By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Groundcovers are valuable as more than beautiful additions to the landscape but also as weed preventers, soil stabilizers and moisture conservers. Evergreen groundcovers perform their duties year round. In zone 7, you need hardy evergreen groundcover plants for year round benefits. Choosing the right evergreen groundcovers for zone 7 will enliven the landscape and provide all the above benefits and more.
Picking perennial plants for the landscape is an important choice, as you will be living with those selections for years to come. When deciding upon an evergreen groundcover in zone 7, the hardiness of the plant is only one of the considerations. You must also opt for plants that are suited to the site conditions such as sun exposure, soil type, ease of care and water accommodations. Luckily, there are some hardy evergreen groundcover plants that are low maintenance and remarkably unfussy about their environment.
During the vetting process for your evergreen groundcover, decide if you want flowers, fruits or just greenery. Is the site located near a manicured bed or lawn? If so, you also need to consider the invasiveness of the plant. For example, plants like English ivy root at internodes and will spread out into other beds or even the lawn. They are best used where shearing is suitable and on rockeries, beds bordering paths or along the driveway.
A plant like Pachysandra might be a better choice. It does grow rapidly but doesn’t spread through rooted nodes but by rhizomes and, as an added bonus, it gets sweet little white flowers in spring. It is also easily kept sheared to a compact height and trimmed around obstructions.
You must also consider how large the plant will become. Not all areas of the landscape require foot or more tall plants and a close-to-the-ground profile may be more desirable.
For flower shows, choose from the following groundcover plants:
In zone 7, many half hardy perennials will perform well as evergreen groundcovers provided sustained freezes don’t occur. Some of these might be:
These have a better chance of remaining evergreen when planted in a protected area or microclimate of the garden.
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Several cultivars of the ice plant (Delosperma) grow well as a ground cover and produce stunning blooms in bright hues, adding much-needed color to the area. For example, "Fire Spinner" grows to about 2 inches high in a spreading carpet form. The tri-colored blooms appear throughout the succulent evergreen foliage during early spring and will continue to bloom throughout the summer. "Fire Spinner" grows in U.S. Department of Agricultural hardiness zones 5 through 10 in full to partial sun. The "Sizzling Pink" fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense "Sizzling Pink") is a repeat bloomer that produces fringed pink flowers amid evergreen foliage and can be grown as a tall ground cover or shrub. It grows in zones 7 through 9 in full to partial sun and reaches heights between 4 and 6 feet tall.