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Slopes to Shade: Using Ground Covers to Combat Challenges in the Landscape

Landscapes, although physically appealing, can present a variety of challenges from slopes to shade, drought conditions, and high foot traffic areas. Routine failures of turf, shrubs and flowers in landscape “dead zones” can be costly and frustrating. An alternative to traditional plant materials is ground cover. Ground cover is used to describe a collection of low-lying plant materials that spread out rather than up and require little human intervention to thrive. Included among the ground covers that are conducive to Florida’s climate conditions are the Arachis glabrat, Benth or Perennial peanut whose origins lie in South America. First introduced in 1936 from Brazil, this ornamental ground cover that yields a canopy of vivid green leaves broken up by pops of yellow flowers, is known to be resistant to drought conditions, nematodes, and is not spread to unwanted areas, as it does not produce seeds (Rouse, Miavitz, & Roka, 2004; 2019).  The Trachelospermum asiaticum, or Asiatic Jasmine, is another stellar ground cover found throughout Florida.   Traditionally a deep green, non-flowering plant, dwarf jasmine is available in several cultivars including Snow Cap and Summer Sunset. Ficus pumila, or creeping fig, can be used as ground cover or to soften harsh aspects found in the landscape such as concrete fences or walls. Although the creeping fig can grow in a variety of conditions, it is recommended that it not receive exposure to full sun light to prevent yellowing to its leaves (Gilman, 1999).   The Centratherum intermedium, or Brazilian Buttonflower, has olive to light green foliage with a fine, soft texture emphasized by fluffy, lavender pink button-like flowers that appear in the warmer months (Gilman & Park-Brown, 2014).  Other ground cover varieties include Calathea makoyana or the Peacock plant.  The Peacock plant is known for its leaves in various shades of green, cream, white, pink, and silver held upright by maroon stems (Gilman, 1999). If your struggling with soil erosion, berms, high density areas of shade, poor irrigation, or would simply like to add ground cover to create visual interest in your landscape please contact LMP at (877) LMP-PRO1 to discuss the best options for your landscape environment. References: Gilman, E. F., (1999). Ficus pumila1 Retrieved from: Gilman, E. F., (1999).  Calathea makoyana1.  Retrieved from:

Gilman, E. F., & Park-Brown, S., (2014). Centratherum intermedium Brazilian Buttonflower1. Retrieved from:

Rouse, R. E., Miavitz, E. M., & Roka, F. M., (2004; 2019). Guide to Using Rhizomal Perennial Peanut in the Urban Landscape1. Retrieved from: