Ground covers enhance the beauty and usefulness of a landscape. They can be used in difficult to maintain areas, such as strips of ground between sidewalks, drives, or walls. Others provide barriers to foot traffic or prevent erosion on slopes.
Asiatic jasmine (aka Jasmine Minima) has been grown as a ground cover in Florida landscapes for decades. It’s not a grass, but a multi-stem, vine-like woody plant. Asiatic jasmine is a true ground cover, & its numerous prostrate stems and leaves eventually blanket the ground forming a thick mat. Asiatic jasmine does not produce a noticeable flower, and cannot be grown from seed. Like many landscape plants, it is propagated by rooting stem cuttings.
Asiatic jasmine has few pest or disease problems, and rarely, if ever, requires pesticides. Occasional leaf spots caused by Cercospora have been observed, but the level of damage is rarely significant. When used as a turf replacement, Asiatic jasmine will perform best with minimal water and fertilization inputs. Once established, Asiatic jasmine requires no irrigation with normal rainfall. In extreme droughts, once monthly irrigation is suggested if no rainfall occurs.
Due to its prostrate growth form, Asiatic jasmine does not have to be mowed, although it is highly recommended that it be mowed once a year as new growth begins to occur in late winter. It should be mowed at the highest mower setting, preferably 3 to 4 inches. Mow the green foliage, but it will quickly return in a couple of weeks as buds break dormancy and grow. When it is not actively growing, Asiatic jasmine is very tolerant of Round Up herbicide applications. It can be sprayed with a low rate (1 oz per gallon) to kill any weeds and not be damaged, although once plants are established, weeds are rarely a problem.
Perennial peanut has recently shown promise as an ornamental groundcover due to its high resistance to drought, nematodes, and pathogens and its minimal fertilizer needs. This translates into savings in water, energy, dollars, and reduced impacts to the environment. It is not only beneficial to the environment since it requires no supplemental nitrogen or phosphorus fertilization or pest control, but it also is aesthetically pleasing, can be walked on, and has edible, peanut flavored flowers.