We live in climate zone 6 and have a permeable driveway made of concrete pavers. I would love to plant a ground cover that will grow in between the concrete in fairly rich loam and green the driveway. It must be able to withstand the car’s weight and lots of shade. Is there such a plant?
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners for suggestions on shade tolerant groundcover.
There are a number of groundcovers that are shade tolerant however, the problem is that most of them are tolerant of light -moderate foot traffic and will not handle the constant weight of a car.
For your interest the following groundcovers will tolerate shade conditions:
Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) is one possibility – it is a very pretty plant with white flowers in spring and its leaves are scented (hence its Latin name). The Canadian native ginger, Asarum Canadensis, may also take hold in your shady area – it forms dense colonies once established. If you have dry shade, some other groundcovers to consider are, barrenwort (Epimedium spp), and the hardy perennial geraniums (Geranium macrorhizum)
Many websites/articles that list groundcovers to choose from include invasive species, which are generally not recommended for home gardens, as they can spread relentlessly and out-compete other nearby plants. This includes English ivy (Hedera helix), lily-of-the valley (Convalleria), and periwinkle (Vinca minor). Check out the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Invasive plant list and Ontario’s Invasive Plant Council’s Grow me instead guide before you decide upon the groundcovers you will use.
Lastly, we have numerous information on groundcovers on our website, simply type “groundcovers” into the Find It Here box located on the right side of the page.