En Español

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

Lawn fertilizer in Austin
February 23, 2012 - My lawn person wants to spread granulated spring fertilizer on my lawn. Problem is I have a very old Live Oak tree that I do not want to kill. What should I avoid spreading on my lawn to prevent t...
view the full question and answer

Wintering non-native liriope spicata indoors in Chillicothe IL
November 08, 2013 - I live in zone 5, zip 62523, wintering liriope spicata starter plants in basement, ambient consistent. Do I need grow lamps or is the plant satisfied being dormant as long as I do not let it dry out? ...
view the full question and answer

Will Habiturf be chicken feed from New Caney TX
November 21, 2013 - How well does your recommended native turf grass mix hold up against chickens or do double duty as feed? I have a mixed use property that will house Rabbits, Poultry (chickens/duck/geese), and ev...
view the full question and answer

Erosion tolerant plants for shade from Kerrville TX
August 06, 2013 - We have just cleared a lot of cedar out of a small draw and would like to know the best groundcovers, shrubs, etc. to plant to hold the soil. Deep shade most of the day.
view the full question and answer

Making a pollinator garden
August 11, 2014 - Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center