What are Shade- and Sun-Loving Groundcovers for Florida?

Texas Frogfruit is a native groundcover that feeds bees and butterflies.

“Can you tell me, please, which ground cover plants do well in SW Florida, in a shady and wet location, as well as an area that is drier and gets sunshine most of the day!” Question from Colleen of Englewood, Florida

Answer: There are several groundcovers, for wet and dry areas, that are suited to your Zone 9 landscape.

Florida Groundcovers for Moist Shade

  • Ogon Golden Variegated Sweet Flag (Acorus graminius ‘Ogon’): This evergreen, grassy perennial will tolerate soil moisture, shade, and brings sunny yellow color to shaded spots.
  • Evergold Sedge (Carex hachijoensis ‘Evergold‘, Zones 5-10): Evergold produces moppy clumps of grass-like blades of green striped with gold. The plants will tolerate both moisture and shade. 
  • Snow Drift Caladium (Caladium hybrids, Zones 9-11): All Caladiums are beautiful, but snowdrift is extra elegant and brightens shady spots. They will grow well in moist soils and shade.
  • Fizzy Mizzy Sweetspire (Itea virginica Fizzy Mizzy): These compact shrubs grow well in partial shade, boggy soils, and are natives that feed wildlife. White, fragrant, spring flowers feed bees and butterflies and the fall leaves turn shades of russet-red.

Florida Groundcovers for Dry Sunshine

Texas Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora, Zones 8-11): This semi-evergreen groundcover reaches 3-6 inches and produces small pinkish-white flower clusters that feed bees and butterflies. The flowers may appear from late spring to fall. It is a Florida native that can tolerate sunshine and partial sun as well as moist and dry soils.

Asian Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Minima), Zones 8-11: The evergreen Asian jasmine is compact, slow-growing, and it has deep-green, glossy leaves that are bright red when they first emerge. Throughout the growing season, it produces small, white flowers that are fragrant. Established plants tolerate drought and light frost.

I hope that this list gives you some ideas.

Happy gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

My Yard Is Low and Wet. How Can I Garden?

My Yard Is Low and Wet. How Can I Garden?

“How do I plant a garden when most of my yard holds water after the rain?” Question from Kim of St. Clair, Michigan

Answer: You essentially have two options. Either build raised gardens (click here to learn more about raised bed gardening) or go with the flow and plant a wetland or rain garden. I have an area of my yard where an old stream used to flow, and it’s always wet in spring. Instead of trying to build it up, I created a wetland meadow garden complete with pink swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata, click here to learn more about milkweed), swamp hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos, check out Summerific® Evening Rose‘), ornamental rushes, Joy-Pye-weed, and other beautiful wetland bloomers. (Click here to learn more about rain gardening.)

There are also plenty of very pretty, very hardy shrubs that like moist soil or periodically wet soil. These include winterberries (Ilex verticillata, click here to read more about winterberry), redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea, click here to read more about redtwig dogwood), and Sugar Shack® buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis Sugar Shack®).

I hope that this information helps. Seasonally wet ground is plantable and can be beautiful if you plant the right things.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist