Monday, May 10, 2010

Great Groundcovers

Groundcovers are landscape plants that are low-growing and can cover large (or small) areas of your landscape. They may be alternatives to grass, particularly in very shady or hard to maintain areas of the yard. They can be used on slopes for erosion control where mowing may be difficult. Whatever purpose you need a groundcover to serve, choose one of the following groundcovers as they are tough, easy-to-grow groundcovers for Central Florida.

1. Asiatic Jasmine

Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) is an evergreen groundcover that will grow in full sun to full shade. It will grow to about six inches tall and can spread up to ten feet. It can be mowed or pruned with an edger if you desire a manicured edge. This low-maintenance groundcover is perfect under large shade trees where grass will not grow.

2. Perennial Peanut
Perennial Peanut 'Ecoturf' (Arachis glabrata 'Ecoturf') is a drought-tolerant variety of Perennial Peanut. If you are purchasing Perennial Peanut make sure that you purchase this variety if you are seeking drought-tolerance. Perennial Peanut is often used as a an alternative to grass. You can purchase it as sod or plugs, just like grass. It grows to only four to six inches high and will spread. It has small yellow flowers and grows in full sun. This is great for high traffic areas and sunny, dry locations.

4. Sunshine Mimosa
Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant groundcover. It grows well in full sun and can cover large areas very quickly. It will grow to about three inches high and can spread up to eight feet. This Florida native can withstand a variety of soils and it does very well in poor, sandy soil. Sunshine Mimosa is a vine-like groundcover with delicate leaves and small powder puff pink flowers.

5. Beach Sunflower
Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis) is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant groundcover. It grows best in dry, sandy soil in full sun. Beach Sunflower will grow to about two feet high and six feet wide. Give it plenty of room to grow! It will bloom with small yellow flowers year-round and will re-seed itself readily in your garden in the spring. This is a very tough plant!

For more information on great groundcovers for your yard contact the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service, Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program at You can also contact us at (863) 519-8677.

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