Desperately seeking groundcovers


I am looking for suitable groundcover for a backyard corner that was thrust into the sun when a large Serbian Spruce was (very sadly) removed.
You have some good postings on groundcovers — I am particularly attracted to Caucasian stonecrop.
What I would like to find out is where I might find a nursery — or whatever — that has a good line of groundcovers I can purchase. Along with whatever replenishing soil I might need to get the planting(s) up and running.
The soil here in my part of Toronto’s Riverdale is pretty sandy, and chock full of vagrant roots.
Thank you.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your question regarding groundcovers.

There are many different types of groundcovers available however you should know that the Toronto Master Gardeners’ Invasive Species Initiative has received a microgrant from the Invasive Species Centre to publicize some plants that although still available commercially in nurseries, are taking up valuable space in our ravines, and competing with our Ontario native plants. As the website says: “Invasive plants degrade habitat, reduce biodiversity, and inhibit forest regeneration (the process by which new seedlings become established).”

For this reason, we suggest planting native species instead. There are many different type of groundcovers to consider:  If you are interested in an evergreen ground cover then Bearberry Arctosstaphylos uva-ursi would be a great choice. This groundcover grows in sun to part shade; dry to moist; sand or loam. It grows 5-15cm tall has showy white pink flowers in the spring and showy red berries. The leaves are shiny green turning a bronze colour in the fall

Another great native to consider is Thyme Thymus serphyllum. This plant grows in full sun and when planted in large numbers will form a solid carpet. This plant has the added bonus of being able to  take stepping, so it’s great for in-between pathway stones. There are multiple variety of thyme varieties out there. This websites lists a few along with many other native groundcover alternatives.

It is always advisable to add organic matter every year to your garden bed to help with drainage and soil fertility. Soil Fertility: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide will provide details on what you need to know before planting.  Soil Fertility: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

Lastly, Halton Master Gardeners has an excellent fact sheet on native nurseries in Southern Ontario.

Good Luck with finding the perfect groundcover for your space.