Tropicals forum: Is there such a thing as a tropical ground cover?

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Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
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Kabby
Oct 5, 2015 6:44 PM CST
I have a new bed of tropicals and I'm looking for a low growing tropical ground cover if there is such a thing. Hardy to zone 8a. I'm curious as to what y'all grow out there that would fit my request. Smiling
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Oct 5, 2015 7:04 PM CST
Asian Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) is used a lot in our area. It says it is hardy to zone 7. Purple Queen (Setcreasea purpurea) is also very popular but I'm not sure that will be hardy where you live.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 5, 2015 7:41 PM CST
I agree The Asian jasmines are gorgeous groundcovers, and they come in different shapes of leaf, and also a couple of different variegations. I have one called "tricolor" because the new leaves come out pink, fade to white and then develop green as they mature. So pretty.

Thumb of 2015-10-06/dyzzypyxxy/426d67

Elaine

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Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
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Kabby
Oct 5, 2015 8:46 PM CST
Oh man, variegated asian jasmin, what a find! The flower bed is raised 16 " from the ground, it would be awesome to have that trail over the side. Purple hearts are hardy here, it's been many yrs since I have had any. That's a good idea too. Thumbs up
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Oct 6, 2015 4:22 AM CST
Sorry to be a spoilsport but don't you have to mow the Asiatic Jasmine in S. Florida? It is heavily used here but after a year or so it has to be mowed and edged twice a year to keep it low. It is generally used in place of turf in open areas, not under other plants. It gets very thick and tall and is prime snake habitat in this part of the country. Once it is mowed it loses that drapey look.

Dwarf mondo 'Nana' is not exciting but it is well behaved and always looks good. During the warmer months you can't beat the various sweet potato vines and they would drape over the side for you.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Oct 6, 2015 4:40 AM CST
Any ground cover would hide snakes.....
Since it's in a raised bed it will be easy to just keep it clipped. I think. That would go for any type of ground cover. I have to trim my Purple Queen a lot too.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Oct 6, 2015 7:49 AM CST
I agree, some of the Asiatic Jasmine's are gorgeous as a groundcover. I used to have two different varieties at our old house.
Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum)
Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Summer Sunset')
Asian Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Variegatum')
Asian Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Birthday Cake')

Tradescantia 'Purple Heart is pretty too but will get a bit leggy if not kept pruned:
Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida 'Purple Heart')

Many low growing plants, shrubs and grasses offer cover for snakes and other critters to hide.
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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Oct 6, 2015 10:54 AM CST
@ ardesia is right, it will not creep over the edges and when it does it spreads to the surrounding areas. To keep it contained in your bed you have to hedge it. After a time when the plants mature the Asiatic Jasmine actually are hedged here and look like 12" little hedges. I have some wedelia/Trailing Daisy that is a fast grower, if not too fast! But it trails over the moss rock edges of the bed it's in and still keeps that trailing look with some simple pinching back. It dies back in the winter and comes back each year. It is covered in yellow daisy flowers all summer and fall.
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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Oct 6, 2015 10:59 AM CST
I forgot about wedelia, the leaves are such a bright deep green along with the yellow flowers. I had to get rid of mine because it got away from me but in a raised bed it would be very nice and much easier to control.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Oct 6, 2015 11:35 AM CST
Another nice ground cover for your zone might be Ice Plant; some have amazing colors: Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi)
Ice Plant (Delosperma Fire Spinnerâ„¢)
http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=Delosperma&button...
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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Oct 6, 2015 1:06 PM CST
Ice plant is one of my favorites but it prefers a xeric location and most tropicals are thirsty.

Kabby, what types of tropicals are you planting and how about exposure - sun, shade?
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
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Kabby
Oct 6, 2015 3:39 PM CST
Okay let's see. Different kinds of hedychium ginger, cannas, EEs, Siam Ruby banana which is GOING TO LIVE EVEN IF I HAVE TO WRAP MY BODY AROUND IT DURING THE COLD. Ahem, I digress. I will be getting variegated arundo in and in the spring I will plant castor bean seeds when it warms up. Full sun until 2p and then the house will shade it.
I fell in love with the Snow N Summer asian jasmine. Oh my! The hedychiums are a thick mat so I am very careful putting my hands in there.
I will have to look up the wedelia. Thank y'all for the great tips! Smiling
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Oct 6, 2015 4:29 PM CST
Wow, Snow and Summer is lovely and I doubt it would grow "hedge like" at all. The variegated ones are much slower growing and it looks like that one is more of a specimen plant. Now I want to try one.

Nice group of trops too. Smiling

Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Oct 6, 2015 6:20 PM CST
I have the 'Summer sunset' one and it is very attractive and yes, slow growing.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Oct 6, 2015 8:10 PM CST
We use a lot of Asparagus Fern and Foxtail Fern here as ground cover. they would cascade over your border, too. They do well in our winters so we treat them as Evergreens.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Oct 7, 2015 8:14 PM CST
Kabby are you trying to winter Siam Ruby outside in the winter? I thought it was zone 9 hardy.

I would use a sedum for ground cover and let the Tropical plants do the speaking. I like Sedum Tri-color. I have grown it in shade, sun, I have it in my rose, daylily beds. When I vacationed to tropical islands the ground cover was green.

Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
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Kabby
Oct 7, 2015 9:24 PM CST
Cinta I have it potted and I was going to bring it in the house when the freezing weather started. It's brand new so it's not very big yet. It does however have a small pup and next year I may experiment. It's the only tender plant I have in this particular bed. Tricolor sedum didn't do that well for me, my success stories are Coral Reef and LemonBall sedum.
Cheryl I know what Aparagus fern looks like but not foxtail. Will have to check it out.
Wedelia didn't rock my boat, so far the top picks are the Asian jasmine. Thank You!
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
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Kabby
Oct 8, 2015 2:27 AM CST
Cheryl I looked up the foxtail fern and love it, how unique. I'm one zone too cold though. I'd be afraid to take a chance and kill it.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
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ardesia
Oct 8, 2015 8:13 AM CST
This is what the asiatic jasmine looks like around here. It likely behaves differently is other climates and would be much slower growing in cooler areas. Cheryl's description of little hedges is spot on. In our heat, the variegation disappears and/or is trimmed off.
Thumb of 2015-10-08/ardesia/a60025
Thumb of 2015-10-08/ardesia/c0fe3e

Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
Butterflies Tropicals Bulbs Lilies Daylilies Garden Procrastinator
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Kabby
Oct 8, 2015 4:35 PM CST
Alice I never have done sweet potato either, I think the chartreuse and or purple vines would also be great with the colors I will have in this bed. How long til spring?! nodding

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