It can be difficult to find flowering groundcovers for deep shade. In my Connecticut garden (zone 6b), I’ve found one of the easiest to grow groundcovers for shade is Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum).
If you’ve got room in your garden for a low-maintenance shade lovers, here are a few things you should know about sweet woodruff:
◊ Lacy white flowers cover the shiny green foliage in May
◊ Grows to about 10″ x 18″
◊ Thrives in partial to deep shade
◊ Tolerates all but the driest of soils. If the soil is too dry, or your planting site gets too much sun, sweet woodruff may go dormant for a while. It will come back once the conditions are more to its liking.
◊ Quickly spreads by both running roots and self-seeding to form a tight mass of delicate green leaves that crowd out weeds. If sweet woodruff becomes to prolific, it can be maintained by mowing it.
◊ Hardy from zones 4 – 8
◊ You won’t find Galium odoratum on many deer-resistant plants lists but the deer don’t seem to bother it in my garden.
Uses for Sweet Woodruff
Both the leaves and flowers are highly fragrant – hence its common name, sweet woodruff. The leaves become even more fragrant when dried so they are a good choice for homemade sachets. The leaves are also used to flavor May wine , a punch used to celebrate May Day.
Use sweet woodruff as a groundcover in woodland setting planted under dogwoods and other spring-flowering trees and shrubs or any other shady spot were you need a groundcover to spread and naturalize.