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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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Friday - April 13, 2012

From: Lighthouse Point, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Groundcover for Lighthouse Point FL
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I am looking for mowable ground cover for part of my back yard. Due to a Mahogany tree, a hammock, surrounding foliage and a fence, there is alot of shade in the area, along with alot of leaves. Do you know about a particular grass (other than St. Augustine which did not work), and/or mowable groundcover which can survive the heat, shade and rainy season in the summer (I live in southeast Florida)? I am unable to tell you exactly what kind of soil I have, other than it has sand in it but it is also dark.

ANSWER:

A native plant groundcover is probably your best choice to be able to survive the heat, shade and rainy season in the Florida summer.  There are a number of grasses that are attractive.  These can be surveyed by checking out the recommended species for Southern Florida and sorting for "grasses" as the aspect.  I find most of those a bit too tall and sparse for a groundcover, so Mr Smarty Plants favorite recommendations are  Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) or Sesuvium portulacastrum (Shoreline seapurslane).  I found several similar questions in the Mr Smarty Plants archives. I’ve arranged them in order of distance from Lighthouse Point.  The first two or three are definitely in similar soils and climates.

Fort Lauderdale

Groundcover for Maimi

Shaded Groundcover, Cape Coral

Ocala

Panama City

Also, it would be a great idea to also check the The Native Plant Society of Florida recommended website for Florida native plants and the website for Plant Real Florida.

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Shoreline seapurslane
Sesuvium portulacastrum

Railroad vine
Ipomoea pes-caprae

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium angustifolium

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