What is Sterile Frogfruit? The lawn alternative for California you wished you’d heard about sooner
California Frogfruit ... or the Succulent groundcover lawn alternative we can’t get enough of
California's best-kept lawn secret is in fact not a lawn at all. It’s practically a weed. But in the last decade engineering in a Japanese lab has rendered it not only manageable but superiorly comfortable underfoot.
Sterile Frogfruit, Phyla nodiflora (types S1, New White & Pink) are the 3 strains of a plant once called Lippia nodiflora that grows wild naturally in a number of coastal climes around the world and especially all over California. It’s succulent stems grow so low and thick they prevent many weeds. And it’s vigor is such that it can survive on irregular watering schedules, moderate fertilization and no winter water whatsoever.
Phyla’s fleshy green leaves make a soft spongey carpet that holds up to pets, light sports and entertaining. And it’s so non-toxic it’s edible in small quantities (*consume at your own risk*). This means nibbling critters can be a problem with new plug installations but once a full Frogfruit carpet forms wildlife browsing becomes like a free mow. And mowing on the monthly keeps Frogfruit even greener and spongier though is not necessary (unless you wish to prevent any flowering).
Frogfruit is the most recommended lawn-like product on the market for Los Angeles and the great gold state. It can handle any outdoor carpeting purposes you can imagine.
While the initial price tag might make your brow furrow the perks are just downright desirable. Because Maintenance and water savings pay for themselves in as little as 2 years (when compared to conventional lawns) Sterile Frogfruit is an ultra green alternative to conventional lawn grass.
"Lawn" without the lawn care.
Why is mowing Phyla nodiflora optional? The drought-tolerant creeping groundcover naturally stays 1/2” high in full sun (the height of a freshly moon lawn) and stretches out to a soft whispy 2-4” high in shade. It’s easy to propagate and spread to other parts of your yard when temperatures are warm, so don’t be shy about trying it in new places.
If bees are a concern you will want to mow your Frogfruit "lawn" once a month to take off flower heads when they bloom. But reducing watering can also reduce blooming (though many people enjoy and encourage the happy foraging honey bees).
WOW. The water savings on this sod are almost unbelievable. After seeing it's performance in enough of our client's yards we can say that the "grass" really IS greener.
Like most new lawns, Frogfruit sterile groundcover lawn needs to be watered HEAVILY every day for the first six weeks, then every other day till it grows up and sets down roots of it's own (2-4 more months depending on the time of year).
When Phyla is a half a year to one year old it will have its ultra drought-tolerant roots well on their way to 10 feet deep. These provide its unmatchable drought resistance and water savings (50-65% over conventional lawn). By year 2 some people turn the water off and forget about it for more than a few months before they notice any browning. And remember to turn their irrigation cycles back on.
Checkout our free guide to see approximate watering tables.
Water it once a week to keep it ultra lush, once a month to keep it green and once a season if you forget! *once roots fully established!*
The lawn above gets soccer played on it twice a week. With cleats. It's the home of one small dog. It's hosted father-daughter tea parties for 30. Oh, and it was hit HARD by frost the first two weeks it was planted one weird Pasadena January.
These lawns can take a lot, and come back strong. Dogs, kids, sports, entertaining, they are made for being lived on.
It grows slower in shade and a little longer but it STILL grows and grows well. I've seen it out pace creeping thyme, baby's breath, lily turf and many other shade ground covers as a beautiful soft low-water fill.
Ideal for contemporary strip planting, vertical walls and growing in between pave stones or patios.
So why haven't I heard about this before?
So why haven't you seen it in the market before? Kurapia is a proprietary Japanese venture-capitalist backed wonder plant that is not widely known to contractors and landscape designers. It's only available through a few licensed California growers.
But good news WE SELL it... starting in packages of 200 sq.ft. We deliver custom Kurapia order curbside so you or your local landscaper can get it installed and on the grow.