Best Looking Native Ground Cover

Posted by George Bravos on

Ground Cover

Native lawn areas that use ground covers bring benefits such as seasonal flowers and life back to what may have been a former sod lawn. With native ground covers, the local ecosystem will thrive. For instance, a native lawn is able to carry our natural processes such as helping insects and plants through plant pollination as well as provide food for butterflies, bees, many insects and other small critters. With increased drought tolerance, a native ground cover will also help ease the maintenance a yard may typically demand while providing the best environment.


Ground Cover lippia

Lippia Ground Cover

Lippia ground covers are a great way to have a native lawn that is low-to-the-ground and self-repairing without the need for weekly or bi-weekly mowing. Sod and Seed, Inc. Lippia test plots have never been mowed in over 4 years and continue to grow low to the ground with conditions such as direct sunlight and heat.

Ground Cover
 Native Phyla Nodiflora Ground Cover Pictured Above


A ground cover also provides protection from soil erosion and cools the surrounding area while filtering out dust particles. Approximately 1,000 square feet of ground cover produces enough oxygen for a family of four for one year. 

A Ground Cover For Direct Sun That Saves Water

Different ground covers all have different needs and benefits. For example, our ground cover lawn alternatives, Kurapia sod and the California Native Lippia nodiflora plugs, are made to withstand direct sun. A ground cover mimics a lawn's low growth and provides a safe area to play on. Additionally, our alternative ground covers bloom flowers seasonally, though allowing them to bloom is optional. Some lawns are mowed to remain flowerless because they attract pollinators such as bees. Some folks do not wish for the extra company for reasons such as bee allergies and choose to mow Kurapia seasonally to avoid flowering. A native ground cover also saves over 50% of water usage versus a traditional sod lawn. Phyla nodiflora, or Frog Fruit ground cover, is a great option for direct sun areas and conserving water. 

Native Ground Cover and Hybrid Ground Cover

A native ground cover like Phyla Nodiflora, or Frog Fruit, is great for wide areas in which seeding is okay. The flowers on the ground cover produce seeds and help repair damaged areas. The native ground cover may sprout up in other areas as well with seeds spreading through heavy winds. The Native version of Lippia has not been modified in any way and comes in plug form. The California Native Lippia plugs thrive in warm weather and tend to slow down during the winter, similar to Bermuda grass growth. Although Frog Fruit ground cover, or Phyla Nodiflora ground cover, prefers warm climate and sunny conditions, it is an evergreen plant so it will stay green all year as long as weather permits. Due to Native Frog Fruit ground cover having so many ways to reproduce, it is considered invasive, while Kurapia, the hybrid version, is sterile.

kurapia ground cover
Flowering of Kurapia Pictured Above


Kurapia Ground Cover Sod

Hybrid ground covers such as Kurapia ground cover are a sterile version of Phyla Nodiflora, so if plant seeding and spread are undesired, Kurapia would meet the needs of a traditional lawn. Kurapia ground cover still provides the same benefits as the Native Lippia such as self-healing and drought tolerance, as well as spreading its growth laterally. However, Kurapia spreads in a creeping way of growth and not by seed.

Ground Cover Kurapia

The hybrid Kurapia ground cover in sod form makes the job of establishing a native lawn easy and fast. When Kurapia sod rolls are used to install the native lawn and laid out to provide an immediate cover of the whole area, it will need less water and offer faster establishment.

Ground Cover Kurapia
Kurapia ground cover from sod pictured above.

Phyla Nodiflora Common Names

Through the years, Phyla Nodiflora has received multiple nicknames such as Frog Fruit and on the East Coast, this plant is nicknamed Turkey Tangler. There are multiple species of the Native Phyla Nodiflora, so we stick to the scientific name, Phyla Nodiflora, to stay as close and accurate as possible to the native version of this ground cover.

Direct Sun Ground Cover

Phyla Nodiflora prefers hot days and direct sun. This native plant does require at least 60 percent sun throughout the day to thrive, producing larger leaves in the shade to help increase sun absorption. If you have an area where you want a low-maintenance ground cover, Phyla Nodiflora is the right plant for you.
Ground Cover Phyla Lippia

Ground Cover Sod Form

Kurapia is the first ground cover to be created into sod form. Kurapia ground cover, or s1, is referred to in this way since it is a sterile hybrid. This is the first time that a ground cover has been grown for the public in sod form and will likely sell out this year as it does every year. If you are looking for a way to have a fast ground cover yard, Kurapia is the way to go!

Ground Cover Plug Form

Traditionally found in nurseries, ground cover plugs are an easier and cheaper sod lawn alternative. For instance, plugs are created with Bermuda grasses along with other ground covers due to the fact that they spread laterally, eventually filling the areas in between. Our Phyla Nodiflora plugs are Native and have never been modified, meaning that they have two ways to repair which are by spreading growth laterally and also by way of seed. Phyla Nodiflora plugs are a great option for a lawn area since they are native to California. The seasonal flowering of this native plant also supports the surrounding ecology. Phyla Nodiflora does produce seed and if not properly maintained, can easily spread the Frog Fruit around. 
kurapia ground cover

Native Ground Cover VS Hybrid Ground Cover

Native ground cover vs hybrid ground cover is a hot topic with plants and gardening. Ground covers that are hybrid have had some process of the plants' nature genetically altered, which helps stabilize some products, like Kurapia ground cover, for residential use. Kurapia (s1 ground cover) was modified to make this ground cover suitable for homes and farming, as well as changing the class to be non-invasive. Currently, the Native version still holds its invasive nature. Out of all tested ground covers for direct sun, Phyla Nodiflora provides the best aesthetic visually and requires the lowest amount of watering.

Ground Cover Plugs and Sod

Below are the links to our Native Phyla Nodiflora Ground Cover plugs and our Kurapia ground cover in sod form. Thank you for stopping by, if you have any questions about the ground covers discussed above, feel free to ask in our store's online chat, via email at or give us a call at 925-435-7874 Pacific Standard Time.


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  • Hello, Anthony! Yes, Kurapia sod was developed from the native Lippia nodiflora species (syn. Phyla nodiflora) found in California and other states today. Kurapia is a patented perennial plant (stays green all year) developed in Japan by Dr. H. Kuramochi. This grass belongs to the Verbena family.

    Sod and Seed Staff on
  • Isn’t Kurapia developed from Lippia, right?

    Anthony Volpe on

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