En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - March 02, 2009

From: Homestead, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for south Florida
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in south Florida, south of Miami about 30 miles. I would like to get rid of my St. Augustine lawn and plant native grasses. Can you please suggest some plants I could use? Will buffalo grass grow this far south?

ANSWER:

We are always happy to help gardeners replace their non-native, sometimes invasive lawns with natives. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is all about the use of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown, where they will require less fertilizer, water and maintenance. We have two excellent How-To Articles, Native Lawns and Buffalograss, which can answer your questions much better than we could. We checked our webpage on Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and learned that it is not native to Florida. We suspect there might be too much moisture in Florida for a plains grass. You will likely get more on-the-spot information on this from the University of Florida Extension Office for Miami-Dade County. From that site, we first clicked on Lawn and Garden, and then on Florida Yards and Neighborhoods.  They may not put the emphasis on natives that we do, but could very well have information on the viability of buffalograss in your area.

We will go to our Native Plant Database, do a COMBINATION SEARCH, selecting Florida for the state and "Grasses or Grass-like Plants" under Habit. From that, we'll choose some that we think would work in your native grass lawn. You can follow each plant link to its individual page and learn how high it will get, when it blooms, its light requirements, etc. At the bottom of that page, there will be a Google link that will take you to more information. When you have made your choices, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environment consultants in your general area. 

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Aristida stricta (pineland threeawn)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Eleocharis montevidensis (sand spikerush)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Paspalum floridanum (Florida paspalum)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Tridens flavus var. flavus (purpletop tridens)


Andropogon glomeratus

Aristida stricta

Bouteloua curtipendula

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Chasmanthium latifolium

Eleocharis montevidensis

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Paspalum floridanum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Tridens flavus var. flavus

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Evergreen ground cover for San Antonio
August 03, 2011 - Is there a short, evergreen, drought tolerant ground cover which will tolerate light traffic that can be used instead of grass? San Antonio, Texas
view the full question and answer

Habiturf for East Texas
May 14, 2012 - We live in east Texas, right on the beginning of the piney words, the soil is a little sandy. We have taken up a wooden walkway but can't get anything to grow there. Could the soil be dead from year ...
view the full question and answer

Setaria scheelei grass for San Antonio
March 21, 2011 - It seems that ornamental grasses for dry shady places are few and far between. Southwestern Bristlegrass (Setaria scheelei) is exactly what I'm looking for and would solve all my problems! Only I c...
view the full question and answer

Best time to plant wetland plants in NY
April 19, 2010 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants - I'm working on a fresh water, shoreline wetland creation project in New York State. I've created two zones of native wetland plantings, an emergent shallow marsh zone ...
view the full question and answer

Native Grasses for Quebec
August 21, 2014 - I saw an article in the Martha Stewart magazine on native grasses. I live in Canada in Rimouski, in the province of Quebec. I am wondering if native grasses would grow here in the region? Our hardine...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center