When designing a landscape, you may not want a continuum of pavement covering a large area of your landscape. By blending low-growing greenery between paving stones, your design will be more naturalistic. The greenery will help to soften your outdoor patio space or add an attractive element to a pathway.
It can be a challenge for groundcover plants to grow between pavers or flagstones, but certain plants are perfect for this purpose. Plants that work best spread quickly, stay close to the ground and are resilient. They reduce weeds growing through openings. They are tough and can handle being stepped on.
When choosing a plant, look for short plants that won’t obstruct the path or walkway and that can grow under your soil and light conditions. Here are 10 groundcover plants that make good fillers between paving stones:
Blue star creeper – This ground cover bears starry, pale-blue flowers atop a bed of very flat, light-green leaves. Although the flowers look delicate, the blue star creeper is a tough plant that handles foot traffic well. It blooms for most of the year and it can grow in full sun to partial shade conditions.
Creeping thyme – Perfect for sunny paths and tough under foot, thyme has many varieties to choose from, grows in difficult soils from sandy to heavy clay, and tolerates inconsistent watering. The herb bears tiny, rounded fragrant leaves in shades of dark green, lime green, and even gold with a white edging. Most varieties form low-growing mats that blend nicely when planted between stone pavers. A good variety for paths, Elfin thyme, is a miniature version of creeping thyme that grows 1 to 2 inches tall. Creeping “Sunshine” speedwell is also a good choice that blooms with tiny purple flowers.
Dianthus – Extremely hardy, this low-growing, clumping plant makes a good ground cover between pavers for both sunny and partially sunny locations. Depending on the variety, plants are smothered with pink, red, white, or lavender flowers. The flowers grow 3 to 6 inches in height.
Dichondra – Also called Carolina Ponysfoot, this plant grows well in the south in areas of sun to partial shade and is heat resistant. Its lime-green, round leaves spread to fill in spaces.
Dymondia – Extremely flat with slender, oval leaves that are two-tone (green on top and gray underneath), Dymondia has a tidy appearance, uniform height and low watering needs. It occasionally bears tiny, flat yellow daisy flowers. Large areas require a regular watering, fertilizer and care, so this plant is best planted in smaller paved sections of your walkway or patio.
Green carpet – Popular in landscaping design, this ground cover forms a mass of dense, green leaves. It is low-growing and only reaches a height of 3 inches. It is extremely drought tolerant and does great in heavy foot traffic areas.
Irish moss – With a soft, spongy texture, Irish moss grows best in moist, shady areas and keeps its short, compact appearance even when regularly stepped on. It forms a dense carpet of miniature, velvety leaves. You’d be surprised how little soil is required for the moss to grow. Varieties such as woodsy Plagiomnium or star moss are both hardy in our zone.
Mondo grass – When you want to keep a green carpet year-round to fill in paving spaces, the dwarf mondo grass variety is a good choice. It grows in full to partial shade. This might be a simple solution in your landscape so you can stay on the same schedule as your grass lawn for watering and trimming.
Small Lobelia – The blue species are the most popular because the flowers are showy and captivating. The small ground cover varieties usually grow about 1 inch in height with white or blue flowers. Be careful not to choose larger lobelia varieties that can grow as high as 3 feet. These plants are good for shady areas and do not do well in hot, dry areas.
Stonecrop/Sedum – Many of the flattest stonecrops form mats along the ground with succulent stems. They easily fill in the gaps around paving stones. There are several smaller varieties that grow a few inches in height. Goldmoss Sedum is a dainty succulent perennial that bears lime-green leaves and yellow, springtime flowers. Dragon’s Blood Sedum has small, succulent leaves that are a dark, purple-red.
Wire vine – A fast-spreading perennial groundcover, wire vine forms a thick mat of tiny, round, glossy leaves. It grows in full sun to partial shade and is drought tolerant.
Groundcover plants are much prettier to fill the spaces between pavers and flagstones compared to weeds. The type of plant you choose has a lot to do with your personal taste and whether you want greenery, flowers, compact, or creeping. Plants can also be grown in the cracks of a stone retaining wall.
Although we don’t sell the plants, Fieldstone Center has a wide selection of pavers and flagstones. When you are ready to install your landscape design, contact us at 770.385.7708.