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Groundcovers for Hot, Sunny Areas

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Groundcovers that can survive in hot, sunny spots are especially useful. Few plants can thrive in hot, sunny conditions. Groundcovers for hot, sunny areas are practical plants that can solve a common landscape problem.

Plants that are native to the Mediterranean are well-adapted to growing and thriving in hot, sunny, and often dry soil. Many of the groundcovers listed here can survive in extreme heat, drought, and poor soil.

Perhaps the most important factor in establishing a ground cover in a hot and dry spot is soil preparation. While groundcovers to grow in hot, sunny spots will thrive once established, it is important to set these plants in planting holes rich in organic matter that can hold moisture while roots become established.

When planting groundcovers dig to a depth of at least 8 inches (20cm) and remove all stones and debris, Then mix in aged compost or commercial organic planting mix and moisten the soil. Set new groundcover plants in place on a cool or cloudy day when possible. Most of the groundcover plants listed here will become established in 8 to 12 weeks.

Dwarf blue fescue, Festuca glauca
Dwarf blue fescue, Festuca glauca

Groundcovers for Hot, Sunny Areas

Common NameBotanical NameZones
ArtemisiaArtemisia stelleriana3-9
Basket-of-goldAurinia saxatilis4-8
Bath’s pinkDianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Bath’s Pink’4-9
Bearberry cotoneasterCotoneaster dammeri5-9
Blue starAmsonia tabermaemontana3-9
Bog rosemaryAndromeda polifolia2-6
CatmintNepeta x faassenii4-8
Dwarf blue fescueFestuca glauca4-9
Evergreen candytuftIberis semperevirens4-8


Lily turf, Liriope muscari
Lily turf, Liriope muscari
Common NameBotanical NameZones
GermanderTeucrium prostratum4-9
Ice plant, hardyDelosperma nubigenum6-9
Hens and chicksSempervivum tectorum4-10
Junipers, low typesJuniperus spp.Varies
Lily turfLiriope muscari7-10
Mountain sandwortArenaria montana3-6
Phlox, mossPhlox subulata2-9
Prostrate RosemaryRosmarinus officinalis ‘Irene’7-10
Rock roseHelianthemum nummularium5-8
Sea pink, Armeria maritima
Sea pink, Armeria maritima
Common NameBotanical NameZones
Spring cinquefoilPotentilla neumannii4-8
Sea thriftArmeria maritima3-8
Sedum, dragon’s bloodSedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’3-8
StonecropSedum spectabile3-10
Thyme, creeping typesThymus spp.5-9
Veronica, low typesVeronica spp.Varies
Wall rockcressArabis caucasica3-7

Also of interest:

Groundcovers in Garden Design

Groundcovers for Shade

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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