What Herb Makes A Good Ground Cover?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:38 pm

Wondering how to quickly green up bare spots in the garden, but want more than just ornamental plants at the same time? Then you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled a comprehensive guide on the subject of herbs as ground cover.

Ground cover or cushion perennials are plants that fill bare spots between shrubs or in beds. They remain low and spread like a carpet. At the same time, they inhibit weed growth. This makes them excellent helpers in low-maintenance gardens. Moreover, you don’t have to wait long for a result, because ground covers are known for their rapid growth. If you also make sure that they are hardy, you will save yourself additional time. You invest time in your perfect garden design once and can enjoy it for years to come.

Why creeping herbs as ground cover?

What Herb Makes A Good Ground Cover?

Perennial herbs are particularly well suited as ground covers. In addition to the advantages of rapid growth, weed control and perenniality, creeping herbs are useful in cooking and medicine and have a wonderful fragrance. The mostly green plants are pretty to look at, and many of them can tolerate shadier spots and require little care. Find out which herbs are especially good, what they can be used for, and what location they prefer in the article below.

Which perennial herbs are best as ground covers?


What Herb Makes A Good Ground Cover?

Thyme spreads a pleasant fragrance that inevitably hits your nose as you walk by. Its intense flavor is part of many Mediterranean dishes. Use it, for example, as a seasoning for meat dishes, as an ingredient in homemade herb butter, in salads or dishes with tomatoes. Beyond its importance in Italian cuisine, thyme is an excellent natural remedy. It relieves coughs in colds and soothes the stomach. Its essential oils infused in the small leaves are also a popular remedy for skin blemishes. Due to its origin in the south of Europe, it grows very well even in lean, poor soils under great heat. A sunny location is therefore ideal, fertilizing the thyme plant hardly needs. The best time to plant it is from April to June, and it can be harvested between May and October. Between June and October, thyme blooms light pink to light purple, which also makes it an excellent ornamental plant.


What Herb Makes A Good Ground Cover?

Another important representative in Mediterranean cuisine is oregano or dost. Pizza and pasta dishes are unimaginable without it. In naturopathy, oregano is mainly used for gastrointestinal complaints and the Candida fungus. For this purpose, a tea is prepared from fresh oregano leaves and drunk in sips. It is preferably planted out between April and May, harvesting can be done all year round. Like other Mediterranean herbs, oregano needs sunny, warm locations with nutrient-poor soil. Because it grows very quickly and profusely, care should be taken to provide sufficient distance from other plants when planting.

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Creeping lilac

Creeping thyme, as its name suggests, belongs to the creeping herb genus and, like thyme, can be used for cooking or as a natural remedy. It grows only about 2 to 5 inches tall and spreads flat. In the flowering period from May to September, it bears light purple flowers. It is less aromatic than conventional thyme, so it is particularly suitable as an ornamental plant and dishes that require a milder flavor. As a wild herb, creeping thyme prefers lean, stony soils.


Woodruff is best known as a spice in desserts such as jelly or as an ingredient in punch. It is one of the wild herbs and requires a rather shady location with nutrient-rich soil. As a spring herb, it is only harvested between the beginning of March and the end of April. Its fragrance is particularly aromatic, which is why it is also called fragrant bedstraw. In order for the woodruff to survive the winter well, the plant should be covered with foliage before the first frost. In medicine, woodruff has also made a name for itself, especially in the relief of liver complaints and migraines. Despite its good properties, whether as a spice or as a remedy, the dosage must be done carefully. It contains coumarin, which can cause headaches if consumed excessively or too often.

Carpet Verbena

Carpet verbena is particularly tread-resistant and is therefore popular as a lawn substitute in hard-to-reach areas. During the summer months it blooms pale pink, but always remains accessible. It originates from Japan and grows particularly quickly. It requires very little care and can tolerate heat and moisture, and is also hardy. The perfect plant for those who have little time for their garden. In its original home, the carpet verbena is known as a medicinal herb. It can also be used in the kitchen, its taste is similar to oregano.

Creeping rosemary

Rosemary is probably one of the most famous spices since ancient times. Typical are the needle-like leaves, which are particularly aromatic in taste. It is indispensable as a seasoning in Mediterranean cuisine and has also established itself as a remedy in our latitudes. For example, it is used for circulatory disorders and to strengthen the circulation. Due to its relaxing, calming effect, it can also be used to help with nervous restlessness. Rosemary wine is considered to be an easy-to-prepare home remedy. For this, fresh rosemary leaves are mixed with wine and left for a few days. A few spoons of this mixture strengthen the circulation. Sandy, rather nutrient-poor soils in the sun are suitable as a location.

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Vervain is mainly an ornamental plant and will not be used as a spice. In medicine, however, it is very important and is used there against headaches and depression. The slightly sedative effect of vervain is also useful for menstrual cramps or restlessness. The herb is best taken in the form of tea. For this purpose, 2 grams of dried vervain per cup are sufficient, and no more than three cups should be drunk per day. Planted out verbena from April to June in semi-shaded places. The plant is hardy.


What Herb Makes A Good Ground Cover?

Typical of the nasturtium are the large, brilliant flowers that adorn the plants from May to October. It is these flowers that are most appreciated in the kitchen. As an ingredient in salads or edible decoration, they are wonderful. The blossoms also taste great when added to apple cider vinegar. The soil should be as sunny as possible, rich in nutrients and slightly moist. Sowing should be done between March and May, harvesting is done during the flowering period. In addition to use in the kitchen, nasturtium is also a popular remedy, which made it the medicinal plant of the year in 2013. It is antibacterial, which is why it is popularly used for urinary tract infections, bacterial infections and respiratory infections. Its mode of action is even similar to that of antibiotics.

Bach Tongue

The Bachbunge is also called Bach Speedwell. Its small, delicate blue flowers are particularly pretty to look at. It grows in very moist, permanently wet locations in the shade. The soil should be very rich in nutrients. It is particularly suitable as a border planting for ponds or small watercourses, as it has a purifying effect on the water and increases the water quality. It is hardy. Hildegard von Bingen recommended it as a medicinal plant against gout. Today it is known for its blood purifying and digestive effects. Bachbunge can be drunk as a juice, for which the leaves are processed directly. The reason for the effect are various bitter substances and the content of vitamin C. The leaves are also excellent as an addition to salad, giving it a slightly tart note.

Wild garlic

The fine, leeky smell of wild garlic can be smelled from afar. The herb, known primarily as a spice, is popular in the spring as a pesto, in cream cheese or salads. If you want to have wild garlic in your own garden, you should plant it between September and October in shady, moist and nutrient-rich locations. You can then harvest it from March to June. But wild garlic can do even more than just taste delicious. In naturopathy, the plant is considered digestive, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.


No matter what type of mint you plant, all require a moist, shady location. As a tea or an ingredient in cold drinks and desserts, mint is most popular for its fresh flavor. In addition to its use as a culinary herb, you can also take advantage of its effects as a medicinal plant. It has an analgesic and antispasmodic effect. In summer it has a cooling effect, which is why warm mint tea is drunk in particularly hot regions.

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Perennial herbs as treadable ground covers

If you have planted larger areas with perennial herbs that you want to use, thinking about the right arrangement of the herbs will pay off later. To make sure you can get to all the herbs at all times, the outer plants should be tread-resistant. Tread-resistant herbs as ground covers are also recommended for gardens where children play. Some also use these plants as a substitute for lawns in exposed areas to save themselves the hassle of mowing. Delicate herbs could easily be damaged and die by stepping on them, no matter how carefully. The first candidate we have already presented to you above, the carpet verbena. There you will also find a detailed description of possible uses and suitable locations. Another candidate, the sand thyme, is presented in the following paragraph:

Sand thyme

The sand thyme is a tread-resistant thyme species. It is used both in Mediterranean cuisine and as a remedy. It is mainly used as a tea. Like the common thyme, it prefers lean soil in sunny, warm locations. It has a particularly intense fragrance, and its purple flowers also make it a beautiful ornamental plant. It is often used for planting in pavement joints. It does not need to be mowed, making it a low-maintenance alternative to lawns. Sand thyme is hardy and belongs to the category of perennial herbs, but loses its leaves in the cold season. To prevent this, it can be covered with a fleece.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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