Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Climatic adaptations
 Cultural methods
 Soil adaptations, light requirements,...
 Species and varieties
 Ground covers for special...
 Index of botanical and common...
 Historic note

Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; no. 744
Title: Selected ground covers for Florida homes
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027177/00001
 Material Information
Title: Selected ground covers for Florida homes
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 41 p. : ill., map ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Dickey, R. D ( Ralph Davis ), 1904-
McElwee, E. W ( Edgar Warren ), 1907-
Crevasse, J. M ( Joseph M. ), 1915-
Publisher: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1971
Subject: Ground cover plants -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Plants, Ornamental -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 40-41.
Statement of Responsibility: R.D. Dickey, E.W. McElwee, J.M. Crevasse, Jr.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "This is a revision of Experiment Stations Bulletins 364 and 473."
General Note: Includes index.
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027177
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001596975
oclc - 01823869
notis - AHM1105

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Climatic adaptations
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Cultural methods
        Page 7
    Soil adaptations, light requirements, and desirable characteristics
        Page 8
    Species and varieties
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Ground covers for special purposes
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Index of botanical and common names
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Historic note
        Page 42
Full Text




orida Agricultural Experiment Stations
stitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
diversity of Florida, Gainesville

bulletinn 744
arch 1971






Climatic Adaptations .........---.............. 4

Propagation .............--..... ...... 5

Seeding ....--..--- --- --............... 6

Cuttings ................-...------- -.. 6

Layering ..... ...---- -.....----------. ---... ........- 6

Division ... .........7- ..- .... .... .....- --. ---- 7

Cultural Methods ..-............-- ....-...--------.-.-. 7

Soil Adaptations ...... ..........------------ 8

Light Requirements .---. .....- .........------ ------------- b- -

Desirable Characteristics ..........---- ..........---- 8

Species and Varieties ----------- 9

Ground Covers for Special Purposes ----- ---- 38

Index of Botanical and Common Names ..............- 40


R. D. Dickey2, E. W. McElwee3 and J. M. Crevasse, Jr.1

The mild climate and abundant rainfall of Florida are con-
ducive to development of attractive gardens. However, as with
gardening anywhere, there are some problems to overcome.
One problem of landscape plantings in Florida has been treat-
ment of areas which are not suited for lawns because of dense
shade, competition of tree roots, steep slopes, or for any other
reason, but which are unsightly if left unplanted.
Horticulturists are not always in complete agreement as to
the exact definition of a ground cover. Some think of ground
covers as plants having the same characteristics and performing
the same functions as lawn grasses. Others broaden the defini-
tion to include all low growing plants used to cover areas where
grass fails to grow or used where grasses are not desired. As
used here, the term "ground cover" includes any plant or group
of plants, other than grasses, which will satisfactorily cover the
ground, forming a compact and attractive cover and, either
growing naturally to a height of not more than 10 to 15 inches
or easily kept low by pruning.
Ground covers are generally used under trees, on slopes and
banks, in parkways, and in rock gardens. Ground covers may be
used whenever they serve as a pleasing and functional part of
the landscape. Using ground covers in a variety of places can
contribute to making an outstanding garden.
Some ground covers have characteristics similar to lawn
grasses and may be handled in the same way; examples include
dichondra and lippia. Very few ground covers can be mowed or
walked upon, as most of them grow from 4 to 12 inches in
'This is a revision of Experiment Stations Bulletins 364 and 473 by J. M.
Crevasse, Jr., formerly Superintendent of Grounds, University of Florida.
'Professor (Ornamental Horticulturist), Florida Agricultural Experiment
'Professor (Ornamental Horticulturist), Florida Cooperative Extension

Extensive use is also made of certain types of shrubs as
ground covers. These shrubs generally have a very low and/or
spreading habit of growth, and when pruned, make a compact
and attractive ground cover. There is a large source of avail-
able plant materials that can be used for this purpose. Examples
are shore juniper and dwarf forms of yaupon, junipers, fire-
thorn, and carissa.
Generally, ground covers should not be planted under or
close to trees that reproduce readily from seed in nature, be-
cause the resulting seedlings, which come up in the ground
cover are difficult to control. Some "weed trees" that fall in
this group are cherry-laurel, camphor-tree, sweet gum, mimosa,
australian-pine, and cajeput-tree.


Ground covers should be adapted to the environment in
which they are to be grown if they are to be considered satis-
factory for landscape planting. Because of differences in winter
temperature minimums between northern and southern sections
of the state, comparatively few ground covers are adapted
throughout Florida.
On the basis of response to low temperatures occurring with-
in Florida, ground cover plants may be classified as tender,
semi-hardy and hardy. To aid in identifying section of the state
in which ground covers are adapted, the state has been divided
into three general sections: 1. the southern or warmest part of
the state; 2. the central, which is more frequently subjected to
some frost; and 3. the northern, which is subjected to the
heaviest frosts (Figure 1). Although there are no clear cut
lines of definitions between these sections, many species may be
grown successfully in one section and not in the other two.
Tender ground covers are confined almost entirely to south-
ern Florida, which is relatively frost free (Section 1 on map).
Many semi-hardy plants that are grown in Section 2 may be
successfully grown in the warmer parts of Section 3. Hardy
plants can generally be successfully grown throughout northern
and northwestern Florida (Section 3 on map).
Many ground covers formerly classed as tender have been
found to be semi-hardy and are suitable for use in warmer
parts of central Florida. Caltrops and wedelia growing in pro-
tected locations have endured temperatures as low as 26' F
without injury. Probably many of the tender ground covers

NO. 3

NO. 2

NO. 1

Figure 1.-Map showing the three temperature zones of Florida as used
in the description of species in this bulletin.

will stand lower temperatures if allowed to mature and become
hardened prior to a freeze.
Some ground covers require a dormant period, induced by
cold, for proper growth. This is the case with ivy, bugle-weed,
and periwinkle. Carolina yellow jessamine will grow in warmer
parts of Florida, but some cold is necessary to obtain heavy
Certain of the ground covers, such as lippia and coontie,
can be grown successfully throughout the state. They are among
the few that tolerate most of the ecological conditions occurring
within Florida.


The easiest and most commonly used methods of propa-
gating ground covers are by cuttings, layers, and divisions. In

some cases propagation by seed is recommended, as cuttings
are difficult to root and transplant successfully. Many plants
recommended as ground covers may be propagated by seed,
however, scarcity of seed of some plants limits this method of


In some cases, seeds may be sown directly in prepared soil
in the area where plants are intended to grow, but this method
is generally not highly successful. Size of seed, amount of seed
available, and size of the mature plants govern the density of
seeding. With most ground covers better success is obtained
if seed is planted in a flat or nursery row and the seedlings
then transplanted to pots for one or more seasons before setting
them in their permanent locations.


Species that are herbaceous may be rooted satisfactorily at
any season of the year, but bottom heat will speed up rooting
during the winter months. Woody and semi-woody species
generally root best under mist in late spring and summer.
Some plants root better in some media than others, but gen-
erally a medium of sand, I1 sand and 1 peat, or perlite and
/2 peat is satisfactory for rooting most ground covers.
Cuttings should preferably be made about 4 inches long.
The basal cut is best made just below a node. Several leaves
should be left at tip of the cuttings, the others stripped off.
When cuttings develop roots about 2 to 3 inches long, they
should be transplanted directly to the area in which they are to
grow, or to pots or nursery rows until they have attained suf-
ficient size for transplanting.
Some ground covers can be successfully grown from cuttings
placed directly in the ground where they are to grow. Species
that may be treated in this manner include bugle-weed, dich-
ondra, peperomia, lippia, wedelia, and wandering jew. Cuttings
should be kept well watered until they have rooted and are well


Propagation by layering may be employed with Carolina
yellow jessamine, junipers, and confederate jasmine. Layering

consists of laying a branch or stem on the ground and covering
with soil. After roots form on the layered branch or stem it
should be cut from the parent plant and planted in the desired
location. Layering may be performed at any season, but best
results are obtained during spring and summer months.


The increase of plants by division is perhaps the easiest
and most rapid means of propagation. Division is simply the
dividing of plants that have rootstocks, tubers, offsets, or suck-
ers, the parts being cut or broken into pieces. Some ground
covers successfully propagated by division include bugle-weed,
creeping lily-turf, dwarf lily-turf, dichondra, ferns, and peri-


Ground covers vary in their cultural requirements, and no
attempt is made to discuss special cultural requirements of
each plant. Instead, general principles for successful culture
of ground covers as a whole are given.
A thorough preparation of the planting area before setting
plants is very important. This may be done by spading, disking
or rototilling to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Roots, weeds and
foreign material should be removed, and soil leveled and moist-
ened before planting. One-fourth to one-third by volume of
organic matter and 1 to 2 pounds per 100 square feet of ferti-
lizer, such as a 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 (nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and
potash), incorporated into the bed before planting will improve
plant growth and aid establishment of plants. Newly set plants
with poor root systems should be shaded, but plants with good
root systems need not be shaded if soil is not allowed to become
Ground covers require nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and
other essential elements to maintain vigorous growth. Vigorous
growing ground covers such as wandering jew require more
fertilizer than slower growing and woody forms such as cuphea.
An application of fertilizer containing from 6% to 12% nitro-
gen, 4% to 8% phosphoric acid, and 4% to 10% potash (such
as a 6-6-6, 8-8-8 or 12-4-8) is sufficient for most ground covers
if applied in the spring and/or mid summer at the rate of 2 to 4
pounds per 100 square feet.

Some ground covers are relatively drought-resistant, while
others are easily injured by insufficient water. Proper attention
to watering needs, especially where species requiring high mois-
ture are grown on relatively dry soils, is necessary.


Generally ground covers differ little in their soil require-
ments, and principal requisites are an adequate supply of mois-
ture and nutrients. Few ground covers require a definite soil
type or pH range, although most grow best in slightly acid soils.
Few ground covers are tolerant of dry sandy or water-logged
soils as most require moist but well drained soils. Lippia is
the only ground cover listed that can stand submersion in water
for days without injury.


In the following discussion of adaptability and requirements
of the several species the terms "full sunlight," "partial shade,"
and "full shade" are used. These terms are defined as follows:
When a plant is grown in an open and unshaded location re-
ceiving 75% or more direct rays from the sun, it is referred to
as growing in full sunlight. When a plant is grown in a partly
shaded location receiving 40% to 74% of the total rays of the
sun, whether shade occurs during the morning or afternoon
hours, or whether distributed throughout the day, it is con-
sidered as growing in partial shade. When a plant receives
little or no direct rays from the sun, and shade is consistent
throughout the day, as under large evergreen trees, this is re-
ferred to as full shade.


Certain features or characteristics of ground covers de-
termine their relative desirability. These include light re-
quirements, soil adaptations, resistance to low and/or high
temperatures, salt tolerance, ability to endure mowing or
shearing, tolerance to wear, time required to develop an ade-
quate covering, resistance to insects and diseases, and suit-
ability for preventing erosion on banks and slopes.
A good ground cover should have all or as many of these
desired characteristics as possible and yet provide inexpensive
and satisfactory covering of the soil. Plants recommended are

the species that provide the most desirable and satisfactory
covers under conditions of varying use in Florida.

The following list contains those species and varieties of
plants most suitable for ground covers in Florida that are
generally available to the public. No attempt, however, has
been made to include all plants which may be used for this
purpose, since some are not available from nurseries.
Nomenclature of native plant materials follows Daniel B.
Ward, Check List of the Vascular Flora of Florida Part I,
Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations Bulletin 726, 1968.
Nomenclature of cultivated plant materials and all family names
follows International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
Because of the many common names and their variable use,
the arrangement is alphabetical according to botanical name.

Figure 2.-Bugle-weed, Ajuga reptans var. rubra.

Plant genus and species are given first, followed by the family,
the common name or names, section or sections of state to which
adapted, and native habitat. The common names and scientific
names are indexed alphabetically. The first common name given
is preferred, but others in common usage are listed.

Ajzga reptans. Labiatae. Bugle-Weed. Southern, Central
and Northern areas. Europe, Northern Africa and Western
Bugle-weed is a herbaceous perennial creeping by stolons
and having erect flowering stems (Figure 2). Flowers are
usually violet-blue, sometimes red, white or purplish, and borne
in terminal spikes in early summer. The dark green leaves are
oblong-elliptic or obovate, and about 11 inches long. The bronze
leaf form, A. reptans var. rubra, is the one commonly grown in
This plant grows best in shade or partial shade on well
drained, fertile soils, but will tolerate soils of average fertility.
It is hardy throughout the state, but does not do well on sandy
soils of central and southern Florida. No mowing or shearing
is required, since the plant seldom exceeds 2 inches in height
except at time of flowering, when it may reach a height of 12
inches (Figure 3).
Bugle-weed is a vigorous ground cover and has long been
used for this purpose in northern states. There are large and

Figure 3.-Bugle-weed, Ajuga reptans var. rubra, growing in a par-
tially shaded location.

attractive plantings in northwestern Florida. It may be used
satisfactorily as a covering under trees, for slopes and banks,
in parkways, and as an edging plant. It is propagated by seeds,
cuttings, and divisions, usually by the last method. Space plants
4 to 8 inches apart each way, preferably in the fall or early

Asparagus sprengeri. Lilaceae. Sprenger Asparagus. South-
ern and Central areas. South Africa.
Sprenger asparagus is a herbaceous perennial having numer-
ous trailing stems to about 12 inches high, and fleshy, tuberous,
white roots. The leaves are reduced to scales, and the branch-
lets are dark green, linear, 1/2 to 11/2 inches long, and borne in
fascicles of 3. The whitish-pink, fragrant flowers are borne
in open racemes during early summer. The fruit is a bright-red
berry, 12 inch in diameter, which ripens in the fall.
This plant does well in full sun or partial shade and in a
moist, fertile soil, and is tolerant of a wide range of soil reac-
tion. It will stand temperatures as low as 220 F, but is not
recommended for the northern half of the state. It cannot stand
trampling, but once established, growth is vigorous and a good
covering may be obtained in a growing season or less.
Sprenger asparagus makes an attractive cover when grown
in fertile soils. This plant is especially adapted to covering
slopes and banks and under trees, and to growing in window
boxes and hanging baskets. Propagation is by seeds and divi-
sion. Seeds germinate in about 4 weeks. Plants may be set 8
to 12 inches apart each way.

Cuphea hyssopifolia. Lythraceae. Cuphea. Southern area.
Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
Cuphea is a small evergreen shrub seldom exceeding 12 to
15 inches in height. Leaves are opposite, linear to lanceolate,
and about 1/2 inch long. Small light violet, red-purple to white
flowers are produced throughout the year in southern Florida.
This plant grows well in full sun or partial shade and is
tolerant to many soil types. Because of susceptibility to cold,
use of this plant as a ground cover should be confined to south-
ern Florida. Shearing is seldom required, but over a period of
years some trimming may be necessary. Because of its shrubby
type of growth, cuphea will not stand trampling and since it is
small and grows slowly, good coverage requires a year unless
large plants are used.

Cuphea is a dependable and attractive small shrub, requires
a minimum of care, and is especially adapted for bright sunny
locations. It is extensively used as an edging or border plant
and as a pot specimen.
Propagation is by seeds and cuttings, and tip cuttings taken
in spring and summer may be potted in 6 to 8 weeks. Plants
ready to be transplanted to the bed should be set 6 to 12 inches
apart each way.
Dichondra carolinensis. Convolvulaceae. Dichondra. South-
ern, Central and Northern areas. Southern states.
Dichondra is found growing in hammocks, pinelands, and
along banks and roadsides. It is a creeping herb seldom over 1
or 2 inches in height. The bright green, alternate leaves are
reniform to suborbicular, and are about 1/2 to 1 inch across.

Figure 4.-Dichondra (foreground) seems to grow equally well in sun
or shade.

Flowers are axillary and inconspicuous.
This plant does equally well in sun or shade, grows best in
moist soils but may also be grown on well drained soils, and is
tolerant of a wide pH range. This plant is resistant to salt
spray. Dichondra is one of the few ground covers hardy
throughout Florida. Because dichondra is seldom more than 1
or 2 inches tall, mowing or shearing is not necessary, and it
will stand traffic as well as any of the lawn grasses (Figure 4).
It spreads rapidly, and a good covering may be had in 2 or 3
months from seed.
The main objection to the use of this plant is susceptibility
to infection by an Alternaria fungus which starts in the leaf,
then travels into the stem, and eventually down into the stolon,
causing high mortality. Provided the Alternariat fungus does
not appear, dichondra is an excellent ground cover for either
sunny or shady locations. It is one of the lowest growing ground
cover materials adaptable to Florida conditions.
Propagation is by cuttings and division of sod. A cover can
be established by using small pieces of sod set 8 to 12 inches
apart each way. If cuttings are employed, they may be spaced
as close as 3 to 4 inches.

Euonymus fortune var. radicans. Celastraceae. Common
Wintercreeper. Northern area. Japan and southern Korea.
Common wintercreeper is a low evergreen shrub with trail-
ing stems. It is usually less than 2 feet in height, but may climb
to a height of 20 feet. Leaves are dull green with whitish veins,
oval, and up to 2 inches long. Inconspicuous greenish-white
flowers are produced during the summer, and fruit is a greenish-
white capsule.
This plant may be grown with equal success in full sunlight
or partial shade. It grows best in a moist, fertile soil, acid in
reaction, but also grows well in soils of average fertility.
Wintercreeper is hardy and grows best in northern section of
Florida. It can be used as a cover for open areas and is also
good for covering banks and slopes. Shearing may be required
from time to time, but it will not stand trampling. Under opti-
mum growing conditions a good cover of wintercreeper may be
expected in 6 months or less.
There are other varieties and selections of this plant that
may be used as ground covers in Florida. Some of these are:
'Colorata', the purple-leaved wintercreeper which has leaves
that become reddish in the fall and bronze in winter; Baby

wintercreeper, a fine textured, low growing plant with leaves
about 1 inch long; 'Silver Edge' wintercreeper, which has
white margined leaves.
This plant is propagated by seeds, cuttings, and layers.
Plants should be set 12 inches apart each way.

Ferns. Polypodiaceae. Southern, Central, and Northern
The ferns recommended are native of Florida and the
tropics. They are terrestrial, perennial plants having a hori-
zontal or short stem (rhizome) developed underground. Leaves
(fronds) are from a few inches to several feet long, bearing
fruiting structures (sori) as dots on lower surface of the leaves.
All ferns recommended are best adapted to shaded locations.
As a whole, they do best in a loose, fibrous, moist but well
drained soil and are tolerant of a wide pH range. Heavy soils
and standing water are to be avoided. Of the ones recom-
mended, all are hardy throughout Florida except the leather-
leaf fern, Polystichum adiantiforme. Ferns will not endure

Figure 5.-Ferns often add attractiveness to the landscape and are
available in wide variety.

trampling and require no pruning, except removal of dead
fronds. Under conditions of optimum growth a good covering
of ferns cannot be expected in less than 3 or 4 months.
Ferns are generally grown for their gracefulness and beauty
of foliage. Thus, they will furnish a suitable covering and add
charm to the garden when used as a ground cover (Figure 5).
They may be used satisfactorily as a covering for small areas
or for broad areas, as under large evergreen trees. Sometimes
they are used as an informal edging or border, and quite often
they are grown in window boxes and as pot specimens.
Ferns recommended for ground covers include holly-fern,
Cyrtomium falcaturm, tuber sword-fern, Nephrolepis cordifolia,
common sword-fern, N. exaltata and cultivated forms of its
var. bostoniensis, purplestalk sword-fern, N. biserrata, and
leatherleaf fern, Polystichum adiantiforme.
They are propagated by division, buds or offsets that form
on the fronds of certain kinds, and by spores. Spores should
be sown on well prepared soil or peat surface and not watered
or covered on top. From 8 to 12 months usually are required
to produce good ferns from spores. When transplanted to where
they are intended to grow, they should be set from 6 to 12 inches
apart each way, depending on size and habit of growth.

Ficus pumila. Moraceae. Climbing Fig. Climbing Rubber.
Rubber Vine. Southern, Central, and Northern areas. Asia.
Climbing fig is an evergreen creeper usually growing to less
than 12 inches in height, but climbing up to 60 feet or more on
trees and buildings. The leaves, 1 to 4 inches in length, are
dark glossy green above and lighter below, and flowers are in-
conspicuous. This plant does well in full sunlight or partial
shade, is tolerant of a wide range of soils, and can be grown
throughout Florida. A fault of the vine is that its stems may
become large and woody. Climbing fig may be used as a dense
cover on large areas, and for covering rock or stone. It is quite
suitable for seacoast plantings, as it will withstand salt spray.
Mowing or trampling is not recommended, but an occasional
shearing may be necessary.
Propagation is by cuttings and layers. The later method is
more commonly used. Plants set 12 to 18 inches apart each way
will make a good cover in about 8 months.
Ficus montana, the oak-leaf fig, grows less vigorously, and
is a better ground cover for some locations, than F. pumila. This
plant is tender and is best adapted to southern Florida.

Gelsemium sempervirens. Loganiaceae. Carolina Yellow Jes-
samine. Yellow Jessamine. Carolina Jessamine. Southern, Cen-
tral, and Northern areas. Native.
Carolina yellow jessamine is found widely distributed in
open hammocks, but is also found in thickets, open fields and on
rocky bluffs. It is a twining evergreen vine with purple stems
(main stems of large vines are gray) and opposite, dark green,
lanceolate leaves that are up to 4 inches long. The bright yellow,
fragrant flowers, from 1 to 11,/ inches long, may be solitary or
in small cymes and appear during late winter and early spring.
This plant may be grown successfully in full sunlight or
partial shade, but when shaded flowering is reduced. It is best
adapted to hammock soils but may be grown successfully on a
wide variety of soils if well supplied with moisture. Being quite
hardy, it is used successfully throughout the state on adapted
soils, but does not flower profusely in central and southern
Florida. It may be sheared as needed. Carolina yellow jessa-
mine is slow growing, and only a light covering may be ex-
pected the first year after transplanting.
Where slopes, banks, and large open areas are involved, the
Carolina yellow jessamine is highly recommended. It should not
be used in small, crowded locations, nor should it be planted
near shrubs or trees because of its twining habit of growth.
When in flower this plant is hard to surpass in beauty. All parts
of this plant are poisonous.
Propagation is by seeds, cuttings, and layers, but layering
is generally used. Young plants should be set 8 to 12 inches
apart each way.

Glottiphyllum depressum. Aizoaceae. Fig-Marigold. South-
ern and warmer parts of Central areas. South Africa.
Fig-marigold is a prostrate perennial herb up to 6 inches
in height, stemless or nearly so, with narrow tongue or strap-
shaped leaves that are soft and pulpy, up to 4 inches long (Fig-
ure 6). Flowers are yellow, to about 11/ inches across, and
borne in late spring and early summer.
This plant grows best in full sun and does not do well in
shade. It is best adapted to dry sandy soil, but also grows vig-
orously on fertile soils with a pH range of 4.0 to 8.5. Being a
subtropical plant, it is injured by temperatures a few degrees
below freezing. It can endure direct exposure to salt spray with-
out injury. The habit of growth and extreme succulence of the
fig-marigold do not make mowing or shearing desirable and do

Figure 6.-As a covering for barren sandy or rocky places, fig-marigold
(foreground), Glottiphyllum depressum, is hard to surpass.

not permit trampling. Since this plant has a moderately vigor-
ous habit of growth, a good covering of the soil may be expected
in a season. This plant is excellent as a covering for barren
rocky places, for dry sandy banks and slopes, and for use in
rock gardens.
Propagation is by cuttings and seeds. Cuttings of the fig-
marigold are preferably taken in spring, summer, and fall and
will root under the same conditions as those under which the
plant grows. They are generally set directly in the bed about 4
to 6 inches apart each way.

Hedera canariensis. Araliaceae. Algerian Ivy. Northern
area. Canary Islands and North Africa.
Algerian ivy is a woody evergreen high-climbing vine that
climbs by aerial roots, but without support grows to about 6

Figure 7.-A mixture of Algerian and English ivies. They are ever-
green vines which thrive in shady locations.

inches in height. Leaves are shallowly 3 to 7 lobed and cordate
at the base (Figure 7). Flowers are small, greenish-white, and
inconspicuous, and the fruit is a berry.
This plant grows best in shade but poorly in full sunlight.
It has long been assumed that the ivies grow best in rich, moist
soil having a pH similar to that required by azaleas (pH 5.0 to
6.5). However, they have been observed growing satisfactorily
in soils with a pH range of about 4.0 to 7.0. This species is
hardy throughout the state and quite resistant to salt spray.
Shearing may be practiced as needed. Under good cultural con-
ditions a good cover of the Algerian ivy cannot be expected in
less than a year.
In northwestern Florida Algerian ivy is the most commonly
used ground cover. It is confined to the northern part of the
state because success depends upon a dormant period, and in
central and southern Florida the climate is such that dormancy
seldom occurs. This plant is usually employed as a ground cover
under trees, in parkways, on banks and slopes, and sometimes
as an informal edging.
English ivy, Hedera helix, can be used similarly where a
finer textured planting is desired. Frequently English ivy is
confused with Algerian ivy, but English ivy has smaller leaves
than Algerian ivy.

Propagation is by cuttings and layers. Cuttings may be
made in spring or summer and rooted under mist. Plants should
be spaced 12 or more inches apart each way.

Hemerocallis spp. Liliaceae. Daylily. Southern, Central, and
Northern areas. Europe to China and Japan.
The low-growing daylily varieties are quite adaptable as
ground covers. The daylily should not be planted in full shade
or in any location where competition from tree roots would be
excessive. It represents one of the few groups of plants that
are relatively disease and insect free, and therefore is highly
recommended for ground cover purposes when partial shade or
full sunlight is available. This plant is easily propagated by
division of the clumps or by cuttings, though the later method
is not commonly used.

Juniperus conferta. Cupressaceae. Shore Juniper. Southern,
Central and Northern areas. Japan.
Shore juniper is a prostrate, spreading shrub, seldom more
than 15 inches in height. Leaves are scale-like and green to
blue-green in color.
Shore juniper grows best in full sunlight but also grows

Figure 8.-Shore juniper, Juniperus conferta, is a spreading shrub
which is an excellent ground cover for sunny locations.

satisfactorily in partial shade (Figure 8). It is adapted to a
wide range of soil types, provided they are well drained, and
since it is very hardy, may be used throughout the state. This
plant is tolerant of salt spray. Once established, shore juniper
will flourish under conditions of heat and drought that many
other plants can not endure; and since they require no shearing,
they can be grown with a minimum of care.
This is a slow growing plant, and a good covering cannot be
obtained for several years unless large plants are used or smal-
ler plants are spaced close together. This juniper is an excellent
ground cover for banks, slopes, and seaside plantings and in
rock gardens.
There are several varieties and/or cultivars of the creeping
juniper, Juniperns horizontalis, that are well suited for use as
ground covers in central and northern Florida, because of their
cold hardiness and prostrate growth habit. Two of the better
cultivars of this species are: 'Bar Harbor' which has soft green
foliage and 'Wiltonii' ('Blue Rug') with blue-green foliage;
'Douglasii', Waukegan juniper, has steel blue foliage that turns
bronze to purple in winter. All are best adapted to growing in
full sun.

Lantavna montevidcnsis. Verbenaceae. Weeping or Trailing
Lantana. Southern and Central areas. South America.
Weeping lantana is a shrub having weak vine-like or trailing
branches up to 3 feet long (Figure 9). Flowers are rosy-lilac
in heads to 1 inch across. In warmer sections of the state flowers
are borne in profusion almost the year around. The fruit is a
small drupe, which is poisonous.
This plant grows best in full sunlight but will tolerate par-
tial shade. In shady locations plants grow more upright and
fewer flowers are produced. It makes a very satisfactory ground
cover on most soils, and variations in soil pH have little effect
on growth. This plant is subject to injury when the temperature
falls much below 30 F, and the plant may be killed to the
ground; however, it will generally sprout out in the spring.
Weeping lantana and several other species of lantana are mod-
erately resistant to salt spray. Weeping lantana cannot be
mowed or trampled, but once or twice a year will need trim-
ming to keep it low and compact. This plant will make a good
cover in 8 weeks or less.
Weeping lantana is a frequently used ground cover in cen-
tral Florida. Sometimes it is used alone or in combination with

Figure 9.-Weeping lantana, Lantana montevidensis, is widely used as
a ground cover in central and southern Florida.
junipers and the low growing forms of jasmine, and can be al-
lowed to droop over low walls, or used as an informal edging.
This plant is also very good for use in hanging baskets and
window boxes.
Weeping lantana is propagated by cuttings, layers, and seed.
Cuttings taken during the spring and summer will produce well
rooted plants in 4 to 6 weeks, and young plants may be set 8 to
12 inches apart each way.

Liriope spicata. Liliaceae. Creeping Liriope. Creeping Lily-
Turf. Southern, Central, and Northern areas. China and Japan.
Creeping liriope, which grows to a height of from 6 to 18
inches, depending on variety, is a perennial grass-like herb
having dark green linear leaves and long, slender, jointed root-
stocks just beneath the surface. Flowers are lilac-purple to
white and borne in spikes or racemes that are produced in
summer. The flowers are followed by one-seeded, berry-like,

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blue-black fruits that persist for some time.
Creeping liriope is especially adapted to shady locations,
doing well in partial to full shade. It may also be grown in
full sun, but is less satisfactory. Creeping liriope is adapted
to a wide range of soil types and soil reaction and, once es-
tablished, is quite resistant to drought. This plant is hardy
throughout the state, and can endure exposure to salt spray
without injury. It requires no cutting and cannot endure tram-
pling. Where creeping liriope is used, a good covering may be
obtained in a much shorter time than if the bunching form, L.
muscari 'Big Blue' is employed. Where the bunching forms are
used, they should be planted very close if a covering of the soil
is expected in a short time.
Creeping liriope, like dwarf lily-turf, may become so dense
in a period of 4 to 5 years that it is necessary to break the
clumps in small pieces and reset.
Once established, creeping liriope stands second to none in
its resistance to heat and drought, and tolerance to shade.
Propagation is by division and seeds, with division the most
commonly used method. Plants may be set at any season, and

Figure 10.-- reeping liriope, Liriope exiliflora, growing well under

spaced about 3 to 6 inches apart each way, depending on size of
plants and species used.
Liriope exiliflora is a rhizomatous species with dark green
leaves up to 13 inches long. This plant also makes an excellent
ground cover (Figure 10).

Mitchella repens. Rubiaceae. Partridge-Berry. Twin-Berry.
Squaw-Berry. Central and Northern areas. Native.
The partridge-berry is native from Florida to Nova Scotia
and occurs in abundance in damp woods and hammocks. It is an
evergreen prostrate herb with trailing and rooting stems, seldom
exceeding more than a few inches in height. Leaves are op-
posite, round-ovate, and dark green with white veins, and to 3/
of an inch long. Small white flowers occur in pairs in the spring
and are followed by a scarlet pulpy berry, about 1s inch across
in the fall.
In nature the partridge-berry is found growing in fertile
soil and deep shade. Under cultivation it requires the same
conditions, being unable to grow and thrive in full sunlight.
An acid soil reaction ranging from pH 4.0 to 6.5 is best. It is
hardy throughout most of the United States and, therefore, is
not subject to frost damage. This plant will endure a limited
amount of trampling, and since a good covering will seldom ex-
ceed 1 to 2 inches in height, no mowing or shearing is required.
Partridge-berry is a slow grower, and a good cover cannot be
developed in less than a year unless large plugs are set.
Partridge-berry is useful as a ground cover under trees,
and for covering wet banks and walls and for shady areas in
Propagation is mainly by cuttings or sprigs taken from the
woods, as it is not sold commercially. Cuttings should be taken
in the spring, set about 4 to 6 inches apart, and covered with a
thin layer of leaves to help prevent them from drying. Sprigs
may be treated the same as cuttings in this regard.

Ophiopogon japonicus. Liliaceae. Dwarf Lily-Turf. Dwarf
Ophiopogon. Southern, Central, and Northern areas. Japan and
Dwarf lily-turf is a low perennial growing to 6 to 12 inches
in height (Figure 11), and having underground stems and nar-
row dark-green, grass-like leaves. Small lilac flowers are pro-
duced on short racemes that are usually hidden by foliage. The
fruit is a blue one-seeded berry about 1/ inch in diameter.

Figure 11.-Dwarf lily-turf, Ophiopogon japonicus, is hardy through-
out Florida and can endure adverse conditions.

This plant may be grown successfully in full sunlight or in
partial shade to full shade, but best growth occurs in shady
locations. It is not restricted to any one soil tyne, but does vwell
on very poor soils, and over a wide range of soil reaction. Like
liriope, it is hardy throughout Florida and can endure direct
exposure to salt spray without injury. It should not be mowed
and will not endure trampling. Even when dwarf lily-turf is
planted close together, a good covering oi the soil will require
1 to 2 years, as this plant is slow growing. After about 5 years
dwarf lily-turf will become crowded, and may be broken up and
replanted if desired.
Dwarf lily-turf is used in much the same way as creeping
liriope for covering the ground, but has one definite advantage
in its dwarf habit of growth. However, the flowers of dwarf
lily-turf are seldom seen, as they are hidden by the drooping
leaves. This plant is used under trees, to cover large areas, in
patios, in flower and rock gardens, and where extreme condi-
tions of heat, drought, and shade are present.
Propagation is by seeds or division, with division being the
preferred method of propagation. Plants are generally divided

and reset during the fall or spring, and should be spaced from
3 to 6 inches apart each way.
Peperomia obtusifolia. Piperaceae. Peperomia. Southern
area. Tropical America.
Peperomia is a succulent herb with stout, erect or decumbent
stems, sometimes reaching a height of 18 to 20 inches and
capable of rooting along the nodes. Leaves are alternate, fleshy,
oblanceolate or obovate, to about 4 inches long. The green
flowers, which are minute and not showy, are borne in dense
slender spikes, and the fruit is an inconspicuous berry. This
plant is best suited to shaded or partially shaded locations.
Under cultivation it thrives best in a moist fertile soil contain-
ing an abundance of organic matter and an acid to neutral soil
reaction. Peperomia is a tender tropical plant, but will stand
temperatures as low as 280 F without injury. It cannot be
mowed, but once or twice each year should be cut back so that
a compact and even growth results. The fleshy and erect stems
will not endure trampling. Peperomia is not a robust grower,
and even under conditions of optimum growth a good cover
cannot be expected under 6 months.
Peperomia is one of the most satisfactory ground cover
materials recommended for southern Florida. Its waxy, dark

Figure 12.-Peperomia, Peperomia obtusifolia, is a satisfactory ground
cover for southern Florida.

green leaves provide an even balance for almost any landscape
(Figure 12). Besides its widespread use as a ground cover, it
is also used as an edging and for pot specimens.
It is propagated by cuttings, which should be rooted in
propagation beds under mist. Rooted cuttings may be planted
4 to 8 inches apart each way.

Phyla ,,,i1illri.,. Verbenaceae. Lippia. Cape-Weed. Match
Weed. Match Head. Southern, Central, and Northern areas.
Lippia is found in Florida along roadsides, on sand dunes,
in prairies and in hammocks. It is a creeping perennial herb
rooting at the nodes and seldom exceeding 3 inches in height.
Leaves are spatulate, greenish to purplish in color, and about
1 inch long (Figure 13). The flowers, rose-purple to nearly
white, are borne in congested axillary spikes almost the year
around. The fruit is a small nutlet.
This plant will flourish in full sunlight or shade, but plants
grown in the shade have a tendency to grow more open and
erect. Lippia apparently does well on soils of both acid and
alkaline reaction. It thrives on high, dry sand dunes along the
coast, and also in low moist places where it may be covered with
water for days. Once established, it is more drought resistant
than the common lawn grasses. It is quite hardy throughout

figure 13.-Lippia, Phyla nodiflora, is a perennial herb.

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Figure 14.-Artillery plant, Pilea microphylla, makes a satisfactory
ground cover in comparatively frost-free areas.

the state, and is resistant to salt spray. Because it is low grow-
ing it may be mowed and it tolerates trampling. Lippia has a
vigorous habit of growth and when properly cared for a good
covering may be had in 2 or 3 months.
Propagation is by seeds or cuttings. An easy means of es-
tablishing a cover of lippia is by using sprigs or plugs instead
of cuttings. Plugs may be set 8 or more inches apart each way,
depending on their size. Where cuttings are used they should
be set 4 to 6 inches apart each way.

Pilea microphylla. Urticaceae. Artillery Plant. Southern
area. Native and Tropical America.
Artillery plant is a succulent herb having erect stems to
about 12 inches in height. Leaves are opposite and dark green,
ovate or obovate, and about .% inch long. The flowers are uni-
sexual and inconspicuous.
This plant does well in sun or in partial shade, and will
succeed on nearly any soil type, as it is adapted to a wide range
of soil reaction and will stand temperatures as low as 26 to
28 F. No cutting is required, except that after a period of
4 to 5 years it may be desirable to head the plant back severely
in order to get a lower and more compact growth. Artillery
plant will not withstand trampling, but grows vigorously when
properly cared for, and a good covering of the soil may be had
in a few months.

Artillery plant makes a very satisfactory ground cover for
areas such as patios, terraces, and sitting areas in compara-
tively frost free locations (Figure 14). P. microphylla var.
longifolia is a tall, larger leaved plant much used for edging in
southern Florida.
Propagation is by seeds and cuttings. Cuttings made of
older growth are preferred as they give a more compact plant.
Set plants 4 to 12 inches apart each way.
Pilea nummulariifolia. Urticaceae. Creeping Charley. South-
ern area. West Indies, Panama to Peru.
Creeping charley is a succulent perennial herb having creep-
ing stems that root at the nodes and seldom exceed 1 or 2 inches
in height. The dark green, orbicular leaves are hairy and about
% inch across. Flowers and fruit are inconspicuous.
This plant does well in sun or shade, and grows best in a
moist, well drained, fertile soil, either acid or alkaline in reac-
tion, but will not tolerate a water-logged soil. In protected
locations it will stand temperatures as low as 28 F. Shearing
or mowing is not required, as its growth seldom exceeds 1 or 2
inches in height. It is very succulent in texture and cannot en-
dure trampling, but grows vigorously and will usually produce
a good cover in a few months.
Propagation is by cuttings or plugging. Small plugs may be
transplanted, and they will produce a good covering in a mini-
mum of time. Where cuttings are employed, they are set 3 to 6
inches apart each way.
Selaginella spp. Selaginellaceae. Selaginella. Southern, Cen-
tral, and Northern areas. Native and Cosmopolitan in Distri-
Erect selaginella, Selaginella caulescens, and blue selaginella,
S. uncinata, are moss- or fern-like branching herbs having erect
or prostrate stems. The scale-like leaves are 4-ranked, of two
sorts, forming an upper and a lower plane. Leaves of erect
selaginella are bright green, those of blue selaginella a pale blue-
green (Figure 15). No flowers are produced, and spores are
The selaginellas are a shade-loving group of plants that do
best under partly to fully shaded situations. They do best in
a moist acid soil containing an abundance of organic matter.
Erect selaginella is hardy throughout Florida, but the hardiness
of blue selaginella has yet to be determined. They are not
adapted to mowing but may be sheared as needed. They cannot



Figure 15.-Erect selaginella, Selaginella caulescens (left), and blue
selaginella, Selaginella uncinata (right).
withstand trampling. Under optimum conditions the selaginellas
will make fairly vigorous growth, and a good covering of the
soil may be had in one season.
Erect selaginella is an erect form, fern-like in appearance,
and is particularly adapted for covering the ground under trees
and high shrubs (Figure 16). Frequently it is used in combina-
tion with ferns, ophiopogon, and other plants.
Blue selaginella has prostrate stems, is a very vigorous
grower, and is especially desirable for use on slight slopes and
banks, large rocky areas, and other large areas. It will do well
in full sunlight or partial shade.

Figure 16.-Erect selaginella, Selaginella caulescens, is a good ground
cover for shady locations throughout Florida.

Propagation is by divisions and cuttings, but both species
are usually increased by divisions, which should be set 8 to 12
inches apart each way.

Setcreasea purpurea. Commelinaceae. Purple Queen. Purple
Heart. Purple Setcreasea. Southern, Central, and warmer parts
of Northern areas. Unknown.
Purple queen is a herbaceous perennial. The purple stems
are prostrate or trailing with upward pointing tips that grow
up to 14 inches in height. The evergreen, purple leaves are 6
to 8 inches long, linear-lanceolate with sharply acute ends, and
with bases completely circling the stem. The small pink flowers
are borne in terminal leafy bracts. There are from three to five
flowers to a bract, but only one opens at a time.
This plant grows well in partial shade or full sunlight, and
is tolerant of a wide range of soil types provided they are well
drained. A wide variation in soil pH has little effect on growth.
In protected locations it can endure temperatures down to 250
F with little injury and will sprout from the crown if killed
to the ground. This plant cannot withstand trampling and
should not be mowed, but occasionally some pruning may be
necessary to promote more compact growth. It grows vigor-
ously, and a good cover may be had in 4 to 6 months after
Purple queen is becoming increasingly popular for use as a
ground cover in Florida, for both small and large areas. This
ground cover is especially adapted for use under trees, but can
also be used in rock gardens and as an edging material.
Propagation is by cuttings, layering, or division, but the
first two are the preferred methods. Rooted plants may be set
12 inches apart each way, at any time of the year.
The oyster-plant, Rhoeo spathacea, of this family has similar
characteristics and may be used for the same purposes as purple
setcreasea. Variety variegata is used similarly and has leaves
which are purple beneath and with pale yellow stripes above.

Trachelospernim jasminoidcs. Apocynaceae. Confederate
Jasmine. Chinese Star Jasmine. Southern, Central, and North-
ern areas. China.
Confederate jasmine is a twining evergreen vine, having
opposite, dark green leaves that are ovate to ovate-lanceolate
and to about 3 inches long. It is prized for its pure white,
fragrant, star-shaped flowers, which are about 1 inch across,
and are borne in terminal or axillary cymes during the spring.
The fruit is an inconspicuous follicle.
This plant does best in full sunlight, but may be grown
successfully in partial shade. It is adapted to a wide range of
soil types, and normal variations in the soil pH range seem to
have little effect on its vigor. Being quite hardy, it may be
successfully grown throughout Florida. It cannot withstand
trampling or mowing, but shearing may prove necessary from
time to time. If planted near shrubs or trees, the long twining
stems encircle them, so confederate jasmine is not recommended
for use around shrubs or trees unless strict control is main-
tained. A good covering of the soil may be obtained in a season
under average growing conditions.

... i

; .al

Figure 17.-Small leaved variety of confederate jasmine, Trachelo-
spermum jasminoides, makes an excellent ground cover.

Confederate jasmine will provide a good covering on slopes,
on banks, and in large open areas. More frequently it is grown
on arbors and trellises. The small leaved dwarf variety is a
better ground cover plant for a wider variety of situations than
the larger leaved species (Figure 17).
Propagation is by cuttings and layers. Soft wood cuttings
will root more readily when taken in the spring or summer.
Plants may be set from 12 to 30 inches apart each way.

Tribulus cistoides. Zygophyllaceae. Caltrops. Bur-Nuts.
Puncture Vine. Southern area and warmer parts of central
area. Tropical America.
Caltrops has, in parts of southern Florida, escaped from
cultivation and become naturalized. It is a diffusely branching
perennial with stems clinging close to the ground and sometimes
reaching a length of 4 feet or more. The gray-green pinnate
leaflets are elliptic and up to 1' inch long. Yellow butter-cup-
like flowers, 1', to 2 inches across, are produced in profusion
from spring until fall. The fruit is a spiny achene which can
be very painful to bare feet.

Figure 18.-Caltrops, Tribulus cistoides, is prized for its flowers as well
as for its ground cover value. It requires sunny locations.

This plant requires full sunlight, as it soon dies out in shade,
and even in partial shade it does not do well as a ground cover.
Although adapted to sandy soils of southern Florida, it will also
do well in heavier soil types. Its growth apparently is not af-
fected by usual variations in soil reaction. This plant is re-
sistant to salt spray. The plant is killed to the ground by
temperatures of 280 F, but roots are seldom injured, and
with warm weather the plant sends out new shoots. Caltrops
can withstand only light trampling. No cutting is required un-
less to keep within bounds, and a good cover may be had in
6 weeks or less, depending on size of plants used and the season
of transplanting.
Caltrops is prized for its yellow butter-cup flowers as much
as for its ground cover value. It is used extensively in the lower
east coast section as a covering for parkways and for banks and
slopes that are not too steep (Figure 18).

Vinca minor. Apocynaceae. Common Periwinkle. Running-
Myrtle. Central and Northern areas. Europe.
Common periwinkle is a trailing, evergreen herb, sometimes
forming a cover to 8 inches in height. The opposite, glossy
leaves are green and heart-shaped, and seldom exceed 11/ inches
in length. The lilac-blue, funnel-shaped flowers are about %'
inch across and appear in the spring and early summer. The
fruit is a follicle that seldom matures.
The plant will grow equally well in full sunlight or partial
shade. It does best on the lighter, moist but well drained soil
types. This species is quite hardy and can be used without
danger of frost damage. It should not be mowed because of its
height; neither will it endure trampling. If planted during the
spring or summer and watered well until established, a good
cover may be obtained in a few months.
Common periwinkle is one of the best ground covers for use
in northwestern part of the state. Since it does well in sun or
shade, it is used extensively as ground cover under trees, for
covering banks and rocky slopes, and as an edging. It is also
used to some extent in window boxes.
The periwinkle more frequently grown in northwestern
Florida under the name of common periwinkle, V. minor, is
bigleaf periwinkle, V. major. Bigleaf periwinkle is more erect
in growth habit, has leaves up to 2 inches and flowers that are
from 1 to 2 inches across. It makes a desirable ground cover
in sun or partial shade. Bigleaf periwinkle is especially useful

for covering areas where bulbs are grown when the bulb foliage
has died down.
Madagascar periwinkle, Cathrmteranths roscus, is an erect
herb, 1 to 2 feet high, and should not be confused with common
periwinkle. It is the periwinkle commonly used along the sea-
coasts of Florida.
Propagation is by cuttings and divisions. Cuttings should
be made during spring and summer; divisions during fall or
early spring. Plants should be set about 8 to 10 inches on center.

Wedelia trilobata. Compositae. Wedelia. Southern and Cen-
tral areas. Native and Tropical America.
Wedelia has escaped from cultivation and become naturalized
in parts of southern and central Florida. It is a diffusely
branching and creeping perennial herb, rooting at the nodes.

Figure 19.-Wedelia, Wedelia trilobata, is a dependable and attractive
ground cover for parts of central and southern Florida.

The leaves are opposite and elliptic, about 2 to 3 inches long,
notched and slightly lobed, and bright green in color. Flowers,
which are yellow and about 1 inch across, are borne in erect
heads on solitary peduncles. The fruit is an achene.
This plant will thrive in sun or shade, and does well on any
soil type if provided with ample moisture and plant nutrients.
Differences in soil pH appear to have little influence on the
vigor of wedelia. In protected locations it will stand a low of
200 F; however, it is not recommended for use in northern
Florida, except in well protected locations. This ground cover
may be used along the seashore without injury. Wedelia may be
trampled and mowed; however, the best covers of this plant
often stand 6 to 8 inches in height, and this is too high to per-
mit mowing. A good cover of this plant may be expected in
several months under conditions of optimum growth.
Wedelia is one of the most attractive and dependable ground
covers for use in southern, central, and parts of northern Flor-
ida where some protection is given. Under trees, around rock
gardens and fish pools, on slopes and banks, and as a covering
in parkways, this plant cannot be surpassed (Figure 19).
Propagation is by cuttings, which root readily under almost
any condition. They should be set 4 to 8 inches apart each way.

Zamia integrifolia. Cycadaceae. Coontie. Zamia. Southern,
Central, and Northern areas. Native.
Coontie is a native of Florida and is found along the coastal
sand dunes, in flatwoods, pinelands, hammocks, and on shell
mounds. They are palm-like plants usually reaching a height
of 15 to 24 inches and having underground tuber-like stems
from which arise dark green, glossy, palm-like leaves. The
flowers are represented by scales and borne in cones which may
be staminate or pistillate. The large seed is drupe-like and a
brilliant orange red in color.
The coontie is among the few plants that will endure the
glaring sunlight of coastal sand dunes and also complete shade
of hammocks. This plant is almost as diverse in its tolerance
of soil types as it is of a wide range of light intensities, as it
is found growing on dry shell banks, but also on rich organic
soils. Apparently this plant will thrive on soils of varied reac-
tion. It it is hardy throughout Florida and will stand direct
exposure to salt spray without injury. Because of their height
the plants cannot be trampled or mowed, and the only pruning
required is the removal of dead leaves. When plants are set

Figure 20.-Coontie, Zamia integrifolia, grows under full sunlight or
full shade.

fairly close in the bed, a good covering may be expected within
a season. They are very susceptible to Florida red scale.
Zamia is a splendid cover for the sand dunes and shell banks
along the coast, but is also one of the few ground covers that
can be recommended for complete shade. Once established it
is very resistant to heat and drought (Figure 20).
Ward4 lumps the four species of coontie described by Small"
into a single species, Zamia integrifolia. Within this species
there is considerable variation of leaf size, shape of leaflets,
venation, etc.
Propagation is by seeds, offsets, and divisions where there
is more than one crown. Seeds should be sown shallow and the
young plants potted soon after germination. Growth of seed-
lings after germination may be improved by mixing soil from
around base of parent plant into the seed flats or beds. Plants
of zamia should be set 12 to 20 inches apart each way.
'See reference cited on page 9.
"John K. Small, Manual of the Southeastern Flora, 1933.

Zebri a pend la. Commelinaceae. Wandering Jew. South-
ern area. Mexico.
Wandering jew is a perennial, decumbent, succulent herb
rooting at the nodes and forming a carpet up to 4 inches in
height, except when given support. The leaves are purple be-
neath and striped with white above, ovate-oblong, and up to
4 inches long. The flowers are red-purple, and in clusters be-
tween two boat-shaped bracts of unequal size.
This plant does best in shady locations. In full sun it has
a tendency to become dwarfed and die out. It grows best in
soil containing an abundance of organic matter, and does equally
well on both acid and alkaline soils. Wandering jew is a tender
plant, but has been known to endure temperatures of 26 to
28 F. Because of its succulent nature and habit of growth, it
cannot be trampled or mowed. Shearing may be necessary from
time to time in order to keep it under control. This plant makes
a vigorous growth, especially during the spring and summer,


Figure 21.-Wandering jew, Zebrina pendula, roots easily and grows
best in shady locations.

and if newly set plants are properly cared for during this time
a good cover may be expected within a few months.
If properly cared for, no other ground cover can surpass
wandering jew as a covering for the soil. For use around large
trees, in rock gardens, and as a covering under high shrubs, it
is difficult to equal (Figure 21). Often it is used as a house
plant, especially in hanging baskets and in mixtures with other
This plant roots very easily and propagation is entirely by
cuttings. These should be set about 6 or 8 inches apart each
way, and until plants are established, the soil should be main-
tained in a moist condition.


Native Ground Covers

Artillery plant
Carolina yellow jessamine
Coontie, Zamia


Ground Covers for Full Sunlight or Partial Shade

Artillery plant
Asparagus, sprenger
Carolina yellow jessamine
Coontie, Zamia
Creeping charley
Fig, climbing

Jasmine, confederate
Lantana, weeping
Lily-turf, dwarf
Liriope, creeping
Purple setcreasea
Wintercreeper, common

Ground Covers for Full Sunlight
Artillery plant Jasmine, confederate
Asparagus, sprenger Junipers
Caltrops Lantana, weeping
Carolina yellow jessamine Lily-turf, dwarf
Coontie, Zamia Lippia
Creeping charley Liriope, creeping
Cuphea Periwinkle
Daylilies Purple setcreasea
Dichondra Wedelia
Fig, climbing Wintercreeper, common

Ground Covers for Partial Shade

Artillery plant
Aspargus, sprenger

Carolina yellow jessamine

Coontie, Zamia
Creeping charley
Fig, climbing
Fig, oak-leaf
Ivy, Algerian and English
Jasmine, confederate
Lantana, weeping

Lily-turf, dwarf
Liriope, creeping
Purple setcreasea
Wandering jew
Wintercreeper, common

Ground Covers for Shade

Artillery plant
Coontie, Zamia
Creeping charley
Ivy, Algerian and English

Lily-turf, dwarf
Liriope, creeping
Wandering jew

Ground Covers that Flower in Spring and Summer

Carolina yellow jessamine
Jasmine, confederate

Lantana, weeping
Lily-turf, dwarf
Liriope, creeping
Purple setcreasea

Ground Covers that Flower in Fall and Winter

Lantana, weeping

Ground Covers Tolerant of Salt Spray

Coontie, Zamia
Fig, climbing
Ivy, Algerian and English

Juniper, shore
Lantana, weeping
Lily-turf, dwarf
Liriope, creeping

Ground Covers that Require No Mowing or Shearing

Artillery plant
Asparagus, sprenger
Coontie, Zamia
Creeping charley

Lily-turf, dwarf
Liriope, creeping



Ajuga reptans .....
Algerian ivy ......-...
Artillery plant ...
Asparagus sprengeri

Bur-nuts _.

Caltrops ........-.... .........
Cape-weed .....
Carolina jessamine
Carolina yellow jessamine
Catharanthus roseus ...
Chinese star jasmine .....
Climbing fig ..
Climbing rubber ---
Confederate jasmine .......
Creeping charley- ..--
Creeping juniper .---
Creeping lily-turf ...........
Creeping liriope ...--
Cuphea hyssopifolia ....
Cyrtomium falcatum ....

Daylily ....
Dichondra .-
Dichondra carolinensis ......
Dwarf lily-turf ----.
Dwarf ophiopogon ....-

English ivy
Euonymus fortunei radicans

Ferns -
Fern, Boston -..-
Fern, common sword .......
Fern, holly
Fern, leatherleaf -
Fern, purplestalk sword
Fern, tuber sword .--.
Ficus montana ....
Ficus pumila ..........
Fig, climbing ........
Fig, climbing rubber ---
Fig-marigold .-- -
Fig, oak-leaf ...- -- -
Fig, rubber ...

Gelsemium sempervirens
Glottiphyllum depressum ...


... 10

Hedera canariensis
Hedera helix .....
Hemerocallis spp.
Holly-fern ..

10 Ivy, Algerian .........--
32 Ivy, English -....--

32 Juniper, 'Bar Harbor' ...-
26 Juniper, 'Blue Rug' ---
16 Juniper, creeping -. --
16 Juniper, shore .---
34 Juniper, Waukegan -.-
31 Juniper, 'Wiltonii' ......
15 Juniperus conferta .....
15 Juniperus horizontalis
35 Lantana montevidensis -.......
28 Lantana, trailing or weeping
20 Lily-turf, 'Big Blue' ..-
21 Lily-turf, creeping ----
21 Lily-turf, dwarf .......--....
11 Lippia
11 Liriope exiliflora ........
15 Liriope muscari .........
Liriope spicata ....... ........
12 Madagascar periwinkle .....
12 Match head ..- ----.
23 Match weed .....-- -
23 Mitchella repens ........


18 Nephrolepis biserrata
13 Nephrolepis cordifolia
Nephrolepis exaltata

Oak-leaf fig ..
Ophiopogon japonicus
Oyster-plant ...


15 Partridge-berry ....-
15 Peperomia
15 Peperomia obtusifolia ....
15 Periwinkle, common --
15 Periwinkle, bigleaf .......
15 Periwinkle, Madagascar
16 Phyla nodiflora .....
15 Pilea microphylla ...
15 Pilea nummulariifolia .....
Polystichum adiantiforme
16 Puncture vine
16 Purple heart ...----


.... 18
... 19


-- 20
-- 19

.-. 19

... 22

... 34
-- 26
- 26
... 23

- 15
... 15
... 15

.. 23

.. 23
.. 25
... 33
--. 27
.. 28
14, 15
.. 30



Purple queen ....
Purple setcreasea

Rhoeo spathacea variegata ..
Rubber vine ..- -----
Running-myrtle -.. .......

Selaginella, blue -...............
Selaginella, erect ....-..
Setcreasea purpurea ....
Shore juniper ...-....
Sprenger asparagus ........--
Squaw-berry .....-... -

Trachelospermum jasminoides
Tribulus cistoides ............

Twin-berry ......- ...........---

Vinca major .......... .......
Vinca minor --. ---

Wandering jew -----
Wedelia ...----
Wedelia trilobata .............
Wintercreeper, common --

Yellow jessamine, Carolina

Zam ia .. -. ...- ...
Zamia integrifolia .........
Zebrina pendula ..............


The writers wish to thank Philip B. Moore, former Palm
Beach County Extension agent, for supplying figures 14, 19,
and 21 used in this bulletin. Mr. Moore is now assistant in
agriculture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Gainesville.


.. 23

-- 33
.- 33

.. 37
.. 34


.. 35
... 35


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not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
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record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
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