Today we are going to talk about a plant that serves as a substitute for grass. It’s about the dichondra repens. Common names include kidney grass, mouse ear, and leaf grass. With this plant in your garden you can have a lawn but without it. And it is that it is a type of perennial grass and receives the name of kidney grass because of the shape of its leaves. It is as if they are small kidneys.
In this article we will talk about the main characteristics of this plant and the care it must take to enjoy it all year round. Do you want to know more about the Bliss repens? Read on to find out.
Main characteristics of dichondra grass
This plant is quite attractive and covers the ground very well as if it were a lawn. Not only is it used as such, but it has an ornamental addition. Is able to grow in any type of soil and climate, although it is more favored in those humid climates. Like conventional grass, it does not resist flooding or trampling. If we want to keep it well, it is better not to step on them too much or kick them.
Its ideal location is in shady areas, although it also resists sunny ones. If it is planted in a sunny area and is not trampled much, it can grow and cover the ground in the same way as if it is done in a shady area. It is true that in the face of continuous trampling and kicking, the grass is more resistant. If the dichondra repens it is planted in an area with total shade, it will be able to measure up to 15 cm in height.
It is quite useful to plant it between the gaps left by the garden tiles or the Japanese steps. In these areas the grass does not have as much power and cannot grow well. Also, there are problems mowing. This plant does not need mowing and it is also recommended to put them under benches, between stairs or other places in the garden.
One aspect that must be taken into account for this type of plant is its maintenance and cultivation. As we mentioned before, the height of the dichondra repens is between 5 and 10 cm tallalthough it can reach 15 cm if it is in good condition and in total shade. In the continental climate with frosts as usual it turns brown in winter. In these cases it is better not to sow it.
By being able to withstand temperatures down to -9 degrees, when spring comes it sprouts again and makes it very strong. It consumes less water than ordinary grass. Irrigation can be done with a frequency of between 4 and 5 days in summer. If the days are too dry and with a warm wind, it is better to water something else.
Since the dichondra repens creates a carpet that covers the floor completely, no mowing is necessary. At most once a month.
Care dichondra repens or mouse ear plant
To carry out its cultivation correctly, the best time is from May to October. In this case, it is better to get the seeds. To prepare the land for sowing it is necessary to till it, eliminate weeds and fertilize it. Its preparation is similar to that carried out with grass. Once planted, you have to be extremely patient, since its growth is very slow. It usually takes between 4 and 5 months to grow.
If weeds appear around the kidney grass during growth, several steps must be taken. The first thing is to do a mowing to reduce the presence of weeds. The second is to reduce irrigation, since the excess water is being used by the weeds to grow. It is better to remove the weeds by hand if it is a smaller area. If there is too much, use a weed killer sprayer.
Planting using Plugs or dice
The plantation of the dichondra repens using plugs or dice it is safer than in seed directly to the ground. When we sow by Plugs they are placed in a tray with cells and each cell contains a plant with its complete foliar and root development. In this way it can be spread immediately after transplantation.
Each tray contains 66 plugs that must be transplanted. The density of the plantation varies depending on the location where we are going to place it. In general, the density is 16 seedlings per square meter. However, if the area is shaded it will be increased to 33 seedlings per square meter, since they will be able to grow in better conditions. When we plant it in sunny areas, the plants must compete more for nutrients and water. If we transplant too many seedlings in a sunny area, they will not survive or develop well.
If we want to achieve full coverage on the surface of our garden, we will need to wait between 3 and 4 months to begin to see the results. The correct planting time should be from September 15 to February 1. To ensure the successful development of kidney herb, it is necessary to prepare the planting bed well. That is, add sand or other elements so that the earth does not compact in such a way that there is good drainage during irrigation and waterlogging is avoided.
If we are in winter and the rainfall is abundant, it is better not to water to avoid puddles. If we continue watering, the only thing that we will be achieving is soaking and drowning the plants that we want to maintain and favor the growth of those weeds that we want to avoid.
Once the seedlings have been transplanted, a light initial watering is necessary during the first 10 days. Afterwards, we will continue with deeper and more spaced waterings until it is fully developed.
Advantages of planting dichondra repens
As a summary, here we place the advantages of sowing this plant in front of the lawn.
- Tolerates shade well.
- It adapts well to loose, humid and low fertility soils.
- In non-mowing conditions, it maintains a good upholstery appearance.
- Very low maintenance needs.
I hope that with this information you can enjoy a nice “lawn” in your garden with less maintenance and a better ornamental feature. Remember to comment on the doubts about its cultivation and maintenance
One thought on “Dichondra repens: characteristics and care”
I have been growing this lovely plant for many years in Melbourne, Australia.
In the last two years in late spring large areas have wilted over a couple of days and died off leaving ugly bare patches. This has been after flowering and dropping seeds so it has regenerated over summer /autumn months.
I have seen quite a lot of moss growing and wondered if this was feeding on the duchondra?
Also have been told about flea beetles being a problem so have sprayed for this, seemed to help the first year but not the second. Any advice?