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Woolly Stemodia

Woolly stemodia drought groundcover replace grass

Deer-resistant Woolly Stemodia (Stemodia lanata) is native to coastal regions of Texas where deep, sandy soils are most prevalent. It works in many soils, but they must be well-drained.

It spreads quickly across the ground, blanketing an area with bright, silvery-soft, almost-white, fuzzy leaves. Growing only about 6 inches tall and spreading to about 3 feet wide, Woolly Stemodia is a great filler in the front of garden spaces, especially raised beds, where it can cascade over onto the ground. It also does great in containers, spilling over the edge for dramatic effect.

Full sun is best, but afternoon shade is okay too. Woolly Stemodia flowers from late summer through fall, but the blooms are fairly insignificant. Small white or light lavender flowers stay very tight within the leaves, making them almost unnoticeable.

Once established, Woolly Stemodia should be watered sparingly. If the crown of the plant stays too wet, it will begin to rot from the center.

Unlike some groundcovers, Woolly Stemodia stays pretty much within bounds and requires very little maintenance to keep it looking good. Listed as hardy to zone 8, it’s a perennial that can die back to the ground in winter, so prune back all the top growth in late winter. Sometimes the leaves can get a bit straggly and unattractive later in the season, once temperatures are off the charts. If that happens to your plant, simply shear off the straggly parts, which will reinvigorate the plant for new growth.

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