Groundcovers: An Exuberant Combination

– Posted in: Garden Plants

Lotus berthelotti-focus on flowers-foreground-with Persicaria capitata mixed in-resized

When you combine sharp orange/red tubular shaped flowers and silver needled stems with soft pink globe shaped flowers perched on wiry stems 1-2 inches high with variegated leaves, the result is an eyepopping combination! These specimens offer a huge contrast in both the flower and leaf shapes and colors that will minimally be noted by visitors to your garden.

Agaves and groundcovers-April 25, 2009-silver leaved in foreground, sea of persicaria behind-2nd revision

I think the combination of Lotus berthelotii together with Persicaria capitata works perfectly. Don’t you just love the sharp tubular flowers displaying their pageantry wherever they want with the silver, slim leaves cushioning them?

Agaves and groundcovers-April 25, 2009 016.jpg-resized

Lotus berthelotii, commonly known as Parrots Beak or Parrots Bill, is grown for its sharp red blooms produced in pairs and silver, needle like leaves. A native of the Canary Islands, with its sprawling, prostrate, trailing habit, it works well as a groundcover or in a hanging basket. Its bloom period is April-May: a good time to take cuttings is June-August.  Its silver foliage alone makes it a noteworthy groundcover. It thrives in full or partial sun, well drained soil and is a tender specimen.

Agaves and groundcovers-April 25, 2009 015-resized

Persicaria capitata, commonly known as pink knot-weed, should be treated as an annual in all but the warmest climates. It’s a terrific groundcover that blooms from June-September when deadheaded regularly. Even without the blooms, its cylindric reddish and ochre/green striated leaves make it a worthwhile groundcover. If you’ve already had experience with any of the perennial persicarias, such as affinis, amplexicaulis or polystachya, you know that not only do they add mass and color to a herbaceous border but that they are extremely hardy perennials worth checking out (whose only fault is that they can be invasive if not kept under tight control).

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the recently published 10th Anniversary Edition of Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book".  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, and CBS Radio New correspondent.

Click on Fran's website,, to sign up to receive a free gift: "The 38 Creative Tips That Are Preventing You From Leading A Richer Life" and to read articles on creativity, well-being, gardening, and spirituality.  

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Fran Sorin
Fran Sorin

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4 Comments… add one

Leave a Comment

lotusleaf July 17, 2009, 5:47 am

A lotus growing on the ground! Beautiful!

Yep…from one lotus lover to another, I agree that it’s beautiful. Fran

Lisa at Greenbow July 17, 2009, 7:39 am

Eye popping.

Yeh Lisa….you either love or dislike it …no middle ground for this combo! Fran

cola July 17, 2009, 9:06 am

Wow! absolutely beautiful!

Thanks Cola….yeh, this combination took my breath away! Fran

Susie July 17, 2009, 6:53 pm

Never thought of a Lotus on the ground. Great combo, love the photos!

Thanks Susie- I know…goes to show that the world of horticulture/gardening is endless!! Fran

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