Upholstery plants for your garden


The garden designs are endless. Starting from the intrinsic variations of each garden, such as climatic zones, orography, type of soil, size of the garden, etc. the possibilities regarding the available ornamental flora are endless. If we have a garden with a lot of tree lush, the cover plants must be tolerant to the shade. We propose 5 examples. 

When we have trees in a garden, one of the most difficult areas to plant grass is right around the foot of the tree or in areas where shrubs dominate. If you have a considerable number of trees, it is common to have bald patches around the trunks without the grass growing properly.

To solve this situation, nature has everything and among the hundreds of thousands of plants that exist, there is an ideal group for these situations. The deoniminated carpeting plants. They are creeping plants that grow wide and not so high. Many of them are very rustic and support difficult soils, shady areas and fit perfectly into the gardener dilemma that we are considering today.


In general, they are places where the depth of the soil is somewhat limited. We have to avoid the roots of the tree. The humidity and freshness is greater than in other parts of the garden due to the shade provided by the tree or shrub. Therefore, we need carpet plants with the following characteristics:

  • Plants that are content with a wide range of soils (the effort to make them grow should be minimal).
  • They must grow in moist, cool soils.
  • Its root system should be somewhat superficial (so as not to compete with the roots of the tree).
  • They must tolerate shady or semi-shady situations.

There go our five plants.


A plant that likes to protect itself from the sun. It supports them if the soil is kept moist and cool. If, in addition to a fresh soil, the environment is semi-shade or shade, comfrey maintains its foliage all year round, being a wonderful upholstery. Its blue herringbone flowers rise above the upholstered foliage during spring and summer, dressing the foot of the tree. It is advisable to clamp the terminal shoots of the first years to favor branching and populate the area to be upholstered as soon as possible. It is not excessively demanding on soils. In addition, the comfrey extractIt is used to make natural treatments for our garden plants. Together with the nettle extract they help to strengthen the garden crops against certain pests among other things. For all this, Comfrey becomes our first choice as a carpet plant.

Fuente: perennialconnection.org


Our second example of covering plants for the foot of the trees we have this vivacious geranium that manages to populate it with efficiency, great vigor. They tolerate very normal soils and maintain green all year round. Its lilac-pink flowers will appear from mid-spring to mid-summer. They tolerate semi-shade well. The shadow somewhat less although we will not have too many problems.

Geranium macrorrhizum
Fuente: commons.wikimedia.org


Known as Pachysandra, we have chosen this upholstery for its elegance as the main factor . When formed, sew a uniform tapestry, very dense and with large, bright green leaves throughout the year. The only downside is its growth speed. It is the slowest of the 5 carpet plants that we have chosen. It all depends on the area to be covered, being 3 to 5 years on average, the ones necessary for a decent foliage. Its growth is slow , yes, but sure. If you choose it, you will have it for many years and it will grow stronger year after year. It is also very useful in areas with very steep slopes where it can be difficult to plant grass, not because it does not grow, but because it makes maintenance and mowing difficult.


We have chosen it for its extreme upholstery character It grows very very tight and smothers any attempts at weed development. If she is present, no weeds will be able to emerge from her dense tapestry. It is also not demanding on soils and tolerates both sun and shade if the soil is cool and humid, a condition that we will more than fulfill at the foot of the tree canopy.


This is the last of the upholstery plants in our top 5. It has been chosen for being the most tolerant of the lack of light of all of them . If the trees are very leafy, this plant is the most suitable. Among the 5 upholstery plants chosen, it is also the one that needs the most attention regarding soil. Some contribution of mulch is necessary. At least once a year at the beginning of spring. If the tree is deciduous much better. Just as in lawns, autumn leaves can be a problem, for Epimedium it will be an excellent compost once decomposed. It blooms during the spring and its elegant flowers with spurs combined with its colorful foliage will dress the foot of the tree under which they are protected.

Photo by Jon Cutrell


On the first day of this 2014 we published an entry making a small  selection of 5 upholstery plants for the garden . Creeping plants that fill gaps between stones or under trees where it is difficult for the grass to grow easily. Today’s post is aimed at giving you 4 basic maintenance tasks for upholstery plants. 

As we saw in its day, upholstery plants are an essential resource to fill holes or the area around the trunk of trees where the grass has difficulty growing normally. 

In general, carpet plants are lively , not losing their foliage during winter in the vast majority of species, an aspect that is appreciated by gardens and gardeners around the world.

Other characteristics are its  low maintenance, vigor and rusticity,  which allow, once installed, that we forget about its maintenance or at least that it is minimal. Still, there are certain tasks that we cannot forget to keep the upholstery in good condition.

Mainly there are 4. Irrigation, pruning, plowing and mulching.


Depending on the type of climate, the risks required by the upholstery will be higher. They are usually plants that like cool environments, although there are varieties for  xero-gardening , of course. An advantage of the upholstery and irrigation is that if they are dense enough, we can always hide an  irrigation tube drilled at different points in them,  so that it soaks the path of the upholstery and irrigates as homogeneously as possible. It goes without saying that irrigation water in the form of rain (hose, sprinkler), is necessary in some species, especially in climatic zones where rains are required. It is necessary to point out that for the first months of rooting of the floor coverings, abundant waterings come in handy for a  better rooting.


Pruning upholstery plants may seem unnecessary. It is not really always necessary. It only applies at certain times and for some species. It does not hurt to know when to prune carpet plants.

First of all, we must take into account the first year of development of the upholstery.

To promote horizontal growth,  pinching the terminal shoots  are more than necessary, especially in species that tend to lift from the ground in height. In typical crawlers, this part may be less important or completely unnecessary. They branch a lot by their own nature.

From that moment on, more than pruning, we can call it  upholstery control.  Those that are invasive will have to be controlled every year so that they don’t go where we don’t want them.


During the establishment of the mat (first year), it is important to have  weed control  to avoid unwanted competition. In addition, the trowel allows to loosen the soil and aerate it for a better rooting and extension of the upholstery.

Once the upholstery grows and covers the ground, tilling will be impractical but it will not be necessary because the upholsters, once they have colonized a surface, make it very difficult for competing grasses to grow.


We have already seen many of the  advantages of mulch  in garden crops. In the same way, it has a beneficial effect in the garden. The fact that the plants are ornamental does not mean that the mulch works as well.

In the cover plants it is a complementary action to the hoeing to make it even more difficult for the weeds to grow during the development period. It is also highly recommended for those plants that need more constant humidity. The dyeing also favors the retention of water.

Just as in the garden the common mulches are usually straw, for example, in the garden it can be replaced by other somewhat more “ornamental” elements. We have pine bark or gravel, and we could even take advantage of and  crush pruning remains and mulch with it.

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