Friday, May 14, 2010

Fakahatchee grass - no South Florida garden should be without it

It almost makes sense that the big garden centers don't sell the toughest native plants, I guess they want "repeat business".

I'm really trying to strike a balance between form, function, beauty by planting many different kinds of plants, from perennials, to shrubs and trees.

I am placing a lot of emphasis on edibles, but also on native plants and water wise plants.

I took out many books from our public library system and read up a good deal about our best native landscaping plants. Unfortunately, very few of them are available at any of the garden centers. The only ones that are readily available are sea grape, coco plum.

There are only two native nurseries relatively close by, but both are catering more for the landscaping businesses than for homeowners, so you have to phone ahead and make an appointment, in short just too much of a hassle.

My firebush is from a small cutting I took while visiting a nature center. Of the handfull of cuttings, one rooted and has grown to a 10 feet tall shrub/tree. My elder berry is from a small piece of wood that I broke off from a shrub growing wild next to my jogging path, I made a clean cut above the point where I snapped it off, then dipped it in some rooting hormone, placed it in a glass of water on my window sill and within a few weeks it grew roots, I planted it out and today its about 15 feet tall and wide and forever full of striking white flowers. In fact its so vigorous that I will soon have to prune it back severely, otherwise it will smother the other shrubs in the border.

I had unsuccessfully tried to grow fakahatchee grass from seeds. I had been searching for it for long time, then while browsing through the plants at Rorabecks Market in Lake Worth, I came upon fakahatchee grass at a great price. So I bought a 5 gallon container, divided it into 3 and planted them in different spots in the garden. This coming fall, I will divide them again and probably have another 3 or more to plant elsewhere.

To give you a comparison, my lemon grass which had been growing so well and looking so great, all but died back during the winter and now looks terrible, but the fakahatchee grass, grew bigger and more beautiful.


  1. I just saw this grass yesterday at two garden centers in Davie. I almost bought it, but I was afraid it might be too vigorous (aka invasive). Is it well-behaved?

  2. Hi size123, this grass is a clump-forming variety and is not invasive. All across SOuth-Florida, this is used extensively in landscaping, around here in Boynton, its used in gated community (including mine) gardens extensively. I've seen them cut it back severely every late winter/early spring to encourage new growth. You most likely will have to replace one or two clumps instead of it taking over. This grass is so valuable in keeping sand dunes intact, that is it a protected species, you are not even allowed to collect its seed in the wild.

  3. I have many of these in my landscape and they do self-propogate in an open area next to where they are. It only happens about once per year and these are easy to dig out and replant and they do well. It's not such a bad thing to have the tough ones who made it.