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Gulf Coast Gardening: Great Groundcovers for Our Region

Meet some popular groundcovers that are well-suited to the climate of the Gulf Coast.

Bulbine features spikes of orange and yellow blossoms.
Mimosa the groundcover, pretty in pink.

By Mary Glazer

For me, groundcovers are the in-between plants of the home landscape. For the areas in my yard where I would like the coverage of something like a lawn, yet would prefer a bit more pizzazz than regular old turf grass, I start looking at groundcovers.

Fans of the color pink will appreciate a groundcover commonly called sunshine mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa), pictured. It is drought tolerant and can withstand foot traffic.

Buttercup-yellow ornamental peanut groundcover.

Ornamental peanut (Arachis glabrata), pictured, provides rolling waves of golden yellow in the landscape. My trips to the beach don’t occur as often as I would like, but the salt-tolerant beach sunflower (Helianthus debilus) grows happily in my inland yard.

Asiatic jasmine is a nonblooming groundcover.

Asiatic jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum), pictured, provides a solid mass of green cover, but I’ve also seen a variegated variety. In my neck of the woods, I often see this planted in parking lot islands and medians. These plants, once established, typically fill large areas.

There was a time I thought groundcovers had to completely cover the ground, but I learned there also are clumping plants, which, when used in mass can achieve the same purpose.

Shore juniper provides a blue-green look.

For small areas in my yard, I prefer clusters of long-blooming bulbine (Bulbine frutescens), a clumping succulent with spikes of orange and yellow blossoms pictured at the start of this story. There's also lilyturf (Liriope spicata), a tall border grass with a brief burst of lavender flowers, and low-growing shore juniper (Juniperus conferta ‘Blue Pacific’), with lovely blue-green foliage.

The older I get, the less I want to deal with the upkeep of a turf lawn. With groundcovers—whether the scrambling, rambling types; groupings of individual plants; evergreen; or blooming varieties—I can have the best of both worlds: the eye appeal of turf grass, without the labor of a lawn mower.

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