Mail Order Gardening

Perennial Flowering Groundcovers

I am a cheap and lazy gardener. My soilplay consists of planting, watering, minimal pruning and weeding and keeping my fingers crossed. I have ordered groundcovers with varying degrees of success through mail order, so I wanted to document my experiences here.

Tantalized by the lush foliage and lovely blooms touted by these gardening catalogs, I eagerly awaited my first order. Prepare to be disappointed. One plant means ONE plant with one root, not several clustered together like you'll find at the nursery. Many "shrubs" resemble not so much saplings but leafless twigs with roots, aptly named "whips." Some perennials are merely root balls while others arrive in the tiniest of pots -- maybe slightly bigger than what you'll find populating a flat of annuals. Still others arrived moldy or DOA. In some cases you'll get more for your money shopping locally. But many of these groundcovers grew in nicely over the course of a year (or more). It's fun to experiment, especially with plants I haven't seen locally.

Not Recommended: usually means you shouldn't buy this plant online (i.e. Redbud). Sometimes it means the plant didn't appeal to me (Fruit Cocktail Tree).

Neutral: could mean I was unimpressed with the plant itself (Mock Orange), or that you're better off purchasing locally.

Recommended: A winner, whether you purchase online or locally.

I ordered exclusively through DirectGardening.com because they were the least expensive (click on the banner above to be taken directly to their site). They also offer the standard one year guarantee. If your plant doesn't survive they will send you a replacement if you request it within one year from date of purchase.

Please note if you place an order through a link to DirectGardening, I will receive a small commission.

Year planted follows description in parenthesis.

For reference, these groundcovers were planted in zone 6 in mostly sandy soil.

Updated 06/12/2017.

 
Ground Covers Sun Perennials Shrubs and Trees Shade Perennials Annuals Deer Resistant Cold Hardy Tropical Plants Contact Us
Plant Experience Conclusion
Variegated Liriope (Lilyturf) Variegated Liriope. The three I purchased were doing well (before I moved). I adore lilyturf. You can pretty much put them anywhere for eye-catching interest year round. Cut them back when new growth emerges in spring. (2004).Highly Recommended
Mediterranean Pinks Mediterranean Pinks. I purchased six, four have come back. They grew pretty quickly and I think they bloomed the first year. Cute. (2004).Recommended
Creeping Red Sedum Creeping Red Sedum. Sedums are a great, fast spreading ground cover. It's not hard to find someone who is willing to share. (2004).Recommended
Improved Golden Sedum Golden Sedum. The golden sedum I purchased looks a little different from the plants I received from a family friend, both are a great ground cover. (2004).Recommended
Periwinkle Vinca Minor Periwinkle Vinca Minor. I wanted to make a plug for this nearly perfect groundcover. It grows just about anywhere, it's evergreen and has lavender flowers that bloom freely in the spring. Considered invasive, but easy to pull out. There are other varieties with different color blooms and variegated foliage. I purchased white (Vinca Minor Alba), purple (Atropurpurea) and a lovely double-flowered pink (V. minor Double Purple) several years ago. (V. minor Double Purple is sold out, I'll be ordering more if they bring it back). The Atropurpurea is finally starting to spread.Recommended
Creeping Phlox Creeping Phlox. One of my favorite groundcovers. It's semi-evergreen so it doesn't completely die off in the winter. It gets smothered in pretty flowers in the spring. I have one patch that is doing very well. (2004).Recommended
Ajuga reptans Burgundy Glow Ajuga. I was never a fan of ajuga since it's invasive. However, if you need something with shallow roots to crowd out weeds over a large area, and you (like me) don't want to maintain a lawn, ajuga is a good choice. I've got several types of groundcovers on my septic mound, and the ajuga is spreading best.Recommended