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

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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

 

 

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