How to Plant and Grow Dichondra

This low-growing, trailing plant works well as a groundcover or in a container.

Dichondra makes a good accent in a garden. Its fast growth and 2–3 inch height with trailing stems make it valuable as a groundcover or spilling down a wall or container. Its silver or pale green foliage creates a dense mat of leaves that soften any area. Dichondra is hardy in zones 10 and 11 and can be grown as an annual or perennial.

Dichondra Overview

GENUS NAMEDichondra
COMMON NAMEDichondra
PLANT TYPEAnnual, Perennial
LIGHTPart Sun, Sun
HEIGHT2 to 3 inches
WIDTH3 to 6 feet
FOLIAGE COLORBlue/Green, Gray/Silver
SPECIAL FEATURESGood for Containers, Low Maintenance
ZONES10, 11
PROPAGATIONSeed, Stem Cuttings
PROBLEM SOLVERSDeer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Groundcover

Where to Grow Dichondra

Plant dichondra in an area that receives full sun and has excellent drainage, although it will grow (less robustly) in partial sun. Due to its quick-spreading habit, dichondra works well as a no-mow lawn substitute in small areas that don’t get much foot traffic. Its dense mats of leaves prevent weed growth and cover areas much quicker than grass. Dichondra can fill in empty spots in borders and is an excellent container plant that looks pretty trailing over a container’s edge when combined with other plants. Grow it as a perennial in USDA zones 10–11 and as an annual in cooler areas.

How and When to Grow Dichondra

Plant dichondra in late spring. These warm-weather perennials prefer daytime temperatures of at least 70ºF and night temperatures of 50ºF or above at planting time. When planting nursery starts, dig a hole large enough to hold the plant’s rootball. Add compost to increase soil drainage. Place the plant so that the top of the root ball is level with the soil line. Backfill the hole and press down on the soil with your hands to remove any air pockets and leave a slight depression around the plant to hold water. Water thoroughly.

If you prefer to start dichondra from seed, prepare a bed in the garden with excellent drainage. Dichondra grows best in well-draining soil and full sun. When the weather warms to 70ºF in the day and 50ºF at night, sprinkle the seeds over the prepared bed. Lightly press them into the soil, but don’t cover them. They need sun to germinate. Water well and look for seedlings to emerge in a couple of weeks. Silver varieties send out runners as they grow, so you might want to pinch them to encourage branching. Green types don’t require pinching. If you are growing dichondra as a groundcover, thin the seedlings to 6 inches apart.

Dichondra Care Tips

Dichondra is easy to care for and requires little attention or maintenance.

Light

Dichondra grows best in full sun. In partial shade, the silver varieties tend to stay greener and have a looser habit. Green types tend to have a dense growth habit, so you generally won’t notice much difference in full or partial sun.

Soil and Water

Dichondra needs the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot. Sandy loam is the best soil for it, and clay doesn’t work since it holds water which isn’t suitable for dichondra. Soil should be well-draining. Water new plants regularly until they’re established, and then let the soil get dry before watering. Waterlogged roots will cause root rot.

Temperature and Humidity

Silver salvia varieties will do better in humidity than green ones. Both colors need warm weather, so don’t plant until after the last frost.

Fertilizer

Dichondra is adaptable to many types of soil, so fertilizer is rarely needed.

Pruning

Perennial dichondra grown as groundcover can be mowed to control invasive spreading. Spiller dichondra can be trimmed to maintain its desired size and shape and encourage new growth.

Potting and Repotting Dichondra

Add spiller dichondra to the edge of well-draining planter boxes, hanging planters and containers to allow it to fall over the sides of the container. Containers can be shallow since dichondra’s roots don’t go deep. When it starts to take up too much room, divide dichondra or repot the entire plant in a larger planter.

Pests and Problems

Dichondra flea beetles can cause a lot of damage to these plants. You’ll know you have these pests when you see crescent-shaped holes in the leaves. These pests can be treated with insecticides. Too much water can cause the roots to rot and die, killing the plants.

How to Propagate Dichondra

Propagate dichondra with cuttings, divisions, or by planting seeds.

Division: The simplest way to propagate dichondra is to divide it. Dichondra has shallow roots, which makes the process particularly simple. Use a garden trowel to lift a small section of dichondra and gently divide it with your hands so that each section has roots and foliage. Replant in new areas of your garden immediately at the same depth as the original plant.

Cuttings: Cut stems directly below a leaf node. Plant them indoors in a flat or pot with seed-starting mix. Cover them with a plastic bag and place in indirect sunlight. Make sure the soil stays moist. In a few weeks, after roots form, transfer the cuttings to outdoor soil or planters.

Seed: To grow dichondra from seeds, scatter the seeds on loosened soil when temperatures average 70ºF during the day and stay above 50ºF at night. Don’t cover them with soil; just press them in. The seeds need sun to germinate. In a couple of weeks, you will see seedlings emerge.