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?


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
3 ratings

Monday - February 04, 2008

From: Ocala, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Native ground cover to replace grass in Florida.
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Where can I find a list of ground covers to replace my grass. I live in the south of Ocala Florida.


The Native Plant Society of Florida has lists of native plants to use for landscaping in Florida. You can search by county and I believe you are in Marion County.

Here are a few recommendations from their list for groundcovers that do well in Marion County, Florida:

Dyschoriste oblongifolia (oblongleaf snakeherb)

Licania michauxii (gopher apple)

Mimosa strigillosa (powderpuff)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle frogfruit)

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (narrowleaf blue-eyed grass)

Zamia pumila (coontie)

You can also see a list of Florida Recommended native plants on our web site. Here are several recommendations from this list that would serve well as groundcovers:

Ceratiola ericoides (sand heath)

Chamaecrista nictitans ssp. nictitans (sensitive partridge pea)

Gaylussacia dumosa (dwarf huckleberry)

Also, you might consider one of the sedges, such as:

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Dyschoriste oblongifolia

Mimosa strigillosa

Mitchella repens

Phyla nodiflora

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Ceratiola ericoides

Chamaecrista nictitans ssp. nictitans

Gaylussacia dumosa

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis



More Groundcovers Questions

Erosion Solution for Lorton, VA
February 07, 2014 - We have a steep slope in our common area of our homeowners association. Trees that were planted have died. It is a large area around a pond. What should we plant that will hold the soil? The soil...
view the full question and answer

Low Groundcover for Washington State
February 03, 2015 - I'm trying to find a perfect fit for my piece of land in the State of Washington. I would say that the area is partly sunny and a somewhat moist area. I'm looking for a species of very small everg...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Lighthouse Point FL
April 13, 2012 - 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, alon...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow between patio pavers
March 15, 2013 - We'd like to use poured concrete pavers for a deck. What grows well, whether it be grass or other, between these. We'll have 4-6" between 4 foot pavers. And would love to find something that does...
view the full question and answer

Identity of groundcover in Parker County, TX
June 02, 2013 - I'm trying to identify a native "groundcover" that looks much like frogfruit, as far as the leaves and growth pattern, but has small yellow flowers that look like little lanterns as buds. I know it...
view the full question and answer

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