ground cover

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ground cover

a. dense low herbaceous plants and shrubs that grow over the surface of the ground, esp, in a forest, preventing soil erosion or, in a garden, stifling weeds
b. (as modifier): ground-cover plants
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

Ground cover

Low-growing plants often grown to keep soil from eroding and to discourage weeds.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ground Cover


in horticulture, low herbaceous and usually procumbent plants, 5–15 cm tall, with variously colored and patterned foliage, used to create ornamental patterns on the ground. Some ground covers consist of various species of Alternathera, Antennaria, Artemisia, Achyranthes, Helichrysum, Gnaphalium, Iresine, Coleus, Mesembryanthemum, Pelargonium, Pyrethrum, Santolina, Sedum, Sempervivum, Spergula, Stachys, Stellaria, Festuca, Cineraria, and Echeveria. Low flowering plants are also used, including lobelia, heliotrope, portulaca, ageratum, fuschia, and Begonia semperflorens.

The first step in creating ground cover is to draw an outline laying out how the plants of the desired colors are to be arranged. The cultivation of ground covers is labor intensive. The plants are propagated primarily by cuttings, which are rooted in green-houses in February and then transplanted into hotbeds. The care of ground covers includes watering, pruning and trimming, and regular weeding.

Because of changes in fashion in ornamental horticulture and the great expenditure of labor and materials, ground covers have lost their popularity and are seldom used. Gardens and parks are landscaped with groups of low spreading perennials which have brightly colored or patterned foliage and can survive the winter in the ground. Such perennials include arabis, aubrietia, speed-well, saxifrage, sedum, sempervivum; and species of Sagina.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

ground cover

[′grau̇nd ‚kəv·ər]
Prostrate or low plants that cover the ground instead of grass.
All forest plants except trees.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

ground cover

1. Low planting, often maintenance-free, used in masses.
2. A thin plastic sheet, or the like, spread over the ground in a crawl space to minimize moisture penetration.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
A great use for ground-cover planting is on a steep slope, where access for weeding, watering, feeding and pruning is difficult or even dangerous.
Choose a ground-cover plant such as Cotoneaster horizontalis and you'll be able to enjoy really attractive berries as well as the neat foliage.
The best ground-cover plants are evergreen, relatively low with a spreading habit, and dense enough growth to deter weed germination and growth.
Where ground-cover plants are to play a prominent role in the overall design of the flowerbed or border, they should have attractive foliage, a pleasing growth habit and, ideally, an annual display of flowers.
Some like shade, others hot, dry conditions, but there are ground-cover plants that will thrive in most conditions.
While suited to drier conditions, all three are general purpose ground-cover, growing just about anywhere but in time may become invasive like the weeds they are supposed to suppress.
Sunny banks require a different plant selection although the following can also be used throughout the garden as ground-cover. The ubiquitous Rose of Sharon (Hypericum calycinum) is a suckering semi-evergreen shrub with bright yellow flowers in mid-late summer.