native ground cover new york

12 Native Ground Cover For New York Landscaping

In addition to preventing erosion, ground cover native plants are also commonly planted to add beauty to the scenery. Especially for plant lovers who live in urban areas like New York, growing ground cover in their gardens can provide its own satisfaction.

Moreover, some feature beautiful flowers and produce edible fruits for the keepers to enjoy. However, we understand that some of you are having difficulty choosing a great ground cover that is adaptable to the New York weather. But, don’t worry!

We have listed native ground cover for New York landscaping that you can try planting. Unlike other plants that need more attention to grow properly, they are all low-maintenance.

Therefore, it is easier for a newbie in plantings. Let’s dig in!

1. Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

True to its name, Bearberry is a ground cover plant that produces red cherry berries favored by local wildlife, particularly bears. This low-growing perennial plant also features dark green leaves that hide its berries during the growing season in early summer.

native ground cover new york
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

In the very first year of growing, Bearberry will grow slowly before it belongs to fast-growing ground covers once established. Although it is a sun-loving plant, you can still plant it under dappled shade on sandy soils.

Amazingly, Bearberry tolerates poor soils, making it an easy-to-go plant for landscaping.

2. Canada Windflower (Anemone canadensis)

Maybe you are a little familiar with the appearance of the Canada Windflower because its solid white flowers are similar to Bush Anemone. However, the characteristics of these two native plants are different.

Canada Windflower grows short with whorl foliage, while Bush Anemone has dark green, lance-shaped leaves.

native ground cover new york
Canada Windflower (Anemone canadensis)

Moreover, this vigorous plant is very adaptable to various growing conditions. Nevertheless, it prefers part shade to shade light and moist soils. Yet, it can quickly spread aggressively when the growing location is too favorable.

Therefore, dividing plants in the fall is necessary to avoid clumpiness.

3. Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia Willd)

Stunning blue-violet flowers are the main characteristic of Viola sororia. Uniquely, the flowers are edible, so they are often processed into candies and jellies. Meanwhile, the heart-shaped green leaves are high in vitamins A and C; thus, it is often added to salads.

Thanks to these wonderful qualities, Common Blue Violet is more worth it and attractive as a garden groundcover.

native ground cover new york
Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia Willd)

To support its growth, plant it in a location that has humus-rich and well-drained soil under light shade to shade conditions. In addition, it is a clay tolerant native plant, so it doesn’t matter if the ground in your environment has this character.

In addition, pruning is needed to prolong the blooming season.

4. Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)

Thanks to its wide-spreading habit, Juniperus horizontalis is one of the native evergreen shrubs’ ideals for ground cover. Despite not producing flowers and fruits, this native plant offers you another beauty of dark green needle-like foliage that will refresh any place it grows.

In addition, people also grow Creeping Juniper to suppress the growth of common lawn weeds.

native ground cover new york
Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)

As a native evergreen shrub, Juniperus horizontalis grows through all seasons, even in winter. It can add a great interest in your front yard, especially when covered in thin snow, creating a magical winter vibe right in front of you.

Other than that, it quickly adapts to various kinds of soils, including poor and dry soils. It also does not need pruning, proving itself as an easy native ground cover for New York landscaping.

5. Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

Do you prefer to have a flowering ground cover over green foliage types? Then, Creeping Phlox is your definite choice! This native species produces its exquisite bright purple flowers in the late summer that will surely add seasonal beauty to your garden.

Plus, the semi-evergreen green oval leaves provide an eye-catching color combination.

native ground cover new york
Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

Furthermore, it is one of the low-maintenance plants that like to get full sun exposure or part shade. Once established, Creeping Phlox is also drought-tolerant even though it prefers rich-organic, acidic soil.

Aside from being a ground cover, you can also plant it as border fronts or a collection of plants in cottage gardens.

6. Eastern Hay Scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula)

No wonder this type of fern is named Eastern Hay Scented Fern because its blade emits sweet scents when crushed. In addition, it bears medium, hairy surface fronds whose size is similar to the length of a human foot.

Although not flowering, Eastern Hay Scented Fern is a good cover because it offers a charming green atmosphere all year-round.

native ground cover new york
Eastern Hay Scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula)

Speaking of its growing conditions, it is one of the evergreen ferns that will not trouble you for the planting process since you only need to prepare rich-moist soil.

However, instead of full sun, it prefers partial shade to shade gardens to grow appropriately.

7. Eastern Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens L.)

Aside from Eastern Teaberry, Gaultheria procumbens is also known as Wintergreen because it keeps the landscape alive even in cold temperatures. As the name bears, it produces sweet edible berries along with aromatic mint leaves.

For that reason, it is safe saying that Eastern Teaberry is a worth native ground cover to plant for New York landscaping.

native ground cover new york
Eastern Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens L.)

Knowing it thrives best in winter or cold weather, this evergreen plant prefers shaded areas over the full sun. It will also thrive in organically rich, acidic, evenly moist soil yet must be well-drained.

Furthermore, Eastern Teaberry is highly resistant to diseases and pests; thus, you do not need to spend extra on maintenance. Perhaps these cool qualities earned the species the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.

8. Field Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta)

There are reasons behind the given name of Antennaria neglecta or Field Pussytoes. It features creamy developed stamens on its flowers that resemble insect antennae.

Meanwhile, at the same time, they form a unique cat paw. Moreover, despite no scientific research underlying its use as natural medicines, the Field Pussytoes plant has historically been used to treat bruises, coughs, even as a post-childbirth tonic.

Field Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta)
Field Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta),(Image credit: robert strusievicz/Flickr)

If you are curious about planting or identifying this native ground cover, you are welcome to plant them in your garden. Just make sure you have spots with full sun and dry, clay or loam type of soil.

And since it does not require frequent watering, it should not be any problem for you to take care of this plant.

9. Heartleaf Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)

It is a clump-forming perennial herb that produces pink-tipped flower buds on top of star-shaped white blooms erect exquisitely beautiful from between the leaves.

The foliages are heart-shaped, initially green with burgundy veins in the spring and fall, then turn reddish-bronze in the winter. Like Eastern Teaberry, Heartleaf Foamflower also received the same award from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Heartleaf Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
Heartleaf Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Similar to other mentioned native plants for New York ground cover, it requires little to no maintenance. It tolerates many soil pH, from acidic to alkaline. Furthermore, it copes well to grow on wide types of soils as long as it is well-drained soil.

Additionally, this ground cover loves partial sun to shade light conditions and requires only average water requirements.

10. Heart-leaved Meadow Parsnip (Zizia aptera)

Eye-catching clusters of tiny yellow flowers that boast up from between the dark green leaves are the hallmark of Heart-leaved Meadow Parsnip. They attract birds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators because they produce nectars and pollens for them to consume.

In addition, this native perennial herb also has dark green heart-shaped leaves that create an excellent contrast with the flat-topped flower heads.

10. Heart-leaved Meadow Parsnip (Zizia aptera)
Heart-leaved Meadow Parsnip (Zizia aptera),(Image credit: natural communities native plants/Pinterest)

Besides being a stunning native ground cover for New York landscaping, Heart-leaved Meadow Parsnip also belongs to a low-maintenance plant category. It is a sun-loving, shade-tolerant ground cover that you can plant in dry to moist but well-drained soils, making it easier for you to choose a planting location.

In addition, this New York native perennial herb is also generally resistant to severe pests and diseases.

11. New York Fern (Thelypteris noveboracensis)

Like its namesake, New York Fern is a native deciduous fern from New York with a fine texture thanks to the twice-cut of the thin foliage. The fronds are yellow-green that taper from the bottom to the top.

Moreover, it consists of around 20 pinnae which form small clusters from their subleaflets.

11. New York Fern (Thelypteris noveboracensis)
New York Fern (Thelypteris noveboracensis)

Because of its fast multiplication, New York fern can form dense foliage for ground cover. Hence, cutting off faded fronds is necessary. Although it favors humus-rich, moist soil and will not widely spread, this shade lover’s fern can withstand dry conditions.

12. White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata)

Eurybia divaricata or White Wood Aster is a bushy perennial herb that grows beautiful purplish-white daisies that will beautify the New York landscape.

They bloom in late summer to late autumn, attracting birds to visit the expanse of blooming flowers covering their green leaves.

12. White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata)
White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata),(Image credit: lucy conochie,shop wildseedproject net/Pinterest)

Since it is a low-maintenance native ground cover plant, it does not need too many treatments to grow. White Wood Aster favors relatively fertile, dry to medium, well-drained soils under partial to full shade locations.

It is also drought-tolerant; thus, the water requirement is low. Nonetheless, it can turn into aggressive mode though in dry conditions.

Therefore, periodic pruning after flowering is recommended.


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the easiest ground cover to grow?

The 12 native ground covers for New York landscaping from our list are some of the easiest, low-maintenance plants for ground covers. They do not need too many treatments to survive.

For example, White Wood Aster is drought-tolerant, requiring low water only. Then, we have Heart-leaved Meadow Parsnip that thrives in both sun and shade.

And also, Creeping Juniper does not need pruning and tolerates any soil types.

Does ground cover thrive in shade?

Some ground cover plants thrive well under partial shade, shade, or even full shade.

Some examples of native ground cover for new york landscaping from our list that can be grown under shade lighting conditions are Bearberry, Canada Windflower, Common Blue Violet, Eastern Hay Scented Fern, Eastern Teaberry, New York Fern, and White Wood Aster. 

The Virginia Creeper and English Ivy are other examples of ground cover plants that thrive in full shade or full sun.

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