Permaculture forum: Lawn plants other than grass

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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Jul 23, 2015 3:44 PM CST
What have you found that could be lawn, (survives foot traffic & mowing if needed but doesn't get very tall, smallish leaves) but isn't grass? Wherever possible, I'm encouraging these plants, pulling grass out near them.

Rustweed (Polypremum procumbens)
Paraguayan Purslane (Portulaca amilis)
Eastern blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium atlanticum)
Virginia Buttonweed (Diodia virginiana)
Stonecrop (Petrosedum rupestre subsp. erectum)
Tropical Chickweed (Drymaria cordata)
Turtle Vine (Callisia repens)
Callisia cordifolia


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[Last edited by purpleinopp - Jul 24, 2015 8:54 AM (+)]
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hazelnut
Jul 26, 2015 6:24 AM CST
By accident, on the north side of my house my lawn has turned to violets. The leaves are relatively large, and the plants are about 6 inches high. They can be kept a little short with an occasional grooming with a weed eater. And in spring, they bloom. Violets are lovely.

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hazelnut
Jul 26, 2015 7:47 AM CST
Not what you would traditionally call "lawn plants", but when there is no water, this is what you can do. http://earthjustice.org/blog/2015-june/succulents-and-wildfl...

Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Jul 27, 2015 7:58 AM CST
That's gorgeous! And a good point, another aspect of why a lawn might not be doing well, or even desirable to try. Do you live in a dry climate? There's no location or zone info with your profile.

Not at all a concern in my climate, quite the opposite, where grass grows too fast, so fast it's annoying & wastes a lot of time (and $) with the mowing. There's also the pollution and noise from the mower to consider. All very unpleasant and unnecessary if other plants are used. That's what inspires my desire to find/encourage plants that don't get so tall. Life's too short to keep mowing the same grass so often, and don't want anything with leaves big enough for snakes to hide in/under.
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hazelnut
Jul 27, 2015 7:08 PM CST
Like you, I live in Zone 8, hot and humid Alabama. Greensboro, rural west-central Alabama. But I used to live in California and Im very concerned about the drought situation there. Well, everywhere. We have to learn to take care of the land. And sometimes what we have been doing just ain't workin. I have even learned to appreciate snakes --they keep the rat population down.

Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Jul 28, 2015 8:22 AM CST
Cool, we're virtual neighbors! I live in Opp, where they have a rattlesnake rodeo every year, hundreds of locally-caught snakes. Non-poisonous snakes are welcome, I like them as much as anyone, but creating any habitat that snakes might like to visit would definitely include visits from rattlesnakes & cottonmouths. We see enough of those w/o having taller ground covers in which to hide.

Totally agree, I'm trying to take care of the land - and air - by reducing the running of the mower to tend our property, in areas that aren't flower beds. Most of the "grass" (which consists of about 15 diff kinds of grass, and at least 30 other kinds of plants,) will be eliminated for beds, but it's unfortunately not practical for every inch of property to be a bed, unless we win a lottery & could install concrete or brick paths for walkways. Until that wonderful day, replacing entities that need to be mowed with those that don't seems like the best option.

Some Selaginellas might be useful:
http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=selaginella&butto...




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Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Jul 28, 2015 8:55 AM CST
I have a small city lot and converted most of the front yard to garden because I don't like southern grass (St. Augustine); refuse to water it, especially with drought conditions; and prefer groundcovers with more intriguing foliage. You might consider setting a low growing Thyme or something like Golden Oregano? This Golden Oregano photograph is of one plant after three years. The hotter it gets the flatter it gets, but it is one tough plant.
Thumb of 2015-07-28/lovemyhouse/1941be


What little grass I have in back and in the alley is now handled by a Worx cordless electric mower and a cordless electric weed eater/trimmer, both of which I share with my sister and her husband to use at their house. There are other options for larger areas where grass is the only practical application. Cost more upfront, but quiet, less polluting of the air (if you consider the effect of electric production against gasoline), and still efficient.
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/04/is-the-cub-c...
http://www.meangreenproducts.com/

If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'

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hazelnut
Jul 28, 2015 9:27 AM CST
Ill have to look up Opp. Ive worked most places in Alabama, but Ive never been to Opp. Thanks for the tip on Selaginellas.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Jul 28, 2015 10:23 AM CST
That looks great, Debra! Whenever our mower pukes, and DH can't fix it again, I would love to look at something like that! When we moved last spring, there was nothing outside the house but lawn. I'm smothering & digging it up as fast & as much as possible, but it will take a few yrs to get rid of most of it.

Hazelnut, if you ever drive through Opp, don't blink, you'll miss it! Smiling Not that there was ever much, but there's nothing here anymore but a bunch of closed factories.

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Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Tropicals Native Plants and Wildflowers Seed Starter
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vitrsna
Jul 28, 2015 11:01 AM CST
How about Oxalis stricta? Here it is taking hold near the Ixora...low to the ground with small yellow flowers.

Thumb of 2015-07-28/vitrsna/230177

Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Image
purpleinopp
Jul 28, 2015 12:51 PM CST
If it didn't get so tall, I might consider letting that plant grow. When I was a new gardener, I did just that and ended up with spectacular looking 2-3 foot plants! LOL! Combined with its' explosive dehiscence, it's on the no-no list. The seeds would end up in beds in frustrating numbers, something I pull multiple individual sprouts of daily already, knowing that no plants have released seeds anywhere on the property for over a year. They're either coming in from wind/critters, or there's still a bank of them in the soil, &/or both. If it was possible to have just a few, I sure would! It's a very attractive plant, IMVHO. :+)

I do love O. crassipes & triangularis as a ground cover under shrubs. Tidy mounds of pretty leaves & flowers.

Gorgeous Ixora!!

This heavy shade spot isn't relevant to general lawn replacement, but there was just enough sparse grass to have to mow occasionally. I've pulled it up & put Callisias & Tradescantias instead. No more maintenance here except pulling occasional grass & tree sprouts. These plants don't even "want" me to mulch there. (So much easier to start in shade...!)
Thumb of 2015-07-28/purpleinopp/c345bf

Forgot to paste a link originally. I like this one "weed," Portulaca amilis so much...
http://garden.org/thread/go/36206/
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Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Tropicals Native Plants and Wildflowers Seed Starter
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vitrsna
Jul 28, 2015 2:38 PM CST
Purple, your Oxalis stricta became 2-3' tall? Mine has grown to 6 inches max, but generally it stays at 3"...i wonder if this is something else i have? Someone ID'd it for me as O. stricta. It has the same exploding seeds though. I went lawnless 3 or 4 years ago and was surprised to realize that most of the weeds i had grew in the lawn. I was only left with these O. something or others...i weeded them for awhile but then realized they are quite pretty and provide a nice ground cover so now i just let them grow (mostly).
Now i can hardly find a weed Smiling
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Jul 28, 2015 3:59 PM CST
There's also O. corniculata that looks similar, and probably others. But yeah, I mulched, watered, fertilized that plant... probably deadheaded it. LOL! A little taller than sources say it gets, but who else has pampered that plant to see such results? It was probably a 2nd year plant, not a new sprout from that year.

It's possible some or all of the sprouts I've been pulling here in AL are O. corniculata or dillenii. I haven't let any of them grow enough to notice a possible difference. If I notice it's not a bulb Oxalis leaf, out it comes.

https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/yellow-wood-sor...
http://wimastergardener.org/?q=CommonYellowWoodsorrel



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hazelnut
Jul 29, 2015 9:06 AM CST
purpleinopp. That sounds like Greensboro a few years ago. Closed. And we have an assortment of 100+ year old store buildings. But lately there has been an resurgence of activity. Someone has bought the old hotel and is turning it into offices and shops. The old Opera house has been restored. Maybe we will have operas! We have fish farms, but no factories. The old stores are again filled with activities--an antiques store is new. The others are mostly resale shops. And people come from the other towns around to look for bargains. There is a neat restaurant: The Pie Lab where business people meet for lunch.

The old towns can become new again. And on a gardening note, some one has planted beds of daylilies all along main street. It worth a walk downtown just to see what's blooming!
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Image
purpleinopp
Aug 7, 2015 9:15 AM CST
That's great! Nothing like that going on around here at all. Just empty houses, stores & factories.

Interesting blog about alternative lawn plants with some good pics:
http://nativeplantwildlifegarden.com/covering-the-ground-why...
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hazelnut
Aug 7, 2015 5:30 PM CST
It is an interesting article: thanks for posting.

I went down town this morning - making the rounds of people I talk to. I learned that the Opera house is nearly finished and they are planning a Grand Opening event.
Jenny Lind once sang in our Opera House. I heard that it was built to optimize acoustics. So it should be quite an event to hear music on that 150 year old stage.
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
Aug 7, 2015 5:32 PM CST
If you go, would you tell us about it? Smiling
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'

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hazelnut
Aug 8, 2015 7:34 AM CST
Sure will! I think it is scheduled for this fall.

mixie
Aug 24, 2015 1:03 PM CST
Hello friends! I was pointed here from Facebook, where I was asking about non-lawn ground covers in deep shade areas. I just moved to Western Tennessee, to a place with a back yard that has two huge old oak trees and nothing else except poison ivy and creeping charlie. I would almost be tempted to brick the yard, encourage moss, and put in planters, but we aren't sure right now how long-term this place is.

Does anyone have advice for low-cost ground covers that don't mind deep shade? It gets some dappled sun in the afternoons, but that's it. I don't mind the look of the creeping charlie, but I think it dies back during the winter?
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
Aug 24, 2015 1:33 PM CST
Welcome, mixie. Smiling Welcome!

I don't have anything to add beyond what I posted earlier, but I am sure others will be chiming in shortly.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'

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