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Xeriscape Gardening: Looking for a good drought resistant florida ground cover

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Forum: Xeriscape GardeningReplies: 12, Views: 245
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Fort Lauderdale, FL

January 25, 2009
5:55 AM

Post #6047842

I want to plant something in my swale that doesn't need much water and stays green while not being suceptible to weeds (preferably flowering). Any thoughts? I was considering maybe verbena? or vinca? It's currently full sun, but I'll be adding trees which will eventually lead to a shady environment. So, ideally, it would be flexible in regard to light. Any thoughts are appreciated!!
Vieques, PR

January 25, 2009
2:24 PM

Post #6048418

Consider arachis pinto as an initial phase --it's in the peanut family, salt and drought tolerant, shallow-rooted, slows erosion, aerates and fixes N in the soil for any subsequent planting phases. See science here

It's worked well for me. Plant during a rainy period, or irrigate initially to get it going and you'll quickly have a lush green "clover-like" low, deep-green ground cover with small, bright-yellow flowers in abundance. Photo attached was only a couple months after initial planting on 9" diagonal centers --it's now much thicker, totally shading out weeds, and providing unlimited sprigs for use in other areas.

If you then want to change over to vitiver or some other plant permanently, you can kill arachis off easily with weed-b-gon or similar (perish the thought in my case, but I hear it's easy)), and start from scratch, having improved your soil a lot. Or, you can in-plant larger plants selectively --over-seeding won't work without killing off the arachis first, because of shading effect.

Note that this plant is drought tolerant in the sense that it will SURVIVE an extended drought, bouncing back literally within an hour of rain or watering. It is not unaffected by drought, though --its leaves and flowers fold back in a dry spell to expose its mesh of runners, but it does seem to come right back.

Thumbnail by JPlunket
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Vieques, PR

January 25, 2009
3:12 PM

Post #6048605

better pic at
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7b)

February 17, 2009
6:46 PM

Post #6151763

Liriope muscari would work well. I believe Liriope is used a lot in the South. Liriope spicata spreads by runners and is considered invasive. Liriope muscari is a clumping plant and doesn't take things over.

(Zone 4a)

February 18, 2009
7:13 AM

Post #6154713

I mainly drought resistant perennials here in Wyoming since we don't get that much moisture, unless we water. I can't recommend any plants for your climate in Florida because I don't know which hardy perennial can grow in your warm climate. However, I can give you the address of an online company that specialize in waterwise gardening. My daughter and I have both ordered from them in 2008 and we recommend this company highly. Beautiful plants and excellent packing. You can request a free catalog also.

The name is High Country Gardens, located in NM

The web site is
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 18, 2009
3:17 PM

Post #6155504

High Country Gardens is great, but they specialize in plants for dry western climates and Florida is the complete opposite of that. Some of their things will do well in wetter more humid climates but many will not. If you scroll down to the bottom of each page on most of their plant listings it'll tell you how much annual rainfall each one can tolerate and what areas of the country it'll do well in.
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7b)

February 18, 2009
9:39 PM

Post #6157151

Agreed ecrane3. Many of HCG's plants want arid conditions. Florida does have sandy soil in general though. It drains very well and is low in nutrients. A plant has to be able to deal with dry soil during times with no rain if not watered, and with lots of water when it rains.
Fort Lauderdale, FL

February 21, 2009
6:01 PM

Post #6169959

thanks - i'll check hgc out!
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7b)

February 21, 2009
10:43 PM

Post #6170875

Classy groundcovers would be a good site to investigate too.

They let you specify several conditions for a search and give you a list of groundcovers that will work in those conditions.
Oakley, CA
(Zone 8b)

March 31, 2009
6:43 PM

Post #6345832

How about Thyme? There are alot of varities, they get flowers and takes water, drought sun or shade. I have sandy soil and live in a hot climate and my thyme seems to thrive in my xeriscape garden.
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

September 21, 2009
8:46 AM

Post #7086664
Beggs, OK

November 13, 2009
4:29 PM

Post #7270260

...can be a lot less expensive with this option.
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

November 14, 2009
1:40 PM

Post #7273001

than ks Marzett971. . that is a good site. good prices too...

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