Yellow Ground Coverage with Trailing Plants and Ornamental Grasses

Great Yellow Ground Coverage Plants for Your Garden

Lantana (Lantana camara) 'Spreading Bouquet'
Lantana (Lantana camara) 'Spreading Bouquet'. Photo courtesy of Maja Dumat

When building a garden design, no gardener will want to leave out trailing or sprawling plants and beautiful ground coverage. Plants that trail, weep or sprawl are useful as ground covers, in containers, porch rails, hanging baskets or other garden spots where their unique growth habit can be appreciated.  Grasses are increasingly used in the landscape as well, not just on their own in a grass garden, but as a feature in the main landscape or garden.

Here are some varieties of plants to add to your yellow garden bed or border for coverage and color.

Yellow Trailing Plants

Lantana (Lantana camara) 'Spreading Bouquet' - Lantana is a tender perennial plant that is often grown as an annual and available from most plant nurseries and garden centers. 'Spreading Bouquet' has a trailing growth habit and flower clusters that are yellow with tinges of pink, peach and apricot throughout creating a beautiful rainbow effect. Like most lantanas, 'Spreading Bouquet' is a great addition to a butterfly garden as well. Other yellow lantana selections include 'Goldsonne', the Landmark Series 'Yellow', 'Lucky Yellow' and an unusual cultivar with variegated foliage called 'Samantha'.

Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora) - A succulent and drought tolerant annual plant, the moss rose is a perfect choice for a hot weather or xeriscape yellow garden design. The moss rose is available with a wide variety of flower colors including bright yellow, pale yellow and bicolored flowers, usually yellow and orange or yellow and red.

Give moss roses full sun and medium to light watering for weeks of lovely blooms that can hang gracefully down from a porch rail box, hanging basket or rock ledge. While moss rose is considered an annual plant many gardeners find that the flowers readily self-sow and reseed themselves.

Trailing Petunia 'Baby Duck Yellow' or 'Prism Sunshine' - Sow seeds in early spring for lovely, creamy-yellow blooms all season long.

These trailing petunias are excellent choices for hanging baskets, containers and other yellow garden design components. Petunias have been selected as an All-America Selections Winner many years because of how long they bloom each year and how easy it is to grow petunias from seed. 'Dolce Limoncello' has a golden throat with lighter, cream-colored trumpet on its blooms and makes another nice Petunia for the yellow themed garden.

Trailing Snapdragons (Antirrhinum 'Luminaire') - One of the nicest trailing snapdragon varieties available, the Luminaire series has four colors that would be of interest to a gardener wanting to add a snapdragon to his yellow garden design. All the Luminaire snapdragons reseed regularly and have large flowers for weeks through the summer and fall months. 'Yellow Luminaire' is a bright golden yellow, often with white streaks through it while 'Deep Yellow' has darker yellow, solid blooms. There are two bi-color Luminaire snapdragons that could be used in a yellow design garden as well; 'Bronze-Yellow' with burgundy-brown flowers and yellow or 'Orange-Yellow' with brighter orange and yellow blooms.

Yellow Ornamental Grasses

Bowles Golden Sedge (Carex elata 'Aurea') - Zones 5-9.

This perennial sedge grass has a flowing, graceful movement to the foliage that adds an interesting accent to the garden landscape. Bowles golden sedge is a shorter grass, reaching only 18-24inches tall, so it is a nice ornamental grass for smaller garden areas. This sedge grass prefers moist soil and will even tolerate growing in the shallows of a bog or pond with water an inch or two deep. If growing Bowles sedge grass in a garden area consider lining the planting hole with plastic to help retain water and keep the soil moist. Grow this golden colored grass in part shade to full shade conditions.

Golden Variegated Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonchloa macra 'Aureola') - Zones 5-9. This medium sized ornamental grass adds a tropical feel to the garden brightening up a part shade area of the garden.

The Japanese forest grass grows about 3 feet tall and is a slow grower that won't take over your garden in an invasive way. The leaves are relatively pest free and will provide eye-catching movement to a yellow themed garden, as the leaves are bright yellow in color with thin green edges.

Variegated Ogon Grass (Acorus gramineus 'Ogon') - Zones 7-11. This golden ornamental grass only grows about 10 inches tall and adds a bright accent to shady, moist garden areas. The Ogon grass has golden foliage with green variegation throughout. In protected areas this grass will be evergreen providing year round interest in the yellow themed garden.

Yellow Foxtail Grass (Alopecurus pratensis 'Aureus') - Zones 4-8. This beautiful, gold grass grows 1-3' tall and does well in full to part shade garden areas. Yellow foxtail grass isn't drought tolerant though so keep it moderately watered through the growing season. Some specific plants have light green stripes through the foliage but the overall effect is a bright, glowing yellow. Propagate through division, which also helps the foxtail grass maintain the clump-like look in the yellow themed garden unless you want to let it spread slightly to create a mass effect.