12 Plants That Will Keep Weeds Out of Your Garden Once and for All

They'll also reduce your workload—which means you'll spend less time pulling weeds and more time enjoying your lush landscape.

While gardening is a rewarding experience—especially when you see new growth on your plants or your perennials return for another year—it also has its fair share of pain points. One of the most common? Weeds. These unsightly ground covers take essential nutrients and water from nearby plants and can even block out sunlight if they grow big enough.

colorful yarrow flower garden

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But if you don't want to use pesticides or spend time pulling out weeds, consider an easier, more attractive alternative—weed-suppressing plants. The 12 lush options, below, form a thick carpet that prevents harmful weeds from wreaking havoc on your yard, so you can enjoy the beauty of your landscape with less maintenance.

01 of 12

Lamb's Ear

Lambs-ear plant

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A great, tight forming ground cover, lamb's ear has gray-green leaves that form a carpet so thick, weeds won't stand a chance. "A plus to growing lamb's ear is that you will get gray stalks of lavender flowers in spring," says Adrienne Roethling, the garden director for Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden. If this variety works in your garden zone, know that it's best to grow lamb's ear as a standalone plant; other desired varieties may have a hard time pushing through the dense leaves.

Zones: 4 to 8

Size: 5 to 6 inches tall x 12 to 24 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Full sun; loamy, well-draining soil

02 of 12

Creeping Mazus

Creeping Mazus plant


Creeping mazus is the ultimate weed-suppressing ground cover plant. "The green leaves give way to white open face tubular flowers in mid-spring," says Roethling. "It’s a very dense forming mass with little room for weeds to grow."

Zones: 5 to 8

Size: 1 inch tall x 6 to 12 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Part sun to full shade; well-draining soil

03 of 12

Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme flowers

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As its name implies, creeping thyme will creep along your landscape and prevent weeds from popping up. "Creeping thyme is evergreen in mild winters and blooms profusely from early to mid-summer," says Keri Wilson of Garden Media Group. It releases a fragrant scent that will fill your yard with seasonal perfume.

Zones: 5 to 9

Size: 2 inches tall x 12 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Full sun; average dry, well-draining soil

04 of 12

Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox flowers

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Creeping phlox produces a tight mass of green leaves that give way to shades of pink, purple, and white star-shaped flowers. "The flowers appear in late winter through early spring. The leaves remain the rest of the year," says Roethling. Consider planting creeping phlox during spring and summer to enhance its look during non-flowering seasons.  

Zones: 3 to 10

Size: 6 inches tall x 36 to 48 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Full sun; well-draining soil

05 of 12

Crimson Clover

Crimson Clover flowers

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Patches of bare ground provide a space for weeds to germinate and grow. Prevent these blank spaces by sowing crimson clover seeds "in fall to allow them to germinate and do their thing in spring," says Roethling. "They are annuals but will last for a couple of months. They flower in mid-spring and will set seed and go dormant by summer." Crimson clover works in full sun and any soil conditions—in fact, it's a great plant to grow if you want to improve clay soil.

Zones: 6

Size: 12 to 36 inches tall x 12 to 18 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Full sun; any soil conditions

06 of 12


Ajuga flower

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Ajuga forms a dense mat that makes it difficult for weeds to push through. "This evergreen ground cover will draw in all the pollinators with lavender flower spikes that contrast against rich, dark foliage," says Wilson. There are many varieties of ajuga to choose from, but it's best to opt for one of the less aggressive types to keep it from taking over your landscape.

Zones: 4 to 11

Size: 11 inches tall x 15 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade; rich, well-draining soil

07 of 12


Yarrow plant

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If planted in groups, yarrow will successfully choke out weeds in your yard. The native perennial has flower heads that form tiny clusters of flowers. Its showy blooms come in a range of colors, including orange, yellow, and red, depending on the variety.

Zones: 3 to 8

Size: 36 inches tall x 36 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Full sun; well-draining soil

08 of 12

Sweet Woodruff

Sweet Woodruff plant

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One way to prevent weeds is to use plants to create shade in your yard. Enter: sweet woodruff. "In the right place, this plant will spread by its roots and make a dense mass, preventing much light from reaching the ground," says Roethling. "In spring, a whorl of leaves on 6-inch stems emerge, giving rise to umbels of white flowers."

Zones: 4 to 8

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall x 9 to 18 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Full shade; loamy to rich, well-draining soil

09 of 12


purple clematis flowers


There are many varieties of clematis, but sapphire indigo clematis is ideal for suppressing weeds. "Perfect for sprawling across the garden and choking out weeds, sapphire indigo clematis is a breakthrough, non-climbing clematis that matures into a low-growing shrub," says Wilson. Plus, it has stunning flowers that fill your landscape with interest all summer long.

Zones: 4 to 9

Size: 36 inches tall x 36 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Full sun; well-draining soil

10 of 12


carex plant

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This low maintenance sedge makes an excellent ground cover in shady areas. Carex encompasses a vast genus of more than 2,000 species of plants that are successful weed suppressors. "Carex Evercolor Everglow is an easy-care grass that can add drama to a space while discouraging weeds," says Wilson.

Zones: 5 to 9

Size: 2 to 18 inches tall x 2 to 18 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Part shade; moist, well-draining soil

11 of 12


azalea bush in garden

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A common flower known for bringing good luck, azaleas add instant curb appeal to your yard thanks to their showy blooms. "Planted en masse, azaleas create a lovely backdrop while shading the soil, and their dense foliage suppresses weeds," says Wilson.

Zones: 6 to 9

Size: 3 to 20 feet tall x wide (depends on the variety)

Growing Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

12 of 12



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A shade loving perennial that's easy to maintain, green-and-gold emerges in early spring with bright green leaves quickly followed by yellow-orange, daisy-like blossoms. "It will spread by above ground shoots, but it's an ideal ground cover to suppress weeds," says Roethling.

Zones: 5 to 9

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall 36 to 48 inches wide

Growing Conditions: Partial to full shade; average, moist soil.

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