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

Holding bare soil before sowing native grasses in spring.
November 03, 2009 - I want to try your buffalo/bluegrama/curly mesquite. Right now my yard is ploughed. What should I do until spring? I assume I should add living compost to the top 3", plant bluegrass for now, and ...
view the full question and answer

Narrow strip of groundcover from Sonora TX
April 29, 2013 - I have an area that is right under my patio about 12 feet by 1 ft. I'm looking for something to plant in there. It has afternoon sun, morning shade. I live in SW Texas so it is hot. but would like so...
view the full question and answer

Controlling erosion in Leburn KY
July 21, 2009 - I would really appreciate advice on controlling a serious erosion problem in eastern Kentucky. The slope is north facing, shady and moist with rich soil. Would prefer to use native Kentucky plants. ...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant grass with little need for mowing for Hill Country of Texas
November 17, 2011 - What grass would you recommend for the hill country of Texas that is drought tolerant and does not need frequent mowing?
view the full question and answer

Need grasses to stabilize a moderately steep slope in Pennsylvania
May 17, 2010 - Hello. We have a moderately steep slope in a shady area that is in need of some help. The grass that is in place there seems to be thriving - nice and green, with good growth. However, kids running...
view the full question and answer

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