Dichondra Repens: A Lawn Substitute For Shade
Dichondra Repens has been a trusted and favorite lawn substitute for many people for a long time. Also known as Kidney Weed, this ground cover is a highly attractive, easy growing and easy care lawn substitute for warmer regions and shaded condtions. Dichondra Repens can grow between paving, on natural rock walls, in garden beds, under trees, or may be grown in areas of a lawn which may be thinning out due to excessive shade on the lawn area, and Dichondra can even be used as a substitute for an entire lawn. Dichondra Repens is extremely versatile, and its flowering blooms can add a wonderful splash of color across the entire area where it’s grown.
Dichronda will do well in sun and shade conditions, can tolerate many soil types, and can go without water for some periods; though it will need to have a deep heavy watering when it is again watered. In fact, Dichondra does quite well with infrequent and deep waterings.
Dichondra Repens is best suited for warmer and drier regions. The hotter and drier the area will translate equally to the Dichondra lawn requiring more frequent waterings.
Best USDA planting zones are between 7 - 11.
Planting Dichondra Repens As A Lawn
Dichondra can be planted with seed or via punnets of seedlings. Establishment and coverage times can be slow to begin, but as this plant is a self seeding perennial it will continue to self propagate and continue to spread and thicken quite rapidly once it has taken a good foothold.
The area to be planted with Dichondra should be weed free as much as possible before any planting is done. Dichondra is not suitable for any type of weed spraying, so it is imperative that all weeds are gone from the planting area before Repens is planted. Any weeds should be removed by hand once the ground-cover is established.
Once the seed or punnets / sprigs are planted, the area should be watered enough to be kept moist until establishment is completed.
Using Dichondra Alongside or As Lawn Areas
Whether we have Dichondra overflowing a garden or rockery area and verging into lawns, or if Dichondra is the lawn itself, there really is nothing special that needs to be done to look after this plant, when compared to regular lawns.
Mow over it when mowing the other lawn areas. Or if it’s getting too thick when growing as a standalone lawn then we can just mow it as we would a regular lawn at regular lawn mowing heights, to keep it looking trim and neat.
Mulch mowing is quite acceptable with Dichondra, and just like with regular lawns - mulch mowing is best done when mowing at more frequent and regular intervals. That is: we would want to mulch mow when the amount of leaf material to be removed is minimal. Whereas if we left the ground-cover to become very thick and dense then we would want to catch the clippings, which would be better to recycle into compost on in garden beds.
As already stated, weed sprays should not be used on Dichondra, weeds should be pulled by hand.
An occasional application of garden fertilizer is quite OK and will be loved by the plant.
Dichondra can be walked and played on just like a lawn, and will easily repair itself quickly, however it will not have the high wear and tear durability that a grass lawn has.
Dichondra Repens Problems
Potential problems with Dichondra are very minimal.
Fungus can occur due to overwatering, cutworm can be a problem, as well as fleabeetle. All very minor risk issues of little concern for most of us.
Dichondra does not do well in cold or frost prone regions.
The other big problem which can be a concern to some people, is when Dichondra is not wanted in the garden or yard, and was not purposefully planted, but it keeps growing and spreading on its own accord. In which case the plant can be a fast spreading weed in these conditions and for these few situations. This usually only occurs on properties where optimum growing conditions exist for the plant, as well as the plant not being desired by the property owner.