Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - March 02, 2011

From: Palm Coast, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for beachside planting in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What type of ground cover is best for beachside planting. Looking to replace lawn with salt tolerant, weed resistant, drought tolerant, little mowing, insect resistant ground cover. Any flowers are a plus. Thanks.

ANSWER:

The Florida Native Plant Society has an excellent, very useful website with recommended native species for all areas of the state.  The lists also gives information on salt and drought tolerance.   From the list, "Natives to Grow in FLAGLER County" I found the following plants that meet most of your criteria.

Helianthus debilis (Beach sunflower) has both an erect and a prostrate form.  The latter is ideal as a ground cover.  It is drought tolerant, salt spray tolerant, grows well in sand and has colorful yellow flowers.  Here is more information.

Licania michauxii (Gopher-apple) is a low, evergreen shrub that is highly drought tolerant and salt tolerant.  It grows well in the sand and tolerates both frost and intense sun.  Here are more photos and more information.

Ipomoea imperati (Beach morning glory) is a vine that grows well on the beaches of northeast Florida.  It is very drought and salt tolerant.  Here is more information.

 Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) is drought tolerant and salt tolerant and grows well in sand.  You can see it growing alongside the beach morning glory in one of the photos in the link above.

Zamia pumila (Coontie) shows high drought and salt tolerance.  Here are more photos and more information.

There are a couple of ornamental grasses that are tolerant of salt and drought that you might consider using as accent plants.

Eragrostis elliotii (Elliott's lovegrass) is salt tolerant and moderately drought tolerant. Here are more photos and more information.

Uniola paniculata (Sea oats) is highly drought and salt tolerant.  It is tall and attractive.  Here is more information.

Here are photos of some of the plants above from our Image Gallery:


Helianthus debilis


Ipomoea imperati


Ipomoea imperati


Phyla nodiflora


Phyla nodiflora


Zamia pumila ssp. pumila


Uniola paniculata

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Ground cover for New York sloped area
November 24, 2009 - I'm looking for native ground covers (vines?) for steep, heavy shale sloped areas as well as a ground cover in gently sloped area, preferably not higher than 6 inches. All that I've found is non-nat...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shady area in north Texas
July 29, 2013 - I'm looking for a ground cover for a mostly shady area where St. Augustine won't grow. I don't want the ground cover to overtake my established St. Augustine in the rest of the yard. The area is un...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool area in Kentucky
June 12, 2010 - We live in central Kentucky and have a backyard pool that desperately needs some landscaping. I would like plants that don't drop a lot of leaves or "trash". I'd like a list of great poolside pl...
view the full question and answer

Prairie wattle for woodland area in Austin
November 29, 2009 - Can prairie wattle be grown in a woodland area? It would get part shade, with full sun for at least half a day. The soil is a bit rocky; location is Austin.
view the full question and answer

Filler for between flagstones in Michigan
July 05, 2014 - I have a natural shoreline project underway (replacing a seawall) with all native Michigan plants replacing the lawn as well. A flagstone walkway is going in and I wanted "moss" type filler in betw...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.