Short Perennials: Showy Flowering Ground Covers
Creeping Phlox Plants
Phlox subulata is truly one of the gifts of the spring season. Treat this short perennial as a "living blanket" and use it to carpet a trouble spot on your property (perhaps the face of a hill subject to erosion). It needs sunshine but also will brighten the area where you grow it with its cheerful spring blossoms.
Candytuft: Brilliant-White Perennial Flowers
We often speak of "white flowers" as if they were all the same, but such is not truly the case at all. As with any other color, there are different shades of white. For example, there are off-white flowers and blossoms that are an odd amalgam of light green and white. But if you're looking for brilliance in a white flower, the short perennial...
Purple Ice Plant
Purple ice plant is reasonably hardy but it is essential to give it good drainage. If you garden in the North and wish to push the envelope by growing this short perennial in your landscaping, I suggest supplying it with a favorable microclimate. The beauty of its blossoms and interesting leaves make it worth the effort.
Yellow alyssum (Aurinia saxatilis) likes sun and is drought-tolerant, making it suitable for rock gardens and the like. If you have a retaining wall in your landscaping, consider planting Aurinia saxatilis along the top of the wall, letting it cascade down the structure, thereby softening the sharp edges of the hardscape feature.
Perennials for Rock Gardens: Snow-In-Summer
The picturesquely named short perennials called "snow-in-summer" can thrive in dry, sunny areas (although they're not crazy about prolonged periods of excessive heat, so in the South you may wish to grow them in partial sun) and consequently are often used in rock gardens bathed in sunshine. They derive their name from their tightly-packed white...
Spotted Dead Nettles
Why would you wish to grow something with "dead" in its name? Well, first of all, there's nothing really dead about them; I explain the origin of this curious name (also written "deadnettle") in my article. More importantly, this short perennial ground cover has a silver color in its leaves that makes it pretty even when not in bloom.
The name "dead nettle" (see entry above) may leave you scratching your head, but there is no such difficulty with this aptly-named plant. Chinese lanterns bear wonderfully whimsical pods used in Halloween crafts (due to their orange color) and dried flower arrangements. But growing them poses some challenges; I discuss solutions in my article.
Yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon) can take quite a bit of shade. These short perennials are ground covers that bear not only bright blooms, but also attractive leaves. Does all of that sound good? But wait! Before growing yellow archangel, check with your county extension to see if it is invasive in your region.