Few things are more delightful than a tranquil garden path marked by stepping stones, particularly when the spaces between those stones are occupied by soft and colorful groundcover plants. Although most groundcover will struggle to survive under high foot traffic, other species will thrive and flourish regardless of how often they are stepped on -- and they are often available to buy as wholesale plants. These are four unusual and beautiful plants that are hardy enough to be grown as part of a walking path while still being comfortable enough to be navigated barefoot.
Mondograss, or lilyturf, is a Japanese evergreen perennial that spreads quickly and grows well in partial shade or full sunlight. In summer and fall, delicate white or purple flowers ripen into bright blue berries, which are generally safe for humans and pets to consume. Dwarf mondograss never grows more than a few centimeters high, making it ideal for weaving between stepping stones.
Most mints grow tall, wide and wild when given the opportunity, but Corsican mint is unique in that it remains close to the ground for its entire growth cycle. When stepped on, the crushed mint releases a pleasant, refreshing smell similar to peppermint. Corsican mint is particularly useful for dry, shaded walkways, though it will grow in full sun as well. Most of the time, Corsican mint is composed only of small, vibrant green leaves, but it does occasionally break out in small purple flowers in summer.
This South American native is instantly recognizable by its small, vibrant flowers and succulent, cactus-like foliage. It requires full sun but is relatively drought-tolerant, meaning it won't shrivel up if you neglect to water your walkway for a few days. Portulaca grows somewhat taller than the rest of the plants on this list, but regular foot traffic should be enough to keep it contained. Even better, most members of this family are edible and commonly cooked up or tossed into a salad.
Mazus is a creeping flower hailing from the Himalayan mountains, and its long blooming season makes it particularly popular for garden walkways. Besides being sturdy enough to handle the occasional foot from above, mazus is also known for spreading quickly, so be prepared to prune or contain this plant if it starts expanding beyond your comfort. By choosing one of these groundcovers over a more fragile variety to plant between your stepping stones, you will soon transform your mundane path into an enchanting and sweet-smelling walkway. Talk to a landscaper, like Kauai Nursery & Landscaping Inc, for more ideas.