16 Recommended Plants for Ground Cover Under Crepe Myrtle

Aside from their beautiful and cheerful appearance, crepe myrtle trees and shrubs are also remarkably easy to care for and can thrive in diverse environments.

They also have shallow roots, which make them ideal companions for fellow shallow-root ground cover plants.

Whether you prefer a dense carpet of greenery or sprays of dainty flowers in your ground cover, the following picks include a variety of textures, colors, and heights to suit every gardener’s taste — here are 16 stunning ground cover plants to pair with your crepe myrtle!

To find the best matches for your Crepe Myrtle, check out my article on Crepe Myrtle companion plants.

1. Creeping Thyme

A patch of creeping thyme covered in purple flowers.

Around late spring, creeping thyme erupts in blooms of teeny pink and purple flowers that are rich in nectar, making it a magnet for visiting pollinators.

Its aromatic bluish-green leaves can also be harvested for cooking.

This tough cookie is also tolerant of poor soil and drought, and it is deer resistant. Oh, and it’s virtually free of pests and diseases too!

Recommended Grow Zones: 5-9

2. Creeping Jenny

A patch of creeping Jenny covered with yellow flowers.

Also known as moneywort, this vigorous low-growing plant grows in all directions, sending out a mat of elongated outward-spreading stems featuring chartreuse-green coin-like leaves when grown in shade or slightly golden leaves in full sun.

Creeping Jenny is quite tolerant to foot traffic, so it can afford to spread a little beyond your crepe myrtle if you prefer it to.

In late spring, it also treats you to a display of dainty bell-shaped flowers in the sunniest shade of yellow.

Recommended Grow Zones: 3-9

3. Creeping Phlox 

White and pink creeping phlox in full bloom.

Arriving in early spring to beat the winter blues, creeping phlox turns up the technicolor in your garden by producing a bountiful mat of star-shaped flowers in rich shades of pink, lavender, blue, red, or white.

Even when out of bloom, this versatile evergreen remains attractive due to mounds of distinctive dark-green needle-like foliage.

It also holds up well to drought and salt, thrives in shade, and is tolerant to all soil pH types. What’s not to love?

Recommended Grow Zones: 3-8

4. Japanese Spurge

A patch of Japanese spurge in full bloom.

Highly versatile Japanese spurge, or carpet box as it’s also known, can grow in mats of low and dense groundcover or clumped shrubs, allowing you to combine it with other groundcover and fill in small gaps beneath your crepe myrtle or cover large areas as needed.

This plant produces teensy white flowers in early spring, but the real showstopper here is the foliage itself — pointed rosettes of glossy, almost leathery, lush, green leaves with toothed edges that add gorgeous texture and detail beneath your tree.

Recommended Grow Zones: 4-8

5. Bugleweed

Purple bugleweed or Ajuga flowers from above.

Happy in sun, shade, and drought, there are few conditions that can dampen the appeal of bugleweed.

Also known as Ajuga and ground pine, this plant produces a lawn of large tongue-like leaves in the most incredible shades of violet-blue, bronze, chocolate, purple, and burgundy-red.

Between late spring and summer, bugleweed also bursts with 10 to 12-inch spires of purple, blue, or white flowers, creating a stunning contrast atop the wide metallic foliage beneath.

Recommended Grow Zones: 3-10

6. Foamflower

Heartleaf foamflowers in full bloom.

Named for its delicate flowers that resemble masses of fluff or foam in full bloom, this white and pale-pink wildflower grows in spikes on long and slender stems high above a mat of glossy green leaves.

Depending on the texture you want to create beneath your crepe myrtle, foamflowers come in two main varieties.

The denser type ‘Heartleaf’ foamflower features heart-shaped, burgundy-tinged leaves while ‘Wherry’s’ foamflower features deeply lobed foliage similar to fig or maple leaves.

Recommended Grow Zones: 3-8

7. Lamium

Wild henbit blooming freely.

Lamium amplexicaule, or henbit as it’s commonly known, is a relatively invasive plant, forming mounds of dark-green, scalloped leaves on tall stalks.

In beautiful contrast to the dark foliage are the bright purple and pink orchid-like flowers that appear in early spring.

These fuzzy blooms appear in clusters and feature distinctive dark markings, making them look quite rare and exotic — ideal groundcover if you’re going for a tropical planting scheme in your garden!

Recommended Grow Zones: 4-8

8. Sweet Woodruff

A patch of sweet woodruff in full bloom.

Even in the shadiest spot, this pretty carpet of sweetly scented, emerald-green foliage will prosper.

Around late spring, sweet woodruff pops up with small clusters of dainty, white, star-shaped blooms.

As an entirely edible plant, the flowers can be used as a garnish, and the leaves can be eaten in salads.

It is an excellent planting choice under trees, shrubs, and shade gardens in general.

Just be wary that it can spread quite aggressively when grown in ideal conditions, so be prepared to stem the sweet woodruff tide when necessary!

Recommended Grow Zones: 4-8

9. Deadnettle 

A patch of deadnettle in bloom.

Virtually identical to Lamium amplexicaule is the deadnettle or purple archangel plant.

Deadnettle features the same purple and pink flowers, though these are noticeably more compact, and the dark green foliage has a pointed arrow shape with serrated margins instead of the soft, scalloped leaves of Lamium.

So-called because the sharp, rough-edged leaves resemble nettles but without the sting, deadnettle still has its charming bright blooms to draw in pollinators (honey bees, digger bees, and bumblebees all adore it!).

Recommended Grow Zones: 3-8

10. Mazus 

Delicate blue flowers on a mazus plant.

Also called the cup flower, mazus is a beautiful and delicate creeper, forming a mass of tiny bright-green leaves that are highlighted in late spring to early summer by small orchid-like blooms of blue, white, pink, or mauve.

Mazus will tolerate a light amount of foot traffic and is virtually disease free, although watch out for slugs and snails as they can be quite susceptible to these garden menaces.

Recommended Grow Zones: 4-8

11. Blue Star Creeper

Light-blue flowers on blue star creeper.

This charming low-growing plant makes a nice lawn substitute with its blanket spread of small green foliage and pale-blue star-shaped flowers that appear around late summer to early fall.

Blue star creeper is a fast spreader once established, and cool, moist conditions can see it grow quite aggressively.

Regular watering will help it tolerate light foot traffic if it does spread beyond your tree or shrub base.

Recommended Grow Zones: 5-9

12. Periwinkle

A close look at light-purple vincas blooming.

The humble periwinkle or vinca plant evokes the cozy feel of a cottage garden with its glossy lush green foliage and wide saucer-shaped flowers of bright blue, lavender, rose-pink, white, or red.

Once they come to life in mid-spring, periwinkles can stay in bloom for up to 9 months, providing near year-round joy in your green space!

Most varieties do equally well in full sun or shade and are content in all soil pH types.

Recommended Grow Zones: 4-8

13. Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley plants in full bloom.

Perhaps one of the most elegant forms of ground cover is this timeless woodland plant.

With its long lance-shaped leaves and clusters of dainty white bell-shaped flowers nodding in the breeze, lily of the valley lends a quaint fairytale vibe to any garden.

This incredibly hardy plant is found in the darkest corners of forests, so the full shade of your crepe myrtle tree will not be a problem. Just plant it in moist, well-draining soil, and watch it shine!

Recommended Grow Zones: 2-9

14. Dwarf Mondo Grass

Multiple mondo grass plants used as ground cover.

If you want to highlight some colorful companion blooms or need an attractive lawn substitute, this texturized evergreen ground cover does the job.

Dwarf mondo grass grows in neat tufts of arching, strap-like leaves of deep green.

This slow-grower is also super easy to manage and will look good in full sun or shady spots. Keep it in check with a quick shear each spring to encourage healthy new growth each season.

Recommended Grow Zones: 7-10

15. Wintercreeper 

The variegated foliage of wintercreeper.

Also called Fortune’s spindle, wintercreeper is a distinctive spreading shrub, prized for its stunning foliage of elliptical leaves which, depending on the variety, have variegated patches of cream, gold, and dark/light green vein detailing.

Versatile as well as handsome, wintercreeper can serve as a climber and groundcover, so you can trim it to a 2-foot shrub beneath your crepe myrtle tree if you prefer this look.

Recommended Grow Zones: 5-9

16. Corsican Mint 

A full-screen shot of Corsican mint in a garden.

Among the smallest plants in the mint family, this dainty groundcover grows no higher than an inch, forming a dense carpet of bright-green, round leaves that when stepped on or even lightly brushed against will release a delightful peppermint aroma.

When dried and crushed, Corsican mint leaves are used to make crème de menthe, and around late summer, this plant produces tiny lilac-mauve flowers, adding to the beauty of this versatile little herb.

Recommended Grow Zones: 6-9

Closing Thoughts

There are many great ground cover options for planting under a crepe myrtle tree from simple lawn cover like dwarf mondo grass to vibrant flower power with periwinkle and creeping phlox!

Deciding which look you want to cultivate in your garden space and the care and Grow Zone range each one requires can help you narrow down your perfect choice of ground cover. Happy planting!

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