Best plants for planting alongside pathways, filling gaps in garden paths, patios and cracks in concrete.

Plants to fill gaps in patios, paths and concrete
Plants used to fill gaps in crazy paving
Some plants like to be crushed, some don't.

In this article I have listed the best plants to plant around and fill the various gaps in pathways, concrete and patios in a garden. I have listed them in categories that take foot traffic into account. 

As with most garden flowers, shrubs and plants, sun and shade are important considerations too.

Plants for paths and pathways with light foot traffic, for areas with heavy foot traffic and plants for gaps in a patio are listed below.  

  • Plants suitable for planting in gaps in patios and pathways.
  • Plants for paths and pathways with heavy foot traffic that are walked on regularly.
  • Plants for cracks and crevices in paths and pathways with light foot traffic.
  • Preparing the soil for planting plants in gaps.


Plants suitable for planting in gaps in patios and pathways.

 Plant low growing plants for cracks and crevices between pathway slabs, bricks, cobbles. In fact, any material used for path surfaces that have a space in it. Even cracks and crevices in old concrete paths can be planted with plants from the list below.

Planting plants in paths will brighten up the path with foliage colour and sometimes flowers and will also help suppress and keep weeds out. Best of all, some species like Thyme give of scent when crushed under foot.

As in the rest of your garden, select pathway plants for tolerance to full sun, shade and water and soil requirements, but above all else, foot traffic tolerance.

Plants for paths and pathways with heavy foot traffic that are walked on regularly.

Thyme is  one of the easiest of the "tolerant to being walked over" plants to grow in pathways. When Thyme is  crushed it releases a distinctive scent, 
Woolly thyme 
has flat branches that spread out over the path and will push its way up and over the edging. It's one of the plants that really doesn't mind being walked all over. It grows to about  3-inches tall and because it grows flat, really does work well in pathways.  It has tiny woolly grey leaves and in June produces pale mauve flowers that attract bees.
Like most thyme, it's easy to care for and a quick prune once a year will keep it under control and encourage new growth. 
It does prefer full sun and well drained soil, so Woolly thyme is not a plant for shady or damp pathways. 
Brass Buttons

 is an unusual evergreen plant that will tolerate part shade and damper conditions and does not mind being walked on.  It's a  native of New Zealand so you may have to do a bit of searching for this plant.  Its ideal for paths and ground cover, only growing to about 2 inches high and forming a creeping weed-proof mat with foliage resembling  tiny, delicate fern fronds.  It makes great ground cover, minimising weeding, as it forms a tight carpet of green.

It is a creeper so will need blocking from areas around the path, you might need to stop it spreading too. 

Blue star creeper 
will also tolerate light shade and being walked on regularly and crushed to release its scent, but prefers a well-drained soil.  Producing pale blue blossoms in early summer and only growing to about 1/2 inch tall it is a lovely plant to fill the gaps in pathways, patios and cracked concrete. 
Bear in mind though, its semi evergreen and will shed its leaves in low winter temperatures. 
It's a creeper so block it from areas around pathways you don't want it spreading to.

Plants for cracks and crevices in paths and pathways with light foot traffic.

 Pathway plants suitable for planting in areas with light foot traffic, 

These pathway plants are great plants for planting alongside garden paths and between stepping-stones.

Acaena ‘Blue Haze’.  forms a beautiful 4-inch-tall mound, spreading quickly  to about 3 feet. The leaves are bluish gray and its flowers turn into small, dark-red, burr like fruits. ‘Blue Haze’ prefers full sun and fast draining soil. 
Kewensis’ wintercreeper. Grows in sun or shade  so is perfect for planting alongside shady parts of garden paths and patio edging. It prefers well drained soil, growing to about 4 inches high and spreading  to about two feet, so looks good in rockeries too.  It forms tall waves of tiny glossy-green leaves and looks good planted with contrasting colours. 
Using plants in cracks and crevices
Plants soften the look and feel of the patio area and add a bit of charm. It is especially good for those who want a less formal looking patio and will be much cheaper than repairing it.
Aubrieta deltoidea, Dianthus deltoids, Erinus alpinus, Scabiosa graminifolia, and Thymus.
Globularia cordifolia, Lewisia tweedyi, Saxifraga callosa, Sedum spathulifolium, Sempervivum, and Thymus.
Plants for planting in pockets:
America maritime, Campanula portenschlagiana, Cerastium tomentosum, Sedum telephium, and Veronica prostrate.
And my favourite plant to plant in pathways and garden paths that don't get to much foot traffic is Chamomile. 
Chamomile has aromatic, threadlike, feathery' leaves that when stepped on and crushed, fill the air with the scent of apples.
There are several varieties of chamomile, I prefer the flowering one for planting alongside pathways and in the gaps of lightly used garden paths. 
Chamomile Anthemis nobilis is a perennial  growing to about 30cm with flower spikes during July and August. Both the flower and leaves give of the scent of apple when crushed underfoot. The foliage is dark green, almost grayish and the flowers are daisy like. Young leaves and flowers can be gathered to make a chamomile tea. 
Chamomile Treneague  does not flower and  makes an attractive lawn.  Young leaves can be gathered to make a calming tea.


Filling gaps in patios with plants. 
If your patio is a bit old and tired, plants used to fill gaps in pathways can also be used to fill cracks, crevices and replace broken slaps in areas of the patio that are not walked on to often. 
To make room, remove the broken slab or chisel out an area big enough, break up the soil, and plant your plant, remembering that some plants like to be walked on and some don't, some plants tolerate full sun some won't.
Select from the plants I have listed above to suit the conditions in your garden, full sun, shade or damp and foot traffic.

Preparing the soil for planting plants in gaps.

Whatever plants you are planting in cracks, concrete, gaps in paths, pathway edges or steps. The area will need to be prepared by removing weeds, digging out any hardcore used to build the base and breaking up the compacted topsoil. This can be done with a screwdriver or small scraper. If the soil is really poor you could add some compost from your heap or topsoil from another part of the garden.

If you are planting seeds, prepare the area in the normal way and keep the soil moist until they grow, then thin them out leaving only the strongest plants.  Sowing seeds tips