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 - November 02, 2009

From: Orlando, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Septic Systems
Title: Native plants to replace St. Augustine over septic area
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

Hi. We're new to Orlando, FL and need some help with plants that would be suitable to grow over our septic field. It's on the west side of the house, full sun. We live in a subdivision that required that every disturbed area be planted over with St. Augustine grass, but I'm not a fan of massive lawns, and we have a one-acre lot. The law has since changed, so the sub/d will be forced to allow us to remove some of the resource-wasting St. Augustine. Can you suggest some lovely plants for us? PS - It think it's absolutely fabulous that Mrs. Johnson's legacy is continuing. This is a great website.

ANSWER:

Thanks for asking! Mr. Smarty Plants is always happy to help natives re-take some ground. This answer to a previous question suggesting native Florida groundcovers may be helpful.

Do you have the leeway to plant a meadow? It would be rougher-looking than lawn – and taller, but would include meadow wildflowers. Listed below are some grass and wildflower species native to Florida. The  Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly) and Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass) are clumping and somewhat taller grasses, not suitable for mowing.  

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass)

Rhexia alifanus (savannah meadowbeauty)

Phlox nivalis (trailing phlox)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Rudbeckia triloba (browneyed Susan)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Anemone berlandieri (tenpetal thimbleweed)

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Coreopsis gladiata (coastal plain tickseed)

Coreopsis grandiflora (largeflower tickseed)

 


Muhlenbergia capillaris

Eragrostis spectabilis

Rhexia alifanus

Phlox nivalis

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia triloba

Salvia coccinea

Anemone berlandieri

Aquilegia canadensis

 

 

More Septic Systems Questions

Tree roots in sewer from Paragould AR
September 30, 2012 - I have beautiful pecan trees, an apple in the back yard, a pine on the west side of the house and pecan trees in the front yard. Two trees are interrupting my sewer systems (at least one in the back y...
view the full question and answer

Native groundcover plants for septic drain field
July 02, 2004 - I'd like to plant wildflowers over my newly installed septic drain field, but am told they should not have deep root systems. What would you suggest?
view the full question and answer

Plants for aerobic septic system in Houston
February 03, 2011 - My husband and I would like to plants some trees and shrubs, but we have an aerobic system taking up most of the yard :( Can you recommend any trees that won't hurt that? Also shrubs for our weath...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a septic system in Poland IN
September 22, 2009 - Hi, we have a septic system under a large front yard at a newly acquired lake cottage in southern Indiana. The yard is completely unlandscaped. I'm trying to find if there are are any safe trees I ...
view the full question and answer

Desert Willow Roots from Lubbock, TX
September 18, 2014 - I have a very, very happy Desert Willow that has grown larger than we expected and is probably too close to the house. Do I need to worry about a cracked foundation or pipe problems? Thanks!
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