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Weeds can be a major problem in gardens, often popping up in lawns, flower beds, and between patio stones. They reduce the aesthetic appeal of your garden and are also hard to remove. Some weeds even compete with your plants for nutrients and sunlight, hindering their growth.

An effective strategy to prevent weeds is to plant species that naturally suppress them. These plants cover the ground and shade the soil, preventing weeds from growing. Here are 12 plants that can help keep your garden weed-free, allowing you to maintain a beautiful outdoor space with less effort.

Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), also known as the moss phlox.
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Creeping phlox is known for its star-shaped blooms in pink, purple, and white. These flowers emerge in late winter to early spring, while their leaves stay green throughout the rest of the year. This low-growing plant spreads widely, covering bare soil effectively and helping to prevent weed growth due to its dense coverage. It requires full sun and well-draining soil to thrive. Zones 3 to 10

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Azaleas are known for their vibrant spring blooms, and some varieties feature evergreen foliage that lasts all year. Their striking flowers will enhance the visual appeal of your yard.

They thrive in slightly acidic, well-drained soil and grow well in sunny and partially shaded areas. When planted in large groups, they form an attractive backdrop and shade the ground, which, along with their dense foliage, helps suppress weed growth.

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Hosta Ivory Coast
Image Credit: Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With its colorful foliage, Hosta is ideal for shaded borders or planting under taller shrubs. It offers shades of greens, yellows, and reds. Hosta requires shade and thrives in moist, rich soil. Keep soil moist, protect it from pests, and ensure it isn’t exposed to too much sun. This is an excellent plant to incorporate to keep the weeds out.

Lenten Rose

Light green flowers of Helleborus or lenten rose
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Lenten Rose, or Helleborus, blooms early, offering flowers from white to deep burgundy. It’s a hardy, low-maintenance perennial for the shade garden. Zones 4-10

Sweet Woodruff 

Bedstraw (Galium odoratum) blooms in spring in the wild in the forest
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Sweet woodruff is a ground cover plant that grows bushy and attractive with small white flowers. This plant prefers partial to full shade with moist soil. It requires minimal care, only needing extra water during dry periods. However, sweet woodruff spreads quickly and can become invasive, so regular trimming and monitoring are necessary to keep it under control. Zones 4-8

Yarrow (Achillea)

Flowering yarrow, Achillea, close up
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Yarrow is known for its drought resistance and ability to flourish in full sunlight. It produces clusters of small, flat-topped flowers that come in a variety of colors, making it a vibrant and hardy addition to any garden. Suitable for zones 3-9, yarrow is particularly effective at suppressing weeds when planted in groups, as it can crowd them out naturally.

Trailing Lantana

Lantana montevidensis purple trailing shrub
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Trailing lantana is a fast-growing ground cover ideal for large areas. Its purple flowers bloom from spring through fall, attracting butterflies, while deer and rabbits avoid it. Zones 9 to 11.


blue clematis
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Clematis are loved for their vibrant flowers, which come in various colors, including blue. They perform best in sunny spots, but their roots should be kept cool and shaded. These vines need well-drained soil and benefit from regular pruning to flourish. Ideal for climbing up trellises or fences, clematis can also spread across the garden, effectively suppressing weeds as they grow. Zones 4-9

Lambs Ear

Stachys lanata, stachys olympica or young leaves of lamb's ear plants. Natural background.
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Lamb’s ear is known for its fuzzy leaves with a gray-green, silver, frost-like appearance. This low-growing ground cover forms a dense carpet that effectively blocks sunlight, preventing weeds from growing.

Like mint, lamb’s ear can become invasive, especially in warmer climates, as it tends to overshadow nearby plants. It is drought-tolerant, requiring little water, and thrives in full sun with well-draining soil. Zones 4 to 8

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Green leaves, bushes, carpet. Gardening. Home garden, flower bed. Ajuga reptans. Perennial herbaceous plant. Honey plant. Blue inflorescences, pleasant smell
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Bugleweed, or ajuga, is a low-growing ground cover that rapidly spreads, forming dense mats of foliage. While it can sometimes be mistaken for a weed, its appearance during bloom—with spectacular stalks of tiny trumpet-shaped purple flowers—clearly sets it apart, adding vibrant color to any yard.

This plant’s thick growth helps prevent other weeds from taking root. Bugleweed is low-maintenance and thrives in both direct sun and partial shade. Zones 4 to 9

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A close-up of two pink sedum flowers with thick, fleshy petals and yellow centers.
Image Credit: Xulescu_g, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Most sedums, also known as stonecrop, have succulent leaves that provide color throughout the year and are drought-tolerant. They thrive in full sun and prefer well-drained, poor soil. Due to their low growth rate, they can effectively prevent weeds. Zones 3-8

Creeping Thyme

Thyme creeping, pink chintz, green background of small inflorescences, background
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Creeping thyme spreads along the ground and helps stop weeds from growing. It has a nice scent can fill your yard with a subtle fragrance. It grows best in full sun and needs soil that drains well and is not too moist. Zones 5 to 9

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