Heather B
Heather B
  • Hometalker
  • Lake Mary, FL
Asked on Jun 3, 2012

I would love to get some ideas to landscape my tiny front lawn (I detest grass to be honest) with native Florida plants.

Heather BSandra RDouglas Hunt
+7

Answered

low upkeep and wildlife friendly would be ideal. Any suggestions for Florida shrubs and groundcover? I have gopher tortoises galore and would like to give them some yummy stuff to boot if possible=)
10 answers
  • KMS Woodworks
    on Jun 3, 2012

    I was not familiar with your "gopher Tortise" so I looked them up on wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher_tortoise I would be awesome if you could help protect this vulnerable species. Seems like you have a few options to provide a diverse "buffet" for them This is from the diet section at wiki They consume a very wide range of plants, but mainly eat broad-leaved grasses, wiregrass, and terrestrial legumes.[7][8] They also eat mushrooms,[7] and fruits such as gopher apple, pawpaw, blackberries, and saw palmetto berries.[8] In addition, gopher tortoises eat flowers from the genera Cnidoscolus (nettles), Tillandsia (Spanish and ball moss), Richardia, and Dyschoriste.[9] Juvenile tortoises tend to eat more legumes, which are higher in protein, and fewer grasses and tough, fibrous plants than mature tortoises.[9] Gopher tortoises have been known to scavenge carrion and eat excrement.[10

  • Karen M
    on Jun 3, 2012

    Lots of sun or is it shaded?

  • Heather B
    on Jun 3, 2012

    lots of sun..no shade at all

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 4, 2012

    If you want to go strictly native, Heather, sunshine mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) is a good ground cover lawn alternative. Perennial peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.) is considered a "Florida Friendly" lawn alternative. Gopher apple (Licani michauxii) is another native ground cover, but in all honesty it's a little straggly looking for me for a lawn alternative. (Your gopher tortoises would probably love it, however, as it grows all over the beach.) Coonties (Zamia floridana) are our only native cycad and will do well in sun or shade. Another excellent small native shrub is Walter's viburnum (Viburnum obovatum). "Mrs. Schiller's Delight" is the smallest cultivar; "Whorled Class" will get to be 5 or 6 feet.

  • Heather B
    on Jun 5, 2012

    Thanks! I agree with the gopher apple. I have some in my backyard for my rehabbed g. tortoises. They love it but I dont think it would look so great in my front yard =) Thanks for the info. I can def work with those for such a small space!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 6, 2012

    Happy to help, Heather. Post of a photo when you finish with your front lawn. I'm sure many folks would be interested in how good a native (and gopher-tortoise friendly) landscape can look.

  • Sandra R
    on Jun 6, 2012

    Oh, what is a gopher-tortoise. I'm from PA and never heard of these.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 6, 2012

    Sandra, see KMS's link in the first response.

  • Sandra R
    on Jun 6, 2012

    Thank you Douglas, that helped. How is Italy?

  • Heather B
    on Jun 6, 2012

    I def will Douglas, I am anxious to get started on it!

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