My Selection Of 28 Succulent Ground Cover Plants

Succulent Ground Cover Plants featured image

The critical roles played by ground covers in your landscaping means that you have to get your choice of plants just right. Otherwise, you will end up with a plant that doesn’t only cover the grounds effectively but also one that doesn’t enhance your garden’s look. There are many criteria for a perfect ground cover plant, such as being relatively short, evergreen, or resilient to prevailing weather conditions. Let’s discuss more in detail with my posts here (also, stay tuned for the list of what will be your perfect ground cover succulent)!

First, we need to clarify that succulents are not the only type of plant to be made groundcovers. Ground cover plants come in many types. For example, herbaceous perennials, shrubs, grasses, or mosses can all make good groundcovers. Each of them will serve different purposes and be suitable to various conditions.

  • Herbaceous perennial plants (like Periwinkle) make better ground covers where you don’t want changes. Also, they bloom beautiful flowers annually/ biannually.
  • Shrubs (like Juniper) can add low-growing structures to your garden.
  • Mosses are suitable for shady, moist spots, which can form thick green mats. They can grow where succulents can’t.

It comes down to decisive factors like the surrounding area’s climate, soil type, foot traffic, and aesthetic preferences. To this point, we all see that succulents will fit specific needs. Let’s break it down in the following heading!

Do Succulents Make Good Groundcover?

The simple answer to this question is yes, but in which case? Succulents make an excellent ground cover for many reasons. First, they are the perfect fit for areas with harsh conditions, such as poor soil conditions, less watering, and extreme weather conditions (intense heat and prolonged drought).

The second reason is that succulents are easy to maintain. Succulents won’t leave it bushy even after covering your grounds, so you won’t always have to groom them. Many succulents don’t need extra feeding to be healthy. They don’t attract pests and diseases as much as shrubs or foliage plants. They like harsh conditions, like poor soil quality with less watering. Some succulents have been noted to have an even lower flammability level and are recommended for places susceptible to wildfires. Malephora crocea – one such plant I would recommend for places prone to forest fires.

Succulents as ground cover plants Infographic.

For aesthetic preferences, succulents are such candidates. Succulents can make a garden look really nice because they have all kinds of shapes and colors. They have thick leaves and can have cool patterns and bright flowers that stand out. As groundcovers, succulents can brighten up a whole area with their spreading nature.

If the area is high in foot traffic, succulents are mostly unsuitable as they are quite delicate. However, some, like certain varieties of Sedum, are more resilient and can tolerate light to moderate foot traffic. A popular variety for foot traffic is Sedum spurium, also known as Dragon’s Blood Sedum, which forms a dense mat and can handle light to moderate foot traffic. Another one is Sedum sarmentosum, which is also quite resilient. But in the end, it’s best not to step on them too often. 🙂

Below, I compact a list of all succulents (some are currently on Succulent City) that can definitely be ground cover plants.

28 Succulent Ground Cover Plants In My Collection

#1. Calandrinia Spectabilis (Rock Purslane)

This succulent is easy to maintain, and it blooms for long periods. Flowering starts in spring and continues till the fall. The plant produces purple and pink flowers prolifically in this period. Its scientific name is Calandrinia spectabilis, and its leaves are a beautiful bluish-green. It grows to about two feet tall. Its leaves are fleshy and hairy, and they have smooth margins. This plant is about 8 inches tall but has a two-foot-tall flowering stalk. This plant can quickly spread in a diameter of three to four feet at maturity, covering your grounds with its thick foliage.

#2. Moss-rose Purslane

Its scientific name is Portulaca grandiflora. This relatively short plant can grow eight inches tall and one foot wide. It provides good ground cover because it has numerous branches and leaves. This plant’s leaves are light green. The wide mat it forms makes it even more challenging to see through the ground. It can tolerate intense sunlight, another reason it is a terrific outdoor plant. The Moss Rose produces flowers of different colors, including pink, orange, and purple. The flowers are showy and a great addition to your landscaping.

#3. The Cobweb Hens and Chicks

Its scientific name is Sempervivum arachnoideum (the Cobweb houseleek). The plat is only 1-2 inches tall and about 4-6 inches wide. Despite its diminutive size, it qualifies as a cover plant since I cluster prolifically. It has beautiful, almost artificial-looking rosettes (the hens), producing many pups called chicks. Its Leaves are fleshy, thick, and closely packed. They have cilia on the edges, which join together and connect the various leaves. The cilia from different leaves ultimately combine to form what appears to be a spider web. Leaves are obovate. This plant is evergreen, producing pink flowers that grow in flower stalks.  The plants are ideal for ground cover because their beauty attracts butterflies into your garden.

#4. Sempervivum Calcareum ‘Fire Dragon’

This beautiful house leek is famous due to its beautiful Sempervivum rosette leaves. It has blue-green leaves with purplish-mahogany tips. The rosettes are very tight and beautiful, producing an almost geometrical form. It produces several rosettes from the original one from which they are connected with stolons. All the rosettes together combine within a diameter of 50 cm. A single rosette is usually small, often measuring just 1-15cm in diameter, but covers a much bigger area as a cluster.

The rosettes are monocarpic (they die after flowering once); however, this shouldn’t be a significant concern for your ground-covering endeavor because each rosette produces offsets to replace it. Sempervivum calcareum flowers in late summer, but rarely does it produce flowers. It dies soon after flowering, and you should not grow it for its flowers. It has a flowering stalk tower above the rosette at about 25 cm.

#5. Caucasian stonecrop (Sedum spurium)

This succulent is also referred to as dragon blood. It has fleshy bright green leaves with burgundy edges. The leaves are rounded and turn bronze-red when exposed to intense sunlight, thus giving color to your garden. It can’t withstand temperatures below 65oF for a long time, and you should avoid growing it as a cover crop if your area experiences long, frigid winters. Sedum spurium is short, it doesn’t grow above 6 inches, but it can be as short as 4 inches. It can spread to 18 inches. It is drought tolerant and mat-forming due to its numerous short branches and leaves, thus its suitability as a cover crop.

#6. Blue Stonecrop

Its official name is Sedum reflexum. It is an excellent ground cover plant since it is fast-growing. It is a low-growing and mat-forming succulent with blue-green needle-like leaves. The stems are wobbly, appearing to be malleable or lax. The plant only grows to reach 6-8 inches and is about 24 inches (2 feet) tall. The greater area covered is usually due to its fat-spreading habit. Depending on measures taken to prevent waterlogging, it can grow on diverse soil types, including chalk, loamy, and sand.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

#7. Creeping sedum (Sedum acre)

There are several varieties of sedum known as creeping sedums. Sedum acre is hardy and very easy to grow. It can survive even in soil as shallow as 5 cm. Its leaves are triangular and light green. It is highly salt tolerant, which makes it an ideal cover plant if your land experience salty conditions, especially in coastal areas. Also, it is a particularly excellent cover crop if rocks are in your compound. Its lounge and covers rocks beautifully like many other members of its genus. Its leaves are tiny and overlapping, giving the foliage a scale-like appearance. It blooms in summer producing small, yellow blooms that enliven your garden. One possible drawback is its tendency to shed leaves. However, the leaves can grow into new plants.

#8. Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum

Plants in this genus are commonly known as slender leaf ice plants. It grows well in coastal areas, places with an altitude of between 0 and 100 meters above sea level. It is an annual herb whose stems are prostrate. They form mats of stems that can be as long as 20 cm long. The plant has cylindrical leaves that grow from the branches. These cylindrical leaves form clusters from which white, daisy-like flowers grow. Ground cover in this plant is provided mainly by the stems and partly by the plant’s leaves. This plant’s leaf hues are green and bright red.

#9. Sedum Japonicum ‘Tokyo Sun’

This mound-forming succulent is short; it is only 7.5 cm tall. The color of its foliage changes from yellow under full, direct sunlight to a shade of lime green while under the sun. This plant’s leaves are fleshy, as are its reddish stems, giving a beautiful contrast between themselves and the foliage. The stems are usually not very visible since the leaves are dense. It is a perennial plant and, therefore, available to give you ground cover throughout the year. It forms a mat through branching, and it is not cold-hardy. It can only withstand temperatures as low as 10oF. Sustained temperatures below this level will lead to the death of the plant, so avoid using it in an area that experiences long winters below this level.

#10. Crassula Muscosa

It is also known as Crassuls lycopodioides. Crassula muscosa is a perennial succulent plant between 10 and 40 cm. It is bushy, comprising woody, branching stems. A stem and its numerous branches are typically covered by tiny leaves that don’t grow beyond 2-8mm. These leaves are arranged in four rows on a branch, overlapping them, giving the succulent a scale-like appearance. The branches are irregular and can overlap, causing the plant to cover the ground nicely. Its flowers are small and can bloom singly or in a cluster.

#11. Crassula multicava (The Fairy Crassula)

Its scientific name is Crassula multicava. It has small oval dark green, glossy leaves. The leaves are opposite, measuring about 4 cm in width and length. The plant’s leaves have little pitted dark green and red dots. Its stem branches copiously, and the many branches, in return, produce leaves, keep enhancing the plant’s ground-covering abilities. The plant produces clustering pale pink flowers, which appear in spring. It can withstand intense direct sunlight but can’t take temperatures below 25oF for long durations. Thus, you should avoid using it if your area experiences long, cold winters.

#12. Crassula capitella (The Campfire Crassula)

Its scientific name is Crassula capitella. Moniker campfire is due to the color of its leaves which look like flames of fire. The leaves are pointed and many red due to exposure to the sun. When under a shade, leaves are pale green but turn red as they are exposed to more and more sunlight. Leaves grow on top of each other in a rosette-like formation where more giant leaves remain at the bottom while the smaller ones are on the top, arranged from the largest to the smallest.

While this succulent is short, it covers a large area due to its branching stems. They move in different directions covering a diameter of up to three feet. The succulent will cover your grounds nicely if you plant many of them together so that each covers a particular area.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

#13. Echeveria Plants

Echeveria is a genus of succulents that tend to form rosettes. There are 150 naturally occurring species and many more cultivars in the genus. Many of the species can act as good ground cover plants. Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’ is one of the ground covers in this genus. It is a cultivar between Echeveria pulvinata and Echeveria setosa. It, therefore, bears some characteristics of both its parents. It has dense glistering hairs on the leaf surface.

The dense hairs are why it has the common name, ‘Wooly Rose.’ Also, the plant is characterized by bright green leaves that quickly form rosettes. The coating of soft white hairs offsets nicely, thus increasing ground cover from one plant. The wooly hairs on leaves protect them from the effects of direct sunlight. Also, this plant prefers direct sunlight to help it bloom. It produces eye-popping orange flowers, which add life to your garden.

#14. The Ghost Plant

Its scientific name is Graptopetalum paraguayense. It is a good ground cover plant due to its creeping habit. Being a creeper allows it to grow to a height of 20 cm, but it also extends within a diameter of 60 cm. Its leaves are bluish-green and form rosettes on different levels of the plant. The succulent leaves are fleshy, and exposure to intense sunlight causes the foliage to change color. They turn from blue-gray to more pink and yellow.

Its stems branch and are mostly decumbent. Thus, if you use it for ground cover in a place that experiences hot sun, expect the foliage color to be more yellowish than blue-green. The trailing stems can go up to three feet along the ground providing even more cover. It flowers from spring to summer, producing yellow blooms and bringing your garden to life.

#15. Blue chalksticks

Its scientific name is Senecio serpens, and the common name is ‘blue chalk sticks’ due to the cylindrical shape of its leaves and their blue-green color. The leaves are short, measuring only 1-2 inches, and with a vertical orientation. These leaves grow from branching prostrate stems. The stems are initially upright when the plant is young. However, they tip over at the base and develop roots at the nodes wherever they touch the ground.

The numerous rooting point means that the plant doesn’t only cover the ground. It also anchors the soil if it is loose. The succulent is also noninflammable due to its succulent nature. This attribute makes it an ideal ground cover for areas prone to wildfires. The succulent is drought-hardy but can only tolerate cold up to 20oF intermittently. You should, therefore, know the temperature of your area before deciding on it.

#16. Agave Parryi (Artichoke Agave)

Its scientific name is Agave parryi, a rosette-forming succulent with lanceolate leaves. The leaves are gray-blue, and they have black spines on the edges. The rosettes are usually so well formed that they may look artificial. The leaves are short, less than six inches long, and about three inches wide.  Parry’s Agave is excellent for ground cover because it has a clump-forming habit. The plant does flower, though rarely. Each rosette in a clump produces one flower stalk, which may, in return, produce 20-30 branches. It produces yellow flowers whose hues vary from gold to light yellow. 

#17. Agave Blue Glow

The Agave blue glow is a mix of Agave attenuata and Agave acahui. It has nearly perfect, blue-green leaves that form a rosette and can handle strong sunlight. The leaves have golden and red edges. This plant lives about ten years, flowers once, then dies. It doesn’t cluster or make offsets but is still a good ground cover because it’s dense and spreads 2-3 feet wide, and is 1-2 feet tall.

#18. Queen Victoria Agave

This succulent is also known as Agave Victoriae- Reginae or Royal Agave. Its leaves are geometrical, almost sculpted, and it forms rosettes right from the bottom, so it doesn’t have a stem. Its leaves form their rosettes spirally, but there are some considerable variances in form within the species depending on its habitat. However, it is relatively compact across the species. It attains a maximum mature height of 0.5 meters and more or less the same width. Its compact rosettes are the greatest asset they have as ground-covering plants.  Some plants in this species are so perfectly formed to take the shape of a queen’s crown, where it got its name. It, therefore, not only covers the ground, it makes your garden look exquisite.

#19. Rancho Tambor Agave

The plant’s scientific name is Agave titanota. It is also known as the Chalk Agave and Maguey Cachitun. It is a perennial plant that will serve you in perpetuity if you choose it as a succulent cover plant for your garden. Its height is between 1-2 feet, and it can acquire a width of 2-3 feet. Its leaves are light green and have an average of 2 feet wide and five inches wide at the base. Also, the leaves have tan margins and tips and spines on edge. These thorns are generally flat. It is one of the succulents with the broadest range of temperatures since it can withstand -7oC winters and still survive in over 40oC heat. It flowers after many years, and its flowering heralds its death since it is a monocarpic plant.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

#20. Royal Dewflower

The Drosanthemum speciosum, also called the red ice plant, has green, thick leaves and orange-red flowers that lighten near the leaf center. It grows about two feet tall and spreads about a foot wide. Its dense leaves and many branches make it a good ground cover plant.

#21. Upright Myrtle Spurge

Known by the scientific name Euphorbia rigida, this flower grows to a maximum of 24 inches and can attain a width of 36 inches. Its height and width allow it to cover the ground with its stem and leaves. The stems, which grow in numbers from one plant, are covered with numerous blue-green leaves that are pretty close together in spirals. It is an ideal ground cover plant if you want to cover banks and slopes owing to its extensive root system. It can grow in various environments, with its hardiness zones ranging from 7-11.

#22. Donkey Tail Spurge

Its botanical name is Euphorbia Myrsinites. It is a perennial, evergreen succulent that would be an excellent addition to your ground cover. It is highly tolerant to drought and heat. Numerous stems for one plant characterize the donkey tail spurge. Its height is about 20 cm, and its width is 60 cm. These dimensions make it a great cover plant. The Donkey Tail Spurge also covers the ground with the dense, spiral leaves that grow on its stems. The leaves are green, and the plant blooms into tiny yellow flowers on the edge of each stem.

#23. Resin Spurge

It is also known as Euphorbia resinifera. Thick four-sided stems characterize it. The stems are dense from one base and can spread up to four feet square. Covering the surface area, it covers makes it an ideal ground cover plant. If you have deer and other animals in your area, this is the plant to use since the animals avoid it due to toxicity. It usually has no leaves, but it produces flowers. Its blooms appear towards the end of winter and continue into the spring. Its flower colors range from green to yellow.

#24. Euphorbia Milii ‘Crown of Thorns’

This is one of the smallest species in the spurge family. Fast clustering stems characterize it. The stems are 10-15 cm tall and usually greyish-brown. The entire stem is covered with thorns, and like other members of the Euphorbia genus, it produces toxic sap when bruised. It has small, green leaves that are usually about half a centimeter long. This Euphorbia blooms into small red flowers. Its ability to cover the ground comes from the dense stems its forms. Also, its roots get tangled, enabling them to hold the soil in place. Planting them in areas you don’t want people and animals to access would be best. Its sharp thorns act as a deterrent.

#25. Candelilla (Euphorbia antisyphilitica)

Its scientific name is Euphorbia antisyphilitica. It is a perennial succulent that usually isn’t about 1.5 feet tall. It is described as tufted because it usually has numerous mostly upright stems. The stems are waxy as part of adaptation to the hot environment where the plant grows. They are pale green and usually have tiny reddish leaves only found in new stems. The leaves fall off soon after the stem matures. Also, the flowers fall off as soon as they bloom. The blooms are usually white, but their base is deep pink. It offers dense ground cover from the stems that grow very close together.

#26. Red Aloe

This attractive Aloe reaches a total height of two feet and can be as comprehensive as four feet. An upright stem and open rosettes characterize it. Its leaves are fleshy and curve beautifully, and they have various colors depending on exposure to the sun. Leaves remain green if the plant hasn’t had much exposure to the sun, but the more intense the sun it is attached to, the redder and, ultimately, more bronze it becomes. It produces orange-red tubular flowers from the inflorescence. It covers the ground from its considerable branching and clustering. Its scientific name is Aloe cameronii.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

#27. Spider Aloe

Its botanical name is Aloe humilis. It is also known as blue dwarf aloe, hedgehog aloe, dwarf hedgehog aloe, jaws aloe, etc. It is a succulent ground cover because it produces enormous clusters that provide dense cover in the area where they appear. The plant is characterized by tiny rosettes whose leaves are an average of 12 cm long and curve inward. This plant produces bright flowers whose color ranges from orange to red. Spider aloe’s leaf margins have harmless spines, and its leaves’ exterior has irregular bumps.

#28. Gold Tooth Aloe

This plant’s botanical name is Aloe nobilis. It is a vigorous, evergreen species of aloe that is characterized by almost upright triangular leaves. The leaves are typically light green, rising to about two one foot tall with an equal spread of the rosette. Leaves can turn orange when exposed to direct sunlight. The Gold Tooth Aloe produces bright orange, tubular flowers that grow from stalks that can reach up to two feet above the ground. This aloe is ideal as a ground cover succulent due to its prolific clustering. It readily colonizes its area, thereby providing excellent ground cover for it.

#29. Crassula Streyi (Pondo Cliff Crassula)

Crassula streyi is great as a ground cover because it’s easy to grow and looks good. It can handle shade and weather, so you can plant it in many places. It has shiny green and purple leaves that add nice color and interest to the garden. It grows thick and can keep weeds away, so there’s less work to do in the garden.

Because it doesn’t need much care, it’s a handy and good-looking choice for covering the ground.

How to Take Care Of Succulent Ground Cover Plants

Choosing the right succulent ground cover depends on your area’s climate and environmental conditions. Consider fire-resistant options for fire-prone areas and plants with spreading roots for slopes.

  • Propagation is key; use seeds, cuttings, offsets, or division based on the succulent type. Ensure well-drained soil, as waterlogged soil can lead to root rot. Tailor soil organic matter to your plant’s needs.
  • Water sparingly, employing the soak-and-dry method. Avoid overhead watering to prevent leaf contact with water. Check if tap water suits your succulents.
  • Know your succulent’s temperature preferences—some prefer shade, while others thrive in sunlight. Adequate light is crucial for flowering.
  • Feeding requirements vary; some need regular feeding during growth, while others require minimal annual fertilization.
  • Understand dormancy seasons for proper care—less water and fertilizer during dormancy.
  • Pruning may be necessary for growth management, but not all succulents require it. Use clean, sharp tools for pruning.
  • Pest and disease prevention is essential. Maintain plant health and consider systemic pesticides, organic options, and barriers for specific pests. Prevent root rot with proper substrate and watering practices.

Final Words

Succulents are the best ground cover for general and special purposes. The succulents listed above are just a few that can offer excellent ground cover—exploring the genera from which the ones we have mentioSucculentsu find others that may be better fitted for what you desire.

Succulent City chief editor

ABOUT ME

Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

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