blanket around their feet. What a win!

Remember to be considerate when choosing your ground cover and companion plants if you’d like the mixture though, as some ground covers may require a lot of sun and a plant casting a big shadow will inevitably kill it. The same will go for a water wise ground cover being used in a bed with a very thirsty plant and since the water saving afforded by the presence of the ground cover may not be enough, your plant may dehydrate anyway. Plan well though, and your beds will thrive with little care!

If you just can’t bare those unsightly patches anymore, here are some water-wise ground covers for you to consider this season:


Attractive Alyssum

Alyssum Clear Crystals Mixed

If you’re a bee and butterfly lover, alyssum is for you, as they attract all kinds of beneficial insects with their sweet smelling blooms. This, in turn, will naturally bring the insect eating birds so you can look forward to some bed activity this spring and summer if you choose this favourite.

Alyssum loves the sun and doesn’t mind some afternoon shade but don’t pop them under the covers. They are not particularly fussy and would really prefer not to be smothered with care, in fact, if your plants have soft leaves and are not really flowering like they should then it’s probably because your soil has too much nitrogen in it.

Their roots are not invasive and are exceptionally beneficial if employed correctly as a water wise ground cover but remember to keep them in check where necessary by trimming back if needed. They’re like the perfect living mulch, for tall growing plants.

Gaudy Gazania

Gazania New Day Bright Mix

Gazanias are a great example of a water wise ground cover that can stand completely on its own, needing no companions to make visual statements it cannot already make with its own presence. Its large, extravagant blooms open and close as a direct result of the sun and are available in a variety of incredibly vivid and eye catching colours that can warm any bed. 

Their bright flowers attract all manners of pollinating insects but interestingly, are not really affected by pests and diseases. If you deadhead the flowers, you’ll not only be rewarded with more flowers but it also encourages side branches to shoot which makes the plant much sturdier, so don’t be shy! A true water wise plant, they don’t need a lot of water and thrive in full sun, so while you shouldn’t leave them begging for a drink, they will survive a drought if they absolutely have to.


Punchy Portulaca

Portulaca Happy Hour Mixed

If you like the look of roses, you’ll love portulaca. These rose-like flowers are a little punchier in colour and much closer to the ground but maintenance wise, they’re an absolute doddle! These annual succulents love it hot and are drought tolerant, perfect water wise ground covers to brighten a bare patch. Plant some marigolds with them as a natural pest repellent since they enjoy the same type of living quarters.

There’s not much these precious gems need to thrive but sun is paramount in their lives. You’ll see how even the intensity of the light matters when they’re all tight lipped and  hiding away on cloudy days refusing to be seen in the dull tones of the day. The other no-no is waterlogged soil, so keep the water in the tap until it’s really needed and try not to pummel their soft leaves with hard overhead watering.


Awesome Alternanthera

Alternanthera Purple Prince

Alternanthera Purple Prince is the perfect addition if you’re looking to add some interest and colour using foliage. It’s beautiful leaves boast shades of burgundy and purple. This neat and compact groundcover requires very little maintenance. Look forward to months of pleasure as alternanthera spreads and shows off it’s value as a groundcover. You can also complement your beds by planting them in baskets and containers where they will spill over the edge and put on a great display all season long.

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