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A steppingstone plant is a groundcover that tolerates foot traffic, though some plants can be stepped or walked on more than others. Light traffic plants can withstand occasional traffic; moderate traffic up to a couple of times a day; and heavy traffic bears foot traffic three or more times a day. When planting between pavers or steppingstones, plant so that soil level is sufficiently below the walking surface to allow for plant compression when stepped on and plant crown is not crushed.
Soil amendments such as humus or compost are extremely beneficial; nearly all plants grow better in soil that retains moisture, drains well, and is fairly fertile. Pathways tend to be drier and more compacted than the rest of the yard. An added mixture of soil, sand and small gravel improves poor draining compacted soil. While each plant variety has its own planting and watering recommendations, walkway plants will need water frequently for the first 2 to 4 weeks, or until the plants are established.
Some of the most preferred choices include: Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed), Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper), Lotus Plenus (Double Birds Foot Trefoil), Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny-Moneywort), Mazus reptans, Sagina subulata (Irish Moss and Scotch Moss), Sedum spurium 'John Creech' (Stonecrop), Thymus 'Elfin Thyme', Thymus 'Wooly Thyme', and Trifolium repens Bronze Dutch Clover.
For Heavy Foot Traffic consider:
Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis f/k/a Laurentia fluviatilis) Rapid-spreading perennial with blue flowers. Works well around roses, decks, patios, and in rock gardens.
County Park (Pratia pedunculata) Tough, tight, green-leafed creeper with violet blooms. Good for patios and walkways.
Thyme (Thymus) Evergreen, drought-tolerant; good between flagstones, pathways and stone crevices or on slopes.
Green Carpet or Rupturewort (Herniaria glabra) Indestructible evergreen groundcover with white blooms; turns red in winter. Excellent in walkways.
Miniature Brass Buttons (Leptinella gruveri) Indestructible carpet of tiny serrated leaves; white flowers. Can even withstand car traffic.
For Light to Medium Foot Traffic consider:
Double Bird's Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus 'Plenus') Versatile, hard-working fast grower with dark green leaves; yellow blooms.
Irish and Scotch Moss (Sagina) Mosslike groundcover that dislikes extremes of wet and dry; white flowers. Flourishes between stones and in rock gardens.
Miniature Daisy (Bellium minutum) Diminutive spreading daisies on wiry stems. Good between paving stones or in border areas.
Pink Pussy Toes (Antennaria dioica 'Rubra') Creeping mat of silver-gray leaves; fuzzy pink blooms. Good for rock gardens and paths.
Stonecrop (Sedum spurium) Compact creeping succulent; deep purple flowers. A favorite for rock gardens.
Mazus reptans Low-growing mat of bright green leaves; white blooms. Ideal for rock gardens and between pavers.
Partial/ Full Shade
Creeping Jenny or Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia) Vigorous, fast-spreading, low-growing mat of bright, shiny green leaves; yellow flowers.
Creeping Speedwell (Veronica repens) Tough creeper; white flowers. Works well between pavers or in woodland settings.
Brass Buttons (Leptinella squalida) A fern creeper with yellow button flowers; turns bronze in some climates in fall; very soft underfoot. Good around pavers and conifers.
Variegated Pennywort (Hydrocotyle sibthorpiodes) Speedy grower; likes wet conditions; white, green, and yellow flowers. Good around ponds or stepping stones.
Plants with shallow root systems and those that establish new roots at leaf nodes generally perform better in harsher conditions. Click below for more plant information -