Organic Gardening

11 No Mow Ground Cover Plants To Replace Your Grass With

Figuring out what kind of plant you want to add to your garden and/or landscape can be challenging. After all, there are so many great options! 

One of the best options is to go with ground-cover plants. Because many of these grow prolifically, they can easily spread across your lawn, filling up any empty space.

Creeping Thyme Ground Cover
Creeping Thyme Ground Cover

I love adding ground covers to my yard and garden, they cut down on maintenance time and can even add a pop of color to an otherwise sea of green.  

If you want to know more about which ground cover plants you should add to your lawn, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top 11 no-mow ground cover plants to replace your grass with. 

1. Creeping Charlie  (Glechoma hederacea)

Creeping Charlie
Creeping Charlie

Are you looking to add a little greenery to your garden and/or flower box? If so, you may want to add some Creeping Charlie! This fast-growing plant is very low-maintenance. 

Though it is traditionally very resistant to plant diseases and pests, it may suffer from bacterial disease if the soil gets too wet. This is because Creeping Charlie prefers damp soil, but not soaked. 

Keep in mind that this is a very aggressive plant, so it does have the potential of killing other flowers in your garden. However, as long as you keep it pruned and in check, you should be fine. Check out this helpful guide:

Botanical Name:  Glechoma hederacea
Growth Rate:  4-6” tall
Native Range:  Europe and Asia
Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Dangers: Sometimes toxic to horses
Soil Needs:  Fertile, well-draining soil
Exposure: Partial sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Not applicable
Propagation: Place a cutting directly on the soil and watch it take off!
Fertilizer: Every 1-2 months
Pests: Not applicable
Blooming Period: Mid-spring to early summer
Pruning: Prune as needed 
Water needs: Every 3-4 days
Creeping Charlie Growing Guide Chart

2.  Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum)

Creeping thyme
Creeping thyme

Though they may sound similar, Creeping Thyme is nothing like Creeping Charlie. In fact, they’re two completely different plants (though they are a part of the same family). 

Generally, Creeping Thyme is pretty easy to take care of as long as it has access to either a rocky or sandy, well-draining soil and at least six hours of full sunshine per day. 

Though it can go a little over a week in between waterings, it can’t do so if the temperatures are too extreme. 

Check out the below care guide for more information on how often to water your Creeping Thyme plant during the summer season. 

Botanical Name:  Thymus serpyllum
Growth Rate:  2-6” tall and 6-18” wide
Native Range:  Europe
Hardiness Zones: 2-9
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Well-draining, rocky soil
Exposure: At least 6 hours of full sun per day
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Root rot
Propagation: Divide the plant in late spring and early summer; place the cutting in a small pot with soil and at least 6 hours of full sun per day until new growth emerges.
Fertilizer: Not needed, however, can be applied at the beginning of the growing season
Pests: Spider Mites
Blooming Period: Summer
Pruning: Remove oldest stems at the end of each growing season
Water needs: Water every 10 days; increase to once a day if exposed to extremely hot temperatures. 
Creeping Thyme Growing Guide Chart

3. Flowering Cushion Moss (Leucobryum glaucum)

Flowering Cushion Moss
Flowering Cushion Moss

Flowering Cushion Moss is the perfect addition to any garden or flower box, as it adds a unique texture and lots of lush greenery. 

However, what makes Flowering Cushion Moss such a versatile plant is that they do great in a terrarium. 

If planting them in a terrarium, be sure that it has access to bright, indirect light. Also, when it comes to watering it, make sure the soil is consistently moist. 

This plant can easily fall victim to overwatering, which is why you’ll want to plant it in a well-draining soil. 

Because of how easy it is to care for, the Flowering Cushion Moss makes a perfect gift for plant lovers. Here’s what you need to know about taking care of it: 

Botanical Name:  Leucobryum glaucum
Growth Rate:  1-5” tall 
Native Range:  Europe and North America
Hardiness Zones: 3-11
Dangers: Can cause skin irritation when in contact with it
Soil Needs:  Sandy, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Bright indirect light
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Sooty mold
Propagation: Not applicable
Fertilizer: Not applicable
Pests: Lace bugs and Longhorn beetles
Blooming Period: Early-mid spring
Pruning: If planted outdoors, prune regularly to avoid overgrowth. Avoid removing too much. Instead, prune less than what you think you need to. 
Water needs: Water once every 2 weeks; Keep soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering
Flowering Cushion Moss Growing Guide Chart

4. Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense)

Red Clover
Red Clover

Of all the weeds with pink flowers to add to your garden, Red Clover is one of the prettiest. It has gorgeous bright pink flowers that will add a ton of vibrancy to wherever they’re planted. 

Be warned that this plant can easily grow up to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, so to keep it contained, be sure to regularly prune it anytime you spot damaged or diseased leaves. 

This will not only help prevent stem rot and powdery mildew from spreading to other parts of the plant but will stop it from taking over your garden. 

Here’s a helpful overview of how to take care of Red Clover: 

Botanical Name:  Trifolium pratense
Growth Rate:  2’ tall and 2’ wide
Native Range:  Asia and Europe
Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Dangers: Toxic to animals; toxic to humans if ingested in large amounts
Soil Needs:  Well-draining, moist, loamy soil
Exposure: 6 hours of full sun per day, but can tolerate partially shade conditions
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance 
Diseases: Stem rot and powdery mildew
Propagation: Propagate via cuttings in either early spring or summer
Fertilizer: Apply fertilizer during the fall and winter before new growth emerges
Pests: Aphids
Blooming Period: Spring – fall 
Pruning: Remove dead or diseased leaves during the growing season
Water needs: Water every 9 days if not receiving direct sunlight; otherwise drought-resistance
Red Clover Growing Guide Chart

5. Stonecrop Succulents (Sedum Diffusum)

Stonecrop Succulents
Stonecrop Succulents

If you’re anything like me, then you’re a sucker for succulents because they’re easy to care for. Stonecrop Succulents are no different!

These plants have thick, star-shaped leaves that add texture and character to your garden. However, they will also work great as household plants. 

To keep it going indoors, make sure you’re only watering it when the soil is completely dry. Watering it too much can lead to root rot, which will quickly kill it. 

Check out the chart below for more details:

Botanical Name:  Sedum Diffusum
Growth Rate:  Up to 7” tall
Native Range:  Mexico
Hardiness Zones: 3-11
Dangers: Mildly toxic to both household pets and children
Soil Needs:  Well-draining soil 
Exposure: Full sun and partial shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Root rot, powdery mildew, and Rhizoctonia solani
Propagation: Divide plant in either spring or late summer; lay your cuttings in either water or soil 
Fertilizer: Apply fertilizer in the spring
Pests: Slugs
Blooming Period: Late spring – early summer
Pruning: As needed to control the spread
Water needs: Water when the soil is completely dry; avoid watering in the winter if the plant is placed outdoors
Stonecrop Succulents Growing Guide Chart

6. Dwarf Crested Iris (Iris cristata)

Dwarf Crested Iris
Dwarf Crested Iris

The flowers produced on this plant are gorgeous. When in bloom, they produce bright purple flowers that make a statement in any garden. 

Relatively easy to care for, these plants do well in partial sun and only need to be fertilized when first planted before new growth emerges. 

Pruning is done on an as-needed basis to remove dead or dying leaves, but otherwise, you can let this plant do its thing! 

Here’s what you need to know about the Dwarf Crested Iris: 

Botanical Name:  Iris cristata
Growth Rate:  3-6” tall
Native Range:  North America
Hardiness Zones: 3-8
Dangers: Minor skin irritation 
Soil Needs:  Rich, well-draining soils
Exposure: Partial sun or full shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Brown spot and flower withering
Propagation: Divide in early fall after the leaves have yellowed
Fertilizer: Apply 5-10-5 NPK ferilizer when planted to encourage new growth
Pests: Slugs and snails
Blooming Period: Early spring to mid-summer
Pruning: As needed to remove dead leaves 
Water needs: Water to keep soil moist
Dwarf Crested Iris Growing Guide Chart

7. Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

Creeping
Creeping Phlox

Did you know that planting Creeping Phlox can attract butterflies to your garden? If you’re growing your own fruits and veggies, this is a great plant to accompany them, as it attracts common pollinators. 

Pruning this plant is really necessary, outside of just keeping everything tidy. Keep in mind that without pruning, they will spread rapidly. 

So if you prefer for your Creeping Phlox not to take over a large portion of your lawn or garden, it’s best to trim it once the plant is fully mature. This will take about two years. 

If you don’t mind it spreading everywhere, these weeds with purple flowers can add a beautiful aesthetic to your property. It will look very charming! Here’s how to take care of Creeping Phlox:  

Botanical Name:  Phlox stolonifera
Growth Rate:  3-8” tall
Native Range:  The Appalachian Mountainds
Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Full sun and partial shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Rust, powdery mildew, and southern blight
Propagation: Divide your plant in early fall 
Fertilizer: Apply any type of fertilizer during mid-spring to mid-summer when flower buds appear
Pests: Slugs and spider mites
Blooming Period: mid-spring to early fall 
Pruning: As needed to keep plant tidy
Water needs: Apply 1” of water to plant per week during the growing season
Creeping Phlox Growing Guide Chart

8. Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Sweet Woodruff
Sweet Woodruff

Though Sweet Woodruff can survive and thrive in any type of soil condition, it tends to do better when planted in rich, moist soil. If planted in drier soil, the plant won’t be as lush. The same applies to sun exposure, as Sweet Woodruff prefers partial to full shade. 

Like other plants mentioned on this list, pruning Sweet Woodruff isn’t necessary unless you want to keep it contained to one area. 

Likewise, if you think your Sweet Woodruff is getting too out of hand, stop watering it. This will help curb its spread. 

Here’s what you need to know about growing Galium odoratum: 

Botanical Name:  Galium odoratum
Growth Rate:  1’ tall and up to 8” wide
Native Range:  Europe, Asia, and the Middle East
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Moist, well-draining soil, but can thrive in any type of soil conditions
Exposure: Partial to full shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Neoerysiphe galii
Propagation: Divide plants during the spring and plant directly into the soil 
Fertilizer: Not required
Pests: Not applicable
Blooming Period: Late spring – early summer
Pruning: Not necessary
Water needs: Water regularly to keep soil moist 
Sweet Woodruff Growing Guide Chart

9. Bugleherb – Carpet Weed (Ajuga reptans)

Bugleherb
Bugleherb

This plant, which is also commonly referred to as Bugleweed or Carpenter’s Herb, is very easy to take care of, not requiring fertilizer or pruning. 

It’s also pretty pest resistant, so you won’t have to worry about bugs invading your garden. 

When in bloom, these plants have bright blue or purple flowers. Here’s what you need to know about taking care of them: 

Botanical Name:  Ajuga reptans
Growth Rate:  4-8” tall
Native Range:  Europe
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Dangers: Toxic, if ingested
Soil Needs:  Moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Partial shade or full sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Crown rot
Propagation: Divide plant either in early spring or fall 
Fertilizer: Not applicable
Pests: Not applicable
Blooming Period: May-June
Pruning: Not required
Water needs: Apply 1” of water week during the summer, then as needed to keep the soil moist throughout the rest of the year
Bugleherb Growing Guide Chart

10. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Creeping Jenny
Creeping Jenny

Aside from having a slightly offputting name, Creeping Jenny is not actually creepy. In fact, it’s actually kind of pretty with its bright green leaves and yellow flowers. However, how these develop depends on the type of sun exposure the plant receives. 

“Creeping Jenny can be used in containers, hanging baskets, and rock walls, or as a ground cover only where invasive spread is not a concern. It is not a good choice for borders or near lawns as it spreads too aggressively and is difficult to control.” 

NC State University

For example, a Creeping Jenny left out in partial shade will be more of a chartreuse hue, whereas, in full sun, it’ll be bright, golden yellow. This plant is also very hardy and can survive various weather temperatures, including harsh winters. 

Though it can be considered an invasive weed, there are many things you can do with it. 

This is why regular pruning is necessary, as it will help keep the plant at bay. 

Here’s more info to get you started on owning and growing these weeds with yellow flowers: 

Botanical Name:  Lysimachia nummularia
Growth Rate:  4-8” tall
Native Range:  Europe and Asia
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Well-draining loamy soil 
Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Leaf spots and rust
Propagation: Self-seeds, but you can plant cuttings to propagate it sooner
Fertilizer: Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer in early spring
Pests: Not applicable
Blooming Period: Summer
Pruning: Remove dead stems in late fall, before winter
Water needs: Water approximately every 9 days when planted in partial shade
Creeping Jenny Growing Guide Chart

11. Dwarf Mondo Grass – Snakes Beard (Ophiopogon japonicus)

Dwarf Mondo Grass
Dwarf Mondo Grass

Dwarf Mondo Grass, which is native to Asia, is an easy no-mow ground cover plant. It doesn’t require a ton of maintenance outside of applying a 10-10-10 fertilizer every three months during the growing season and water once approximately every two weeks. 

This kind of plant does great in rock gardens or when used as edging. Check out the guide below for insight into how to care for Dwarf Mondo Grass: 

Botanical Name:  Ophiopogon japonicus
Growth Rate:  3-4” tall, up to 1’ wide
Native Range:  Japan, China, Vietnam, and India
Hardiness Zones: 6-10
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Well-draining soil 
Exposure: Partial sun to full shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Root rot, Anthracnose
Propagation: Divide in early spring or fall 
Fertilizer: Fertilize once every 3 months during the growing season
Pests: Slugs and snails
Blooming Period: Summer
Pruning: Not required
Water needs: Water every 10-14 days; stop watering during the winter when the plant stops growing
Dwarf Mondo Grass Growing Guide Chart

Final thoughts

The plants listed here are great for covering large areas of your lawn or garden. Plus, all of them are relatively easy to care for, meaning less work for you!

Whether you want to add purple, yellow, or white flowers to your landscape, all of these are excellent options. I hope this guide provided you with some helpful information about no-mow ground cover plants. 



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