(File pix) Lily of the Valley.

YOU can transform the flat space in your garden into a rich tapestry of colours, textures and leaf shapes with ground-cover plants.

Groundcovers can fill an empty space in just a few months and you don’t have to spend too much time maintaining them once they have matured.

But just like any other plants, you will still need to water, weed and feed them.

These fast-growing plants can solve many landscape problems. They are good in controlling erosion and to cover a hillside or slope.

Before you start planting them, it is vital that you assess the conditions and the soil of the area where you want to plant the groundcovers.

It is good to research the soil to determine if it is sandy and dry, or wet and soggy.

You will also need to test the acidity of the soil and determine whether to raise or lower its pH level. Most garden soils have a pH between 5.5 and 8.0. If the PH is below 5.5, the soil is too acidic and you need to add ground limestone. If the PH is above 8.0, the soil is too alkaline for most vegetables and you need to add soil sulfur.

Based on pH, texture, and degree of shade, sun, and exposure, you can start choosing the plants for your garden.

Best, fast-growing ground-cover plants:

1. Moss Rose (Portulaca)

This pretty little plant with tiny colourful flowers of yellow, pink, red, orange and white will look stunning in any garden. It spreads densely so it is perfect if you are looking to create a huge flowerbed. Moss rose plants are very tolerant of poor conditions and dry soil. The less you maintain them the better they are.

2. Helianthemum

Also called “Sun Rose” or “Rock Rose”, this hardy perennial grows up to one feet tall. It blooms in shades of orange, pink, yellow, scarlet, or white in well-drained soil and full sun. This trouble-free plantmakes an excellent groundcover or a versatile addition to rockeries or hot, dry borders.

3. Sweet woodruff

Sweet woodruff is an excellent groundcover if you want to add fragrance to your garden. It is best planted in shady area, in moist but well-draining soil that is rich in organic materials from things like decomposing leaves and branches. The plant also grows well in dry soil.

Sweet woodruff performs best in average, well-drained acidic soil with a pH around 5.0.

4. Creeping Phlox

This groundcover has pleasant flowers that appear in an array of outstanding colours. This sturdy, low-maintenance plant spread fast and can be used in landscaping to hide the unsightly slope. You can also use it as a bordering plant around the flowerbeds.

5. Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is one of the easiest and best flowering groundcovers. As it grows, its roots spread and will eventually crowd out weeds and most other nearby plants. It has fragrant little bell-shaped flowers with long blooming period and grows well in shade. This is also an extremely tough plant and can grow in almost any type of soil or climate.

6. Roman Chamomile

Roman Chamomile adds beauty to a garden. It has small, daisy-like flowers with yellow centres and white petals as well as feathery leaves. Growing itis both useful and visually pleasing. You can maintain its compact form by cutting the stems back to inches from the ground after it blooms. Chamomile grows best in cool conditions and should be planted in part shade, but it will also grow in full sun. The soil should be dry. Chamomile plants are drought-tolerant and only need water during a prolonged drought.

7. Periwinkle (Vinca Minor)

This groundcover yields beautiful periwinkle blossoms that release a lovely scent. It grows fast so you may need to tend to it occasionally. It is a great option for your garden because it will grow strong in full sun or shade.

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