Native ground cover


Is there a native ground cover that is less than 4 inch high and will grow in dry full sun? The location is in north Scarborough.


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners. Many of the native ground covers prefer full to part shade, but the ones listed below may be suitable for your sunny location.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi commonly known as Bearberry is a drought tolerant moderate spreading plant that is a good groundcover in full sun. It has white flowers in spring and small red berries in fall. Bearberry is a small shrub with multiple stems that grows 5-15 cm tall. The foliage of this plant is very attractive in fall.

Fragaria virginiana or Wild Strawberry spreads along the ground by runners and produces white flowers in spring and small edible berries in summer. This plant will grow in most soil types with little moisture and prefers full sun.  Wild Strawberry can grow to about 15 cm high.

Viola labradorica ‘Purpurea’ or Labrador Violet is well-suited to dry sunny areas and may also be used to interplant among other low growing ground covers.  It is much less invasive than other violets and has very attractive heart shaped purple leaves and early purple flowers. This plant is adaptable to a variety of sites growing 10-15 cm high, spreading by both seed and stolons.

There is a Toronto Master Gardeners guide “Broadleaf Evergreen Groundcovers” which may give you some additional information about planting and maintenance although the choices in it are not all native plants.

Broadleaf Evergreen Groundcovers: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide