En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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. 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Plantain-leaf pussytoes
Antennaria plantaginifolia

Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

Poppy mallow
Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba

Poppy mallow
Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Need a pretty ground cover to control erosion in Rigdeway, SC.
June 09, 2012 - What is a fast, pretty ground cover blanket to control erosion on steep hill. gets full sun.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Cahaba lily from Columbia TN
September 03, 2011 - My cahaba lilies have so many seed pods. I would like to use the seeds properly to grow more lilies. Can anyone tell me the best way to go about it? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Plants for red clay in Hattiesburg, MS
May 16, 2011 - Looking for plants and flowers to plant in red clay?
view the full question and answer

Why is oakleaf hydrangea not blooming now in Irving TX?
July 01, 2009 - I live in Irving Texas and have an oakleaf hydrangea. It bloomed in the early spring and now it is not blooming. Is there anything I can do to get to bloom?
view the full question and answer

How do I prepare blackfoot daisies for winter in Austin, TX
October 19, 2010 - I have blackfoot daisies in my garden that have bloomed all summer. They are cascading out of the bed onto my lawn/grass. They have been so beautiful that I hate to cut them back. How do I prepare t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center