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Looking for a Grass Alternative? Try a Peanut Lawn

This lawn, of ornamental peanut plants, almost thoroughly outcompetes other plants.

This lawn, of ornamental peanut plants, almost thoroughly outcompetes other plants.

The blossoms will persist year round if the plant is mowed once per year.

The blossoms will persist year round if the plant is mowed once per year.

Still in Florida with my family, I can admit to my blog followers that my mind never completely shuts off from this lawn crusade. When I took my 8-month-old daughter for a walk yesterday in an old neighborhood in St. Petersburg, I was fascinated by a lawn with bright orange-yellow blooms. The homeowner, perched out front for what he said was his once-a-year hand weeding, called his creation a peanut lawn.

He allowed me to snap a few photos and when I got a chance to go on-line today, I learned more about Arachis glabrata, a member of the pea family. Here’s a description from a University of Florida Cooperative Extension agent: http://leon.ifas.ufl.edu/News_Columns/2004/070104.pdf.

In addition to being the most beautiful lawn in my sister-in-law’s Florida neighborhood, it was also one of the most low maintenance. The homeowner says he mows just once a year and never fertilizes, since the plant “fixes” its own nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Here are a couple of great web sites to find other lawn alternatives: www.jeeperscreepersusa.com and www.stepables.com that will help you find other plants suitable for other climates (the ornamental peanut is only hardy to Zone 8). Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to be anti-lawn. Grass has its place and purpose in the North American landscape. But you need to know that there are so many more environmentally friendly alternatives.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

Number of Entries : 1023
  • http://www.theblogbutler.com Cristobal Colon

    Sorry Paul but this just looks like a lawn full of weeds!

  • Mary

    you’d have to see it in person . They are very pretty and don’t have the yellow flowers during the summer. Butterflies also like them!

  • FightForKids

    Very creative. Will try it on a small patch. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Alex

    Love it!!. I live in Saint Petersburg as well- have been looking for a website like yours FOREVER!!!. Our backyard is all weeds right now and this will be a great alternative.

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  • http://christine-kent.blogspot.com Christine

    This is truly a wonderful alternative to grass. It looks so inviting and colorful. I’ve had some of these pop up around my yard from time to time and had wished for a yard full of the Peanut plants! I’m in a wheelchair now 3 yrs with a spinal cord injury and I’m dependant on everyone else now to help with my lawn/gardening. It’s very difficult to get around my yard to my gardens, my yard is all weeds and sand now. I would like a low maintenance yard which I can get around with ease in my wheelchair and wanted something with a low pile and dense. Do they sell this in Pallets like sod?? Do you think it would work for me in S Fla East coast?I think it’s very appealing oppossed to yellow dry grass!

  • Kali

    I have a neighbor who has this as her “grass alternative” and it is amazingly beautiful. When she told me what it was I went and did my own research. It is a wonderful replacement. I personally do not like grass and this is a bonus for me because of that. When it does bloom, and in Florida that seems to be most of the year, it is amazing. When you add a few native plants along side it, they are even more noticeable and your yard looks wonderful, colorful and bright. It looks nothing like weeds. It does require quite a bit of weeding, but less maintenance than regular grass, you use less water, it tolerates heat well and less problems with allergies as well. (for me at least) I love it!

  • http://www.edible-landscape-design.com Pat

    Wow, this is gorgeous! Do these form edible peanuts?

    • Paul Tukey

      Pat,
      This plant is strictly ornamental, but definitely worth trying in the right location.

  • Peggy

    I just planted some of this in my yard over the weekend. We found it at Lowes in Homestead. They have it planted in their parking lot. We liked it so much we asked about it and found that they had ordered it (to sell) because so many people had inquired about it. We live in the Florida Keys and hope that it will do well.

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