Planting & Landscaping

Fast Growing Groundcover for a Slope

Ground covers are an excellent way of erosion control on a slope and especially necessary as it may be difficult to mow the grass on a steep slope.

Planting ground covers also prevent weeds from growing in those hard-to-reach areas.

When choosing fast growing ground covers for sloping ground, there are many factors to consider: how quickly does it grow, what type of soil does it need, and how much sun does it require?

Ground cover plants develop a root system that stabilizes the soil. Because of the effectiveness of this method, it is one of the most popular means of preventing soil erosion.

Moderate slopes of up to 33% or 3.1 have a good chance of getting runoff under control using groundcover and mulch. Mulch can be inorganic, such as rocks, crushed stones or organic such as woodchips.

 Slopes with a higher gradient than 33% or 3.1 will have poorer success in using plants to prevent soil erosion.

Best Fast Growing Groundcovers for Slopes

Creeping, spreading or clumping varieties and low-growing shrubs planted en mass can all form a groundcover to protect the soil on a slope.

Choose a ground cover plant that is best for your soil that is noted to survive in your environment. For example, if you live in a very dry region, choose plants noted as drought-tolerant, such as a trailing African daisy (Osteospermum fruticosum) or Spanish daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus).

Take note of the height of your slope and what is adjacent to it, such as roads or gardens with hedges or fences, before choosing a groundcover plant for hillsides. For slopes near large planter beds, use taller varieties rather than groundcovers that will spread and creep.

Considered using something more manageable for slopes near foot traffic like clumping varieties or low-growing groundcover plants rather than taller shrubs. The latter would be better for areas without a lot of human activity to avoid being trampled on by those walking in the garden area.

grasses-on-slope

Grasses

Evergreen groundcover ornamental grass is a great choice for slopes. Fast-growing, they need little attention once established.

geraniums-groundcover

Geraniums

If you're looking for low-maintenance, fast-growing ground cover for slopes, consider planting geraniums. Trailing geraniums will cover an area in no time.

Pachysandra-in-forest

Pachysandra

Pachysandra is low maintenance and easy to grow. Sun will burn the evergreen foliage, so a shady slope is best.

st-johns-wort-plants

St Johns Wort

St Johns Wort is easy to grow and is an attractive groundcover and soil stabilizer for shade.

thyme

Creeping Thyme

Thyme is a hardy ground cover for sunny areas with masses of flowers to attract the bees.

Prairie-plants-on-hillside

Prairie Plants

A native plant with deep roots, such as prairie plants, will survive on even the steepest slopes.

ivy-ground-cover

Ivy

Plant English ivy in the fall and let it grow all winter to establish a strong root system before mulching or giving it another watering during springtime when new growth will erupt from the soil.

periwinkle-in-garden

Periwinkle

Periwinkle or creeping myrtle is a fast-growing ground cover that needs little water, making it ideal for sunny slopes.

Sweet-woodruf-growing-under-trees

Sweet Woodruf

Sweet Woodruff, a mat-forming perennial, is a great option for shady areas. Sweet woodruff prefers moist soil but will grow in most conditions as it can tolerate dry and wet weather well.

honeysuckle

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle will do well on slopes and are easy-care plants. They are heat tolerant and flower from late spring through the summer. There are evergreen and deciduous varieties.

plantain

Plantain Grass

The Plantain grass grows well if it is watered regularly. It will grow in dry and wet conditions but prefers moist soil. Plantain is considered a weed.

climbing-rose

Climbing Rose

A climbing, rambling rose will grow quickly, creating dense coverage that needs little water or care once established. Dorothy Perkins is a vigorous grower and would be a good variety for a slope.

Russian-Cypress

Russian Cypress (Microbiota decussata).

A dwarf, evergreen conifer, the Russian Cypress grows well in moist soils. They grow quickly and are good for slopes.

Lamium

Lamium

Lamium spreads quickly and grows well in dry and moist soil conditions. Sun to part shade.

ferns-on-a-slope

Ferns

Ferns also grow fast, often growing over the ground faster than other plants. Ferns would grow best on a slope with moist soils in semi-shade to shade.

Gardenia-radicans

Gardenia radicans

Gardenia radicans is quick to grow in full sun to part shade and can grow on steep slopes.

Grace-Ward-Lithodora

Grace Ward Lithodora

Grace Ward Litodora is a sprawling groundcover that works well in rock gardens.

sedum-on-a-slope

Sedum (or other succulents)

Succulents are also good for planting on a slope. They grow quickly and flourish in hot conditions.

Candytuft

Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)

The candytuft grows quickly and is one of the best groundcover plants for a slope.

Creeping-juniper

Creeping Juniper

This vigorous plant is a drought-tolerant ground cover and will grow in poor soil—plant in full sun.

Daylilies

Daylilies

Daylilies grow quickly and are a showy perennial groundcover when planted en-mass.

Black-Mondo-Grass

Black Mondo Grass

Black Mondo Grass is a clumping plant and grows in sun or partial shade with grass-like foliage.

Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster horizontalis

An evergreen shrub, when planted together, will form a groundcover for the hillside - full sun to part shade.

Ice-Plant

Delosperma cooperi (Ice Plant)

Delosperma cooperi is a drought-tolerant, vigorous grower with succulent type leaves. Magenta pink flowers cover the area in full sun.

Ajuga-reptans-(Bugleweed)

Ajuga reptans (Bugleweed)

Ajuga spreads through runners and is a quick-growing plant. They bloom from early spring to mid-summer and require very little care once established.

Planting fast-growing ground covers on a slope can help to control erosion and flood damage. 

Related: The Dry Creek Bed: Tips and Images

Always choose the right plants for your climate, as some varieties of ground cover may not survive in colder areas or dryer climates. Your landscaper or local nursery should be able to recommend which types are suitable for your region.

Takeaways

Choose plants that match your climate and soil conditions.

Determine the gradient of the slope for water runoff.

Apply mulch, especially when the plants are small, and there is a lot of soil exposure

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