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

Thursday - July 18, 2013

From: Pensacola, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Poolside Groundcover Suggestions for Florida
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I live in Milton, FL near Pensacola. We just had a pool installed and now want to put groundcover around the perimeter. It will be an area about 70 feet long and 10 feet deep. It will be full sun. We would like something that is evergreen and possibly flowers. There is concrete around the pool so this area will not have to be walked on although that would be a plus. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you for your help.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential groundcover plants for around your pool is our Native Plant Database.  Finding native plants that can be walked upon with any frequency is going to be a big challenge though.
Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Florida, Habit (herb for herbaceous), Duration –Perennial, Light Requirement – Sun, Leaf Retention – Evergreen, and Height Specifics ( 0-1 ft.). You can narrow down this search further by indicating blooming time and color, soil moisture (dry, moist or wet).
Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list. Think about including plants that have interest during a variety of seasons and that have more than one attractive feature (flower, fruit, foliage, etc.) so you can get more benefits out of fewer plants. 
This search resulted in 5 plants:

Antennaria plantaginifolia (plantain-leaf pussytoes) A low, colony forming plant with basal leaves and crowded flowers heads that look like cat paws. May grow better with a little shade.

Asplenium trichomanes (maidenhair spleenwort) A short, evergreen fern. Prefers moist conditions.

Callirhoe involucrata (winecup) Purple, cup shaped blooms in the spring and early summer.  Plant sprawls along the ground. Very drought tolerant and needs well-drained soil.  May go dormant in the summer. Prolong the growing season by deadheading the spent flowers before seed forms.

Callirhoe involucrata var lineariloba (poppy mallow) White or white with pink streaked flowers in spring. The trailing form would work well as a groundcover. Very drought tolerant.

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf coreopsis) Very drought tolerant. Spreads by self seeding. Deadhead to prolong the blooming into summer. 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Evergreen plant to cover parents' graves in Louisiana
June 30, 2013 - We want to plant ground cover on our parents graves in Plain Dealing Cemetery in north Bossier Parish LA. Soil is red clay/dirt. Want native plant, slow growing, short not tall plant, that might sta...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen ground cover for PA
February 08, 2012 - I live outside of Harrisburg, PA. We are looking for a perennial ground cover that is long blooming and evergreen. It would be planted under some trees that would give them the whole range of sun (f...
view the full question and answer

Flowering Shade Plant for California
February 21, 2016 - I have a house north facing that has a "flower bed" in front that unfortunately is shaded 100% of the time. There are roses in the bed currently (they came with the house) but they do poorly. We are...
view the full question and answer

Ground covers for play area in Plano, TX
April 14, 2007 - Is there a ground cover that would work under and around a swing in our front yard in Plano, Texas. It would get morning sun and dappled shade from a trimmed live oak in the afternoon. It would need t...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover Planting in Shiro TX
July 09, 2015 - I have been collecting seeds from White Avens and Texas Sedge to use as ground covers. What is the optimal time to plant these seeds? We have been experiencing heavy rains in our area lately, so I am ...
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