Best Stepable Plants: Learn About Plants That Can Be Walked On

Close-up of Veronica flowers from a low angle
Image by fabioveronesi

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

What are walkable plants? They’re exactly what you think – plants that can safely be walked on. Walkable plants are often used as lawn replacements because they are tough, drought-tolerant, and require very little maintenance. Keep in mind, however, that these plants to step on may not be as durable as traditional lawn, and many won’t hold up to heavy foot traffic.

Using Stepable Plants in Gardens

Some types of walkable plants are deciduous and die down in the winter, but many evergreen varieties are attractive year round. Walkable plants work well along a pathway or bordering a flower bed and many work well in stubborn spots where grass won’t take hold, such as a dry spot under a tree or shrub.

Most of the best stepable plants require absolutely no care once the plants are established, while others may need a trim once or twice a year. Keep in mind that many low-growing walkable plants can also be invasive.

Plants That Can Be Walked On

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While there are a number of plants that can be walked on, below are some of the best stepable plants:

  • Wooly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) is a type of ornamental thyme with fuzzy leaves and stems. This plant, which grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, withstands considerable foot traffic. One warning: wooly thyme sports tiny pink blooms that attracts bees. This may be a consideration if you have children, or if you enjoy barefoot strolls through the garden.
  • Creeping wire vine (Muehlenbeckia) is one of the best stepable plants for zones 6 through 9. Creeping wire vine displays glossy green leaves. Although the tiny white flowers are insignificant, they are replaced in late summer with small white fruit.
  • Blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatus) is a hardy stepable plant that tolerates climates as far north as zone 5. This evergreen plant displays tiny blue flowers that last all summer. Blue star creeper isn’t the perfect solution for every situation because this rambunctious plant can be invasive.
  • Veronica (Speedwell) “Waterperry blue,” suitable for zones 4 through 9, is a stepable plant with deep green leaves that take on copper and burgundy highlights when the temperature drops. The springtime blooms are bluish-lavender with white centers.
  • Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii), suitable for zones 6 through 9, is an aromatic, evergreen stepable plant with tiny lilac blooms that show up in summer. Corsican mint can be slightly invasive, but as a general rule, it tends to be better behaved than most of its mint-family cousins.

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