By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
Ground covers are an attractive way to cover a lot of area in a garden quickly. Snow in summer flower, or Cerastium silver carpet, is an evergreen ground cover that flowers from May to June and grows well in zones 3-7. This stunning European native is a member of the carnation family and is deer resistant.
Flowering is profuse, with blooms that are silvery white and star-shaped, and when in full bloom, this mounded plant resembles a pile of snow, hence the plant’s name. However, the flowers are not the only attractive part of this showy plant. The silver, grayish green foliage is a dainty addition to this plant and retains its rich color year round.
Growing Snow in Summer Plants
Growing snow in summer plants (Cerastium tomentosum) is relatively easy. Snow in summer likes full sun but will also thrive in partial sun in warm climates.
New plants can be started from seed, either directly sown into the flower garden in early spring or started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last expected frost date. The soil must be kept moist for proper germination but once the plant is established, it is very drought tolerant.
Established plants may be propagated by division in the fall or by cuttings.
Space the snow in summer flower 12 to 24 inches apart to give plenty of room for spread. Mature plants grow to 6 to 12 inches and have a spread of 12 to 18 inches.
Care of Snow in Summer Ground Cover
Snow in summer ground cover is very easy to maintain but will spread rapidly and may become invasive, even earning the nickname mouse-ear chickweed. The plant spreads quickly by reseeding and sending out runners. However, a 5-inch deep edge will usually keep this plant in its borders.
Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer when planting and a phosphorus fertilizer after plants bloom.
Don’t let Cerastium silver carpet ground cover go unnoticed. Growing snow in summer plants in rock gardens, on slopes or hillsides, or even as a knockout border in the garden will provide long-lasting pearly white blooms and stunning silvery color year round.