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What is a Carpet Plant?

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  • Written By: B. Turner
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2016
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A carpet plant is a type of plant that grows out to form a mat across the ground. Most types of carpet plant grow to very short heights, and instead the steams spread horizontally out from the roots. These stems eventually form new roots, and the carpet plant may cover a very large area of the ground when it has reached full maturity. Most carpet plants belong to the genus Gesneriaceae, which includes different forms of evergreens, ivies, and ornamental plants.

Gardeners typically select a carpet plant for specific types of applications. They are popular forms of ground cover, particularly in rock gardens. These plants also offer an effective method of covering a large area of ground with a single plant. Because of their tendency to cascade down the side of a surface, they are also popular in hanging baskets or large planters. Carpet plants may also be selected to cover a retaining wall, or to climb the walls of a home like traditional ivy.

Each type of carpet plant may require different growing conditions, depending on species. Some varieties are naturally good climbers, and will readily grow up the height of a wall. Others require some support in order to grow along a vertical surface. Some grow just along the surface of the ground, while others may form a mat several feet thick. Temperature, soil conditions, and sun exposure can also impact growth rates and appearance.

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Climbing hydrangeas are one of the most common carpet plant species in many moderate climate zones. These plants feature large numbers of small white flowers, and are known for their superior climbing ability. A hydrangea will quickly spread out to cover the ground if left untended, and will also climb its way to the top of walls, trees, and other vertical surfaces.

The clematis species serves as another popular form of carpet plant in many parts of the world. Each plant within the clematis family features unique, spectacular flowers. These flowers grow on hardy climbing vines, that can climb the walls of a home like traditional ivy plants.

Non-flowering ivies also act as carpet plants, and many serve as both ground cover and climbing plants. These include wintergreen ivy, as well as different forms of the juniper plant. Creeping ivies come in many colors, and grow very thick across both horizontal and vertical surfaces. They feature small, fragrant flowers in a number of different shades.

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