Low Miant. ground cover suggestions for Orlando home,

degrees(9b Orlando)June 27, 2010

We live in Orlando and would like to plant a ground cover instead of the volcanic rock cover between higher plants due to the constant weeds poking up and taking over. We don't know a lot about plants (yet) and work long hours so low maintenance is the idea of having a ground cover that would not require much trimming (low growing) yet can survive in central florida's climate i.e. mostly hot and sunny but does get much cooler than South FL from Nov-Feb. We get frost at least once every winter which seems to kill some of the plants.

The soil does not percolate well, so is often damp if not wet. The area gets a lot of direct sun most of the day, little shade except in the later evening.

Some friends have Asiatic Jasmine which seems hardy and pretty. The white and green leaves are quite beatiful. Any other ones as pretty colored as these that would work as well?

Do any berries or herbs grow well as a ground cover in Central FL? I love the idea of planting any type of edibles.. but at this point we aren't going to be choosy, but it would be nice.

Edible, Non-edible - any suggestions welcome :)

Any suggestions on this would be GREATLY appreciated. Our front garden looks pitiful with the weeds and grass poking up everywhere as fast as we can pull them.

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We have the low-growing junipers that are filling in really nice, and we have clay soil so it stays pretty wet. They take awhile to start going but they are very thick and lush. Don't know if you want very low plants or higher? The Asiatic Jasmine is great, but my husband won't have it because it can get out of hand eventually if you don't keep it clipped. If you like something higher, there are a lot of ornamental grasses that might work. Mundo grass stays low. Astec grass is higher, then there is Liriope, higher. A native grass, Muhly grass, is beautiful in the fall, has pink, soft grassheads that wave in the breeze, but they have to be cut back before spring. Then there is African Iris, it is pretty hardy. And you can divide it up after awhile and make more plants. I don't know whether daylilies are considered a ground cover but they love the sun and look beautiful in large plantings. There's also a native called Coontie, it's low-maintenance, in fact they have planted a bunch of them here in the highway medians. There are many more, but not sure exactly what you are looking for. As for berries, can't think of anything that you could consider a ground cover.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 7:24PM
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I too am in Orlando and a couple of years ago searched for a low maintenance ground cover. Finally settled on perennial peanut. It's very pretty this time of year ... a bright green with small yellow flower (sorta buttercupish) ... not so pretty Dec, Jan, Feb. It is hardy. Can withstand our freezes (no problems last winter) and droughts. The only maintenance I do is to edge it every 2 to 3 weeks. It is in full sun. Good luck with your choices.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 9:26PM
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drudadunat(9b Tampa FL)

You can't go wrong with the asiatic jasmine. It takes the Florida heat, rainy season and dry season with no problems at all. Once it's established it needs very little care.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 12:45PM
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degrees(9b Orlando)

Thanks for the advice so far. Ritaweeda, to answer your question, I was looking for low-growing, that would carpet the garden floor per se. The problem with any of the grasses are that my Hubby is allergic to grasses, but the Muhly grass does look quite pretty. The type that would grow into a thick, creeping cover like the Jasmine would be good. The Perrenial peanut suggested looks like it would work, from the images I found on the web.

More suggestions welcome...

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 7:27PM
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Another suggestion and one that works well is Texas Frog Fruit (Lippia nodiflora). It's a small prostrate spreading perennial forb, has soft green leaves when water is plentiful and blooms from spring through fall. It is widespread in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions. It makes an excellent ground cover and has been suggested as a lawn substitute.

In warmer regions and those protected from frosts it will grow as an evergreen.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 10:51AM
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oak leaf ficus.......you'll love it.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 5:56PM
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ice plant! (delosperma) I noticed it's not very popular here however mine are doing great after being planted for only a few months. Flowers open during the day and close up at night. You can just cut off a tendril and stick it into the ground and it will start a new plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: ice plant

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 3:35PM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

I have some ice plant and it did really nicely in the spring...this summer heat has killed most of it. I am in Port Saint Lucie, it may do better farther north.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 5:40PM
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I didn't know we could even grow oak leaf ficus in 9a! Does it do well for you?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 7:04PM
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beachlily z9a

Is asiatic jasmine salt tolerant? I love the look of it and would like to replace the grass in the no-man's land 'tween street and sidewalk. I'm about a block from the beach.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 7:57AM
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rednofl(9b Goldenrod Fl hz 10)

I run every morning and get to see alot of the neighborhood. A few people try to replace the grass in the utility easement with other ground covers. Asiatic jasmine and the beach flower seems to work. Last year one person killed his grass off covered it with plastic and proceded to put in that horrible red rubber mulch. Well I thought to each his own. He also put to beautiful creamic pots and planted 2 kinds of sweet potato vines the lime colored ornamental and a purple one they filled about half the strip and of course died back this winter. I noticed a few small potatoes spread out where the vines were. well this year it has completly covered the area and it is strikingly beautiful and weed free . Now I started my garden partially to get rid of all my grass and using edible landscaping appeals to me. I would much rather eat it than mow it. I have 6 types of sweet potatoes started this summer and 2 types look promising. I plan on trying a small experiment with one or two out front next year minus the rubber mulch LOL.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 5:41PM
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have had oak leaf ficus for years, freezes back a bit, but comes back every spring. did a bunch of cuttings last fall, just put ten more pots of it in different gardens. will have to shoot a picture of it, will post it soon.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 7:27AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

I second the Asiatic Jasmine, I'm on a bayou to Tampa Bay and the lake I live on is brackish so I'd have to guess it is salt tolerant. I don't want to post the pictures again so here's the link with my pictures/response to the previous post about perennial peanuts.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 10:23AM
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beachlily z9a

Tom, thanks for the pictures! I'll have a good sized project this fall.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:26PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

My pleasure. I purchased one gallon specimens at the Big Box and put them in at 12" intervals, used a post hole digger to dig holds 6" deep so it went fairly quickly.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 6:59AM
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