Lippia The Drought Resistant Ground Cover

Posted by George Bravos on

Lippia Ground Cover

Lippia ground cover has been popular many times in the past. Lippia ground cover now known as frog fruit, turkey tangler, or its scientific name Phlya Nodiflora is a perennial ground cover that provides superior drought resistance when compared to grass lawns. Originally Phyla Nodiflora or lippia ground cover was most popular around 1925 when grass was still new to America as a lawn. After the war and major building after the war the market was driven towards a easier option which is what we find in most homes today, sod.

California Native Lippia Ground Cover

California has been using Lippia ground cover or Phyla Nodiflora Ground Cover for over 100 years and only until recently have we heard of the new trademark as Kurapia Ground Cover. Kurapia is a hybrid version of the lippia ground cover and is sold in sod form. This evolution in lippia or kurapia now enables faster establishment taking weeks instead of months. The growth on both lippia ground cover and the hybrid kurapia ground cover are the same the only minor difference being the color of the seasonal flower. While there are four types of lippia commonly used in America Phyla Nodiflora Lippia is the only current type to thrive in California.

Lippia Lawns Are The Lowest Maintenance

Mow a couple times a year if you want to keep tight uniform growth and to also cut off flowers after the season of flowering in the lippia ground cover ends. Lippias do not require mowing and will naturally spread and flower twice a year. Lippia requires next to no maintenance and when used in plugs can spread to form one large lawn area from just small pieces. The growth of lippia ground cover and lippia lawns tends to stay under 3" unless in extreme shade or when reaching things to creep on. 

Lippia Ground Cover Durability

Lippia ground cover or Phyla Nodiflora is considered a pioneer species in the Majority of the Central and Southern States. This means Lippia ground cover can handle many different soil types and environmental conditions. Where grass has a hard time growing due to Extreme PH variations lippia ground cover or Phyla Nodiflora will have a more consistent healthier look, this is because the plant can endure a very acidic and both very non acidic conditions. 

Lippia ground cover has been around since man has walked the earth. Lippia ground cover was actually used as lawn before grass was popularized in the 1950s before then you would find many lawns that were Lippia groundcover throughout California. Lippia can be found throughout The world due to the durability of the groundcover. Lippia groundcover has been known to survive droughts that have exceeded a full summer season with minimal effort required for repair. Lippia like many other ground covers is a creeping type plant meaning it will spread helping any areas that are damaged fill in in keeping a lawn available for play all year. Lippia Ground cover does not require mowing what is recommended seasonally during or after flowering for best aesthetic look and for a strong rooting system.

Lippia Ground Cover Flowering Season

Lippia ground cover flowers once to twice a year depending on temperatures and light conditions. Lippia ground cover begins to flower in the spring with the weather in California and Central America. The First Lippia flowers begin around May and finish blooming at the end of June, in this time you may have multiple waves of flowers coming in each week by the hundreds if not thousands. If Lippia ground cover temperatures fluctuate through this time or if in s sunny and shady area flowering may come sooner or stay later by about one month. For the best looking lippia we recommend cutting the dead flowers off at the end of the season but they can also be left unmowed. Our testing into Native Lippia ground cover was established with the intent to never mow the flowers and over the 4 years of no mowing has showed us the product does naturally returns to its former all green state. The color of the lippia flowers are white purple with yellow centers a small but beautiful flower that pollinators love to enjoy. Draw more butterflies in during the spring with lippia as a lawn alternative.

Lippia Ground Cover As A Lawn Substitute

As we have stated above lippia ground cover previously was used as a lawn and we are finding more and more people turning back to a healthier cheaper more sustainable lawn such as lippia ground cover.

Common Lippia Phyla Nodiflora Names

This lippia ground cover is everywhere in the world and in being everywhere has many names. All of the names below are in relation to the plant Phyla Nodiflora. Along with these there are other version and hybrids but we are currently focusing on what people refer to as Common Lippia.

Fog Fruit ground cover- Earliest known English nicknamed because of the early flower bloom even before direct sunlight in the fog.

Frog Fruit - People over time began calling it frog due to not noticeable fog in residential lawn areas but in fact frogs in wetland areas, another none fact since frogs do not tend to live in kurapia.

Turkey Tangle or Turkey Tangler ground cover- This is not because a turkey the animal got caught in it, rather this is because of how well the plant thrived in Turkey the  Country.

Tangle Frog Fruit- Used in Other Countries due to evolving name and locations.

Sawtooth Fog Fruit- Sawtooth added to the fog fruit and frog fruit names because of the shape of the ridged leaf.

Texas Frog Fruit- A Native ground cover perfectly suited to Texas Climate.

Creeping Lippia- A common lippia nickname we hear from older homeowners and Landscapers.

Match Weed- Nicknamed this by marketing the ground cover as a problem or invasive weed.

Match Head- Nicknamed this because of the look of the flower tip unflowered, it resembles a match stick, picture below for reference.

Mat Lippia- Mat Lippia refers to lippia being the genus and mat as the way it grows in flat mat like runners or stolons.

Some of these names will result in very nice and very bad pictures depending on what side the person is on and what the goal is of the plant, if in a grass lawn it would be seem as a problem since it will take over but in a native lawn or ground cover lawn this would be a perfect setting for a easy to maintain lawn that will have less weeds and issues due to maintenance.

Frog Fruit

Frog fruit is by far the most common name for Phyla Nodiflora. We find frog fruit used for this plant everywhere in North America but like we listed above the names vary wildly between countries. Frog Fruit or phyla nodiflora is currently available in plugs while supplies last and is ships via UPS. Frog Fruit is generally seasonally available while supplies last.

Native Frog Fruit

Below we have a link to the California Native version of phyla nodiflora commonly known as frog fruit. Frog fruit is the Native version of Phyla Nodiflora and is available in plug form. 

Frog Fruit Seed

Frog fruit seed is very rare to find due to the nature of the plant and the size of the seed. A huge bloom of flowers occurs producing flowers to germinate seed. We do know that frog fruit produces seed, however due to the nature of the seasons in California, we have personally not seen any active seedlings in nature or in farms. Looking back over 100 years ago lippia or frog fruit was noted as sterile by the founding father of California Jon Muir.




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  • Hello

    Thank you for the comprehensive review on Lippia as a lawn alternative. Can you tell me how Lippia deals with foot fall/ wear and tear?

    Many thanks

    Rachel Bailey on
  • Did not know there was a native ground cover for California before Bermuda interesting.

    Bens handyman service on
  • Lippia looks great now in the summer!

    Lee on
  • Our backyard looks excellent. I can see how Lippia Ground Cover makes our outdoor space more beautiful and enjoyable to watch.

    Robert Albertan on
  • People are always trying to find the perfect ground cover for their yard, and thank goodness this company is available in Fresno. They can help you find the perfect one for your budget. They have a nice variety of ground covers such as Lippia and more.

    Sandra Maria Mathis on

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