The Dichondra plant is primarily grown as ground cover. It’s a great choice for covering areas that are difficult to mow. It features bright, round leaves and prefers full sun.
The name pronounced [dy-KON-drah] and is native to parts of Mexico and California. It’s also part of the Convolvulaceae family, which is also known as the morning glory family.
While ground cover plants are often easy to care for, some varieties of dichondra can present a challenge. Use these tips to keep your ground cover or basket healthy.
Size and Growth
This perennial ground cover is recommended for USDA hardiness zones 7 to 11. You can grow it outdoors in most parts of North America without issue.
As the plant grows, it creates a dense cover that is great for covering areas where other types of grass do not grow well.
It rarely grows above two inches and produces green, fan-shaped leaves.
There is also a variety called silver dichondra that produces silverfish-green foliage. This variety also goes by the common name “Silver Falls.”
Flowering and Fragrance
The plant does flower, but you may need a magnifying glass to see the blooms. It typically produces white, yellow, or green flowers that rarely measure more than two or three millimeters.
The flowers may bloom in the summer and last through the rest of the warmer months. When grown indoors, it’s less likely to bloom.
Light and Temperature
For best results outdoors, grow the plant in partial shade to full sun.
The ideal temperature is about 70° degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for indoor growth. If you plan to place it outdoors, consider the climate of the region to choose the right location.
In warmer regions, the plant may grow better in partial shade. However, I have seen Dichondra growing in full sun during the summer months in central Florida. In colder regions, give it more sunlight while avoiding direct sun in the afternoon.
Watering and Feeding
You should give the dichondra a thorough watering, ensuring that the ground is saturated. The foliage should be thoroughly covered in moisture.
NOTE: To avoid root rot, you should allow the ground to almost completely dry out between waterings.
Soil and Transplanting
Dichondra is a relatively easy plant to grow from seed. However, before you scatter the seeds, make sure that the area is free of weeds.
Weeds can easily overtake this plant, especially when growing from seed.
Rake the area and pull any weeds that you find. During the first year or two, you may need to take extra care to pull additional weeds that pop up. With each passing year, you should notice fewer weeds.
Lightly scatter the Dichondra seeds over loose well-drained soil. Add a shallow layer of peat moss over the seeds to help lock in moisture. Within one to two weeks, the seeds should sprout.
Dichondra Plants Grooming & Maintenance
This plant rarely reaches above two inches and slowly spreads outward across your lawn. If you want to manage the spread of the plant, you may need to occasionally trim back the stems or remove roots.
For hanging baskets or window boxes, regularly pinch out the growing shoots to encourage bushy growth.
Related Reading: Basket Grass makes a great hanging basket!
How to Propagate Dichondra
Propagating Dichondra repens isn’t an easy task. It’s typically easiest to just grow it fresh from seed packets.
You can attempt to collect seeds from the flowers if grown outdoors. Clip the flowers and place on a piece of paper towel and then store in a dark cupboard. Allow the flowers to completely dry and then shake the seeds loose.
You may also try to propagate by division or with stem cuttings. However, the stems are delicate while the plant has a deep root system.
Pests or Diseases Of Dichondra Plants
The ground cover provides a suitable environment for a specific pest. Dichondra flea beetles are a common nuisance for these plants.
Luckily, the beetle rarely occurs in large enough numbers for you need to use any specific treatment. The beetles typically die off or move on. However, if you start to notice that the foliage is wilting and dying, you may need to use an insecticide.
Weeds are also an occasional problem for this plant. The most common cause of uncontrollable weed growth is overwatering. Remember to allow the soil to almost completely dry out between watering.
If you grow the plant indoors, the beetles and the weeds shouldn’t pose a threat to the health of your plant.
Dichondra is also considered an invasive species in some areas of the Southwest in North America. For example, in areas of Texas, dichondra is listed as an invasive species and is treated as a weed.
Suggested Dichondra Uses
The most common use for the dichondra is as a ground cover. It features creeping stems that easily take root. It also adds a splash of color when the little flowers bloom.
While it’s mostly used for ground cover, it’s also occasionally grown in pots or hanging baskets (Sea World). The cascading effect helps add more dimension to a window box or rock wall.
You can place it in a pot, in windows boxes or hanging basket and allow the stems to flow over the sides.