Ground Covers You May Not Have Thought About, Part III

Richard Lyons’ Nursery today continues its survey of plants that are sometimes overlooked in their capacity as ground covers.

Beach Creeper, Ernodea littoralis: This beautiful Florida native is a long-lived perennial shrub that makes a very nice ground cover topping out at 3 ft. and under. It features reddish stems, pink to white flowers, and yellow berry-like fruits that make it attractive to birds and butterflies.

Blue Flag Iris, Iris virginica: This perennial is native over a wide expanse of coastal areas of the southeastern United States. Reaching 2-4 ft., it produces a showy violet flower, with white and yellow highlights, above sword-shaped leaves. It is happiest in very wet conditions, including standing water. It is regarded as long-lived.

Bolivian Sunset Hardy Gloxinia, Seemannia sylvatica ‘Bolivian Sunset’: This South American native produces intense red-orange tubular flowers with yellow throats, and does a great job of illuminating filtered light settings. Its nectar makes at a significant attractant of hummingbirds. Keep soil moist during the warmest part of the year.

Caladium, Caladium spp.: Featuring a great variety of hues and patterns, the caladium is hard to beat for providing ground-level color during the warm months of the year. Florida, in fact, is the world’s premier producer of this popular aroid. Massed plantings create an eye-catching ground cover. Caladiums appreciate a moist, well-drained soil during the summer. As temperatures cool, they go dormant, and watering should be reduced drastically.

Bahama Wild Coffee, Psychotria ligustrifolia: See “Native Florida Coffee Species (Psychotria ligustrifolia, P. nervosa, P. sulzneri)” (February 9, 2013) on this website.

Porterweed, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis: See “Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis)” (March 30, 2013) on this website.

Portulaca, Portulaca grandiflora: See “Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)” (June 24, 2013) on this website.


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