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

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

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Looking for grasses for slope around retention pond in Florida
August 02, 2011 - I live in St. Petersburg, FL on a large retention pond. Most of my neighbors on the pond have seawalls. I do not nor do my neighbors to my left and right. I am interested in colorful grasses to put...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover Under Maple Tree in Ottawa That Takes Foot Traffic
April 19, 2013 - Hi, I am looking for a groundcover to put under a large maple tree that will be alright for kids to run about on and will be happy in the Ottawa climate. Your other answers to similar questions have b...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sunny, sandy site in Central Texas
January 22, 2015 - I live between La Grange and Schulenburg, Texas. My soil is sandy. Full sun, no trees. I am a senior citizen with limited funds who is allergic to Rye and Bermuda grass. I tried planting a lawn of...
view the full question and answer

Native grass mix for Bastrop County, TX
February 25, 2014 - I plan to put in a small lawn on a tract of land near Rosanky, TX in Bastrop County. There are scattered oaks but the yard space will be mostly open. Soil is basically sandy. Is there a good native...
view the full question and answer

Move Roses or Ornamental Grasses in Crown Point, Indiana
September 15, 2010 - I have two ornamental grasses that grew real wide this year. They are blocking three big knock out roses that are four foot tall and four foot wide. My question is which one would be easier to dig up ...
view the full question and answer

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