Shady Grass and Native Florida Ground Cover

Native Florida Ground Cover

You mean grass is not native Florida ground cover? Southwest Florida is hot and the summers seem to never end. Most of us love it. Having some great shade trees in our yards can give us some relief from the sun. If we can shade our homes, we can help keep our AC costs down as well. The only problem some of us run into is the grass. If your yard is over shaded, grass might not grow. We don’t want a muddy yard when it rains, so what are the options? Here is some information and suggestions including native Florida ground cover to consider.

Is Grass An Option?

A dark green, manicured yard with out weeds is really beautiful. Not only does it look good, but it can add value to your home when you sell in the form of curb appeal. So what are some grass options for shade?

Overall the answer is St. Augustine. Now there are a number of varieties, but most will grow very well with up to 30 percent of full sunlight filtered. There are two varieties in particular that seem to do best in shade according to the University of Florida Extension.

Classic or Regular St Augustine Grass

This is widely used for all types of yards, and does have a tolerance for shady lawns. The reason this variety is used so often is that it does well in full sun and some shade. You yard should get at least four hours of sunlight. Anything less and you might start to notice the lawn will thin out and may eventually die. If your yard only gets about two hours of sunlight you might want to consider the next variety.

Seville St. Augustine

This grass is blue-green in color and is actually a dwarf St. Augustine grass. It has been used throughout Southwest Florida since at least 1980. What makes this variety perfect for shady lawns is the fact that it needs as little as 2 hours of sunlight per day. Unfortunately if your yard is shaded and at least 2 hours of sunlight does not reach your grass you might not have a grass option. At that point you might want to consider some native Florida ground cover options.

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Native Florida Ground Cover Options

If grass isn’t the best option, you might need to look for some native plants. Here are a few suggested plants from the University of Florida gardening solutions.

Algerian Ivy

This ivy is idea for super shaded ground cover. Not as aggressive as english ivy which has a bad habit of climbing up structures. The leaves are a dark green and does best in full-shade areas. However it can also tolerate lots of sun as well.

Cast Iron Plant

This evergreen perennial has glossy leaves and does very well in shady areas. The leaves of the plant grow upright and can be as much as 1 to 2 feet tall. A super hardy plant and requires little work. While its not cold here in Southwest Florida, this plant is actually cold hardy as well.

Swamp Fern

This native Florida ground cover is found in moist and shady areas. Really striking look as it can really add some texture to your property. The ferns can grow as high as four feet in height, so you’ll want to think ahead when planting. The ferns actually change in color to a deep green as they mature. Very hardy plant that works well with all shady areas.

If you have questions about your yard, what you should plant and how to keep it looking its best give us a call. Since 1979 we have been keeping lawns green and beautiful and homes pest free. Not all plants are good for all yards. Let out experts help you get the most out of your current yard, or make suggestions to even make it look better. Remember we help with pests in your lawn and shrubs as well as your home. Call Lawncare Extraordinaire today or complete our online free estimate request!