Skip to main content

Q&A: Dwarf Carpet of Stars vs. Frogfruit Groundcover (Phyla Nodiflora)

Q&A: Dwarf Carpet of Stars vs. Frogfruit Groundcover (Phyla Nodiflora)

Q: Hi, I am looking at the Alt Lawn Ultra - Frogfruit Groundcover but was also looking at Dwarf Carpet of Stars, Ruschia lineolata 'Nana'. Can you explain the difference and climate preference? 

Cool Video on Ruschia/Dwarf Carpet of Stars as a lawn alternative:


A: Hi G-,

Cool plant! Haven’t used dwarf carpet of stars as a lawn substitute myself. Looks like a decent alternative from preliminary research tho! Here are the differences from Frogfruit that I can tell you:
- Durability: Frogfruit is a high performance groundcover. It’s suitable for sports & full foot traffic. It functions just like a lawn & can even be mown regularly if so desired - so it’s more foot traffic tough than Ruschia from what I can see
- Color: true grass green vs. silver blue green
- Looks & Level: Sterile Frogfruit naturally grows flat to 1-2 cm in height in full sun (gets a touch softer and wispy to 3-6 cm in shade). It gives a very uniform look that some people even think is astroturf from afar…ruschia looks more moundy or lumpy
Kurapia ground cover in full shade southern california
Kurapia’s soft texture in full-shade in Yorba Linda, California, drip irrigation (drip suitable for shade conditions only)

- Feel: Frogfruit is soft and comfortable to walk on underfoot / bare foot. Even in hot and dry conditions. Ruschia seems to have a bit more texturing & density going on
- Sun: Frogfruit can take full sun or full shade. Most ice plant family & relatives like Ruschia are full sun to light part-shade only
- Roots: Frogfruit roots to 10’ deep (after it’s first 6 months establishment) which is what gives it its an intense resilience, low water needs and extreme slope stabilization capabilities. Ice plant family & its close relatives are surface rooters (12”) whose dense mats naturally propagate by rolling down hills after getting to a certain size/weight 
- Frogfruit is a native plant (or extremely close lab bred relative of one if u want to get technical). It nurtures indigenous honey bee populations vs. Ruschia is not native and, while plants in this family do support pollinators, not to the same extent
Never mown alt lawn ultra Kurapia groundcover in Pasadena, California
Frogfruit 2 years old, full sun, never mown, watered 1-2x a week depending on restrictions. No winter irrigation.
- Mowing: if you want your Frogfruit to be even flatter and greener, And wish to eliminate or reduce flowering, you can mow it on a regular schedule  
- Longevity: Ruschia is said to need some touch up’s with new cuttings or plugs at around 4 years of age. Frogfruit can be renewed through an annual mow.

I am guessing here but dare say the water needs & heat tolerance of these 2 plants is pretty much the same. Most of my clients with established Frogfruit turn off their water entirely in winter. Ruschia seems to prefer less water in high heat and spreads more in cool seasons. whereas warm seasons are Frogfruit's preferred season to spread so it looks best with a bit more water in warm weather when restrictions allow.
At California Wild we focus on distributing plants that have habitat rehabilitation capacity and/or notable environmental benefits as much as drought tolerance. The ice plant family is somewhat invasive in California. So that’s why we prioritize Frogfruit. But Ruschia looks like a great alternative too.
Hope that helps! 
California Wild Gardens


Be the first to comment.
All comments are moderated before being published.

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.
Thanks for contacting us! We'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for subscribing Thanks! We will notify you when it becomes available! The max number of items have already been added There is only one item left to add to the cart There are only [num_items] items left to add to the cart