Georgia Gardener Newsletter Design Tip: May 17, 2007

Plants Between Pavers

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A sampling of plants growing between pavers.

If you have an area in your garden that has a path or sitting area that comprised of stone, brick or some other material that is not held in place with mortar, you can leave gaps between your paving material in which to have low-growing groundcovers. The presence of these plants, which are typically evergreen, softens the appearance of the paver material as well as extending the garden into the hardscaping feature. Most of the plants you will use should be creepers that spread easily.

Paver Plants for Shade

If you have a paver path or sitting area that's in the shade, you still have plenty of options for plants to grow between the paving stones.

Native Green n GoldDwarf Mondo Grass

Green n Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum) makes an excellent blooming groundcover between paving stones. Although it tolerates full sun in good soil, I have found the optimal growing condition is partial shade. Dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nana') is a grass-like evergreen plant that will creep slowly between pavers. It tolerates almost full shade and will spread more quickly in loose soil.

Creeping Jenny*Hairy Cap Moss

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') is probably one of the fastest spreading evergreen groundcovers for shade. It can spread so fast, you will need to watch it to keep it in bounds. The bright yellow/green leaves really liven up a shady location. It will tolerate sun if kept moist enough. Hairy cap moss (Polytrichum spp.) is native to moist, acidic woods in Georgia. It can be tricky to keep alive except in the proper conditions. However, there are plenty of moss species that will volunteer in a shade garden that can be used between paving stones.

Other paver plants for shade: Laurentia (Laurentia fluviatilis), Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens), Deadnettle* (Lamium maculatum), Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) for the cooler mountain regions, Native Gingers (Hexastylis spp.) and Purple Knockout Lyre-leaf Sage (Salvia lyrata 'Purple Knockout') pictured in the top image and which makes a good substitution for Ajuga*.

Paver Plants for Sun

Sunny locations provide a great number of choices of evergreen groundcovers for use between pavers. Many of these plants bloom with a wide range of colors.

Creeping PhloxCreeping Sedum

Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) comes in a variety of colors from white to pink to almost blue. This spreading plant is covered with tiny star-shaped flowers in the early spring. If pruned back after flowering, it will sprout handsome bright green foliage. Creeping Sedum (Sedum spp.) can spread rather quickly. Once again there are different varieties with different flower colors ranging from red to white and yellow. Some of these creeping sedums can spread quickly and may have to be watched.

IceplantGeorgia Blue Speedwell

Iceplant (Delosperma cooperi) is a groundcover that has been popular on the west coast for years. It's only been in the last few years that I've seen it in Georgia. This plant is at the top of my list for full sun groundcovers. It spreads quickly (but not too fast), has succulent evergreen leaves, blooms from spring until frost and needs practically no water. Georgia Blue Speedwell (Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue') is a dainty groundcover with tiny sky-blue flowers in spring. The foliage takes on a slight purple cast during the winter. Its nice creeping habit makes it a good choice between pavers.

Other paver plants for sun: Creeping Thyme (Thymus spp.), Mazus (Mazus reptans) with ample moisture, Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens), Dianthus (Dianthus plumarius) and Homestead Purple Verbena (Verbena canadensis 'Homestead Purple').

Plants marked with an asterisk (*) can spread aggressively and should be watched.

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