Dichondra Lawns: Pros And Cons

A lush green lawn is the dream of many homeowners, but traditional grass lawns can be high maintenance and require a lot of water and fertilizer. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance and visually appealing alternative, then consider a Dichondra lawn. Dichondra lawns are gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional grass lawns in some regions. While there are several pros associated with dichondra lawns, there are also some cons to consider.

One significant advantage of Dichondra lawns is their ability to conserve water. Dichondra is a drought-tolerant plant that requires significantly less watering compared to typical grass lawns. This not only helps to reduce water bills but also promotes water conservation in areas experiencing water scarcity or drought.

Another benefit of dichondra lawns is their low maintenance requirements. Dichondra doesn’t grow as fast as grass, meaning less time and effort spent on mowing and trimming. Additionally, it tends to be more resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Dichondra lawns also offer a unique, lush appearance. The leaves are small, round, and have a vibrant green color, giving the lawn an attractive carpet-like appearance. The groundcover also helps to reduce soil erosion and noise pollution, providing a peaceful environment.

However, there are some cons to consider when opting for a Dichondra lawn. Firstly, dichondra lawns may not be suitable for heavy foot traffic areas. The delicate nature of the plant can result in thinning or damage when subjected to constant use, making it less suitable for active families or pet owners.

Another disadvantage is that dichondra lawns may struggle in areas with extreme weather conditions. It may struggle to survive in regions with extremely hot summers or areas prone to frost and freezing temperatures. Additionally, dichondra lawns have shown to be more susceptible to weed invasion, requiring vigilant weed control measures.

To sum up, dichondra lawns offer water conservation, low maintenance, and an attractive appearance. However, they may not be suitable for high-traffic areas and can struggle in extreme weather conditions. Ultimately, the decision to opt for a Dichondra lawn depends on the specific climate, intended use, and personal preferences of the homeowner.

What is Dichondra?

Dichondra is a genus of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae. It is native to North and South America and is commonly used as a ground cover or lawn alternative.

A. Description of Dichondra plant

Dichondra is a creeping perennial plant that spreads by stolons or runners. It has small, rounded leaves that are typically 1-2cm in diameter and grow on long, trailing stems. The plant is often mistaken for clover or moss due to its low-lying growth habit.

B. Different species of Dichondra

There are several species of Dichondra, including:

  • Dichondra carolinensis: native to the southeastern United States
  • Dichondra micrantha: native to Mexico and Central America
  • Dichondra repens: native to New Zealand and Australia

C. Growth habit and characteristics

Dichondra is a low-growing plant that typically reaches a height of 2-3 inches. It prefers moist soil and partial shade, but can tolerate full sun in cooler climates. The plant is often used as a ground cover, but can also be used as a lawn alternative.

Pros of Dichondra Lawn

A. Low maintenance

One of the biggest advantages of a Dichondra lawn is its low maintenance requirements.

1. Minimal mowing

Dichondra lawns only need to be mowed once or twice a month, compared to traditional grass lawns that require weekly mowing during the growing season.

2. Drought tolerance

Dichondra is drought-tolerant and can survive extended periods of dry weather without irrigation. This makes it an ideal choice for areas with water restrictions or limited water resources.

B. Aesthetic appeal

Dichondra lawns have a unique appearance that sets them apart from traditional grass lawns.

1. Unique appearance

The small, round leaves of Dichondra create a dense, carpet-like appearance that is soft to the touch. It has a vibrant green color that adds a lush look to any landscape.

2. Versatility in landscape design

Dichondra can be used in a variety of landscape designs, from formal gardens to naturalistic landscapes. It can also be used as a border plant or as a ground cover in between stepping stones.

C. Environmental benefits

Dichondra lawns offer several environmental benefits that traditional grass lawns do not.

1. Erosion control

Dichondra has a dense root system that helps prevent soil erosion on slopes and hillsides. Its low-growing habit also helps slow down rainwater runoff and allows more water to be absorbed into the soil.

2. Pollinator-friendly

Dichondra produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. This makes it a great choice for homeowners who want to support local pollinator populations.

D. Pet-friendly and non-toxic

Dichondra is a non-toxic plant that is safe for pets and children to play on. It is also soft to the touch, which makes it a comfortable surface for pets to lie on.

E. Adaptability to various soil types

Dichondra can grow in a variety of soil types, from sandy to clay soils. This makes it a versatile choice for homeowners with different soil conditions.

Cons of Dichondra Lawn

While Dichondra lawns offer many benefits, they also have some drawbacks.

A. Limited tolerance to foot traffic

Dichondra lawns have a limited tolerance to foot traffic, as the leaves can be easily damaged by heavy use. This makes it a poor choice for high-traffic areas such as sports fields or play areas.

B. Potential for weed invasion

Dichondra lawns are susceptible to weed invasion, which can be a problem if not managed properly.

1. Strategies for weed control

To prevent weed invasion, homeowners should keep the lawn well-maintained by mowing regularly and removing any weeds by hand. Pre-emergent herbicides can also be used to prevent weed seeds from germinating.

C. Susceptibility to pests and diseases

Dichondra lawns are also susceptible to pests and diseases that can damage the plant.

1. Common pests and diseases

Some common pests and diseases that affect Dichondra include:

  • Spider mites
  • Whiteflies
  • Leaf spot
  • Root rot

2. Prevention and treatment methods

To prevent pest and disease problems, homeowners should keep the lawn well-maintained by watering and fertilizing properly and removing any diseased leaves or plants. In severe cases, insecticides or fungicides may be necessary.

D. Invasive tendencies in some regions

Some species of Dichondra, such as Dichondra micrantha, have invasive tendencies in some regions. It is important to check with local authorities before planting Dichondra to ensure that it is not considered an invasive species in your area.

E. Difficulty in establishing a uniform lawn

Dichondra lawns can be difficult to establish a uniform lawn due to the plant’s growth habit. It may take several months for the lawn to fill in and become even.

V. Factors to Consider Before Planting a Dichondra Lawn

Before planting a Dichondra lawn, homeowners should consider several factors to ensure that it is the right choice for their landscape.

A. Climate and growing conditions

Dichondra grows best in areas with mild temperatures and moderate rainfall. It prefers partial shade but can tolerate full sun in cooler climates. Homeowners should also consider the soil type and drainage in their landscape, as Dichondra prefers moist soil.

B. Intended use of the lawn

Homeowners should consider the intended use of the lawn before planting Dichondra. If the lawn will be used for high-traffic areas such as sports fields or play areas, then Dichondra may not be the best choice.

C. Availability of Dichondra seeds or plugs

Dichondra seeds and plugs may not be readily available in all areas. Homeowners should check with local nurseries or online suppliers to ensure that they can obtain the necessary materials for planting.

D. Local regulations and invasive species concerns

Homeowners should check with local authorities to ensure that Dichondra is not considered an invasive species in their area. Some regions may have regulations or restrictions on planting certain types of plants.

How to Establish and Maintain a Dichondra Lawn

Establishing and maintaining a Dichondra lawn requires some effort, but it is relatively easy compared to traditional grass lawns.

A. Planting methods

There are two main methods for planting a Dichondra lawn: seeding and plugs.

1. Seeding

To seed a Dichondra lawn, homeowners should prepare the soil by removing any debris and loosening the top layer. The seeds should be spread evenly over the soil and lightly covered with a layer of soil or compost. The lawn should be watered regularly until the seeds have germinated, which usually takes 7-14 days.

2. Plugs

To plant plugs, homeowners should prepare the soil by removing any debris and loosening the top layer. The plugs should be planted at a distance of 6-12 inches apart and watered regularly until they have established.

B. Watering and fertilization

Dichondra lawns require regular watering and fertilization to maintain their health and appearance. Homeowners should water the lawn deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions. Fertilizer should be applied once or twice a year, in the spring and fall.

C. Mowing and trimming

Dichondra lawns only need to be mowed once or twice a month, depending on the growth rate. The lawn should be mowed to a height of 1-2 inches to maintain its appearance. Trimming around the edges of the lawn may also be necessary to keep the lawn looking neat and tidy.

D. Pest and disease control

To prevent pest and disease problems, homeowners should keep the lawn well-maintained by watering and fertilizing properly and removing any diseased leaves or plants. In severe cases, insecticides or fungicides may be necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Dichondra lawns.

1. Can Dichondra lawns be used for sports or recreational activities?

Dichondra lawns are not typically used for sports or high-intensity recreational activities. While they offer a visually appealing alternative to traditional grass lawns, dichondra lacks the durability required for activities like soccer, football, or other heavy-traffic sports. Dichondra is a delicate, low-growing plant that does not tolerate constant foot traffic well. However, it can be suitable for low-impact recreational activities such as picnics, yoga, or leisurely walks. For more active sports or intense activities, other types of grass specifically designed for high-traffic areas are usually preferred. Ultimately, the choice depends on the level of activity and desired maintenance of the lawn.

2. How can I control weeds in my Dichondra lawn?

Controlling weeds in a dichondra lawn requires a combination of preventive and reactive measures. Firstly, maintain a healthy lawn by mowing regularly and keeping the grass at an appropriate height. This ensures that the dichondra remains dense, preventing weeds from taking root. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring helps to prevent weed seeds from germinating. In case weeds do appear, manual removal or spot treatments with a selective herbicide specifically designed for dichondra can be effective. It’s important to carefully follow the instructions for any herbicides used. Regular monitoring and promptly addressing any weed growth will help maintain a beautiful and weed-free Dichondra lawn.

3. Why is my Dichondra lawn turning brown?

There could be several reasons why your dichondra lawn is turning brown. One probable cause is lack of water or insufficient irrigation. Dichondra requires regular watering to thrive, so inadequate hydration can lead to browning. Another potential factor is over-fertilization, as excessive nutrient levels can burn the grass and result in discoloration. Insufficient sunlight may also play a role, as dichondra prefers full sun or partial shade. Additionally, pests or diseases like fungal infections might be affecting your lawn, causing it to turn brown. It is essential to investigate these possibilities and take appropriate measures to restore your lawn’s health.

4. What is the best fertilizer for Dichondra repens?

The ideal fertilizer for Dichondra repens, commonly known as kidney weed or lawn leaf, should be balanced and slow-release. A fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 3:1:2 or 4:1:2 is recommended, as it provides the necessary nutrients while promoting healthy growth. It is important to choose a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen (N) to support foliage development. Additionally, a slow-release fertilizer ensures a steady nutrient supply to the plant over time. It is advisable to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for application rates and timing, as over-fertilizing can damage the delicate Dichondra repens. Regular watering and proper maintenance practices are also crucial for its overall well-being.

5. What is the best temperature for Dichondra?

The best temperature for Dichondra, often found in warm-season lawns, is between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range allows for optimal growth and development of the plant. It is important to note that Dichondra is more tolerant of higher temperatures compared to other grass varieties. However, prolonged exposure to temperatures above 75 degrees can cause stress to the plant and lead to yellowing or browning. Additionally, Dichondra tends to become dormant during cooler temperatures below 60 degrees. Therefore, maintaining a temperature range within the ideal conditions can promote healthy growth and ensure the longevity of Dichondra.

6. Is Dichondra the same as creeping Charlie?

No, Dichondra and creeping Charlie are not the same plants. While they may have some similarities in appearance, they belong to different botanical families. Dichondra is scientifically known as Dichondra argentea and is commonly used as a ground cover or in hanging baskets. Creeping Charlie, on the other hand, is a common name for Glechoma hederacea, a low-growing perennial weed. Creeping Charlie often invades lawns and gardens, while Dichondra is intentionally planted for its ornamental value. It’s important to differentiate between the two as creeping Charlie can be considered a nuisance and controlled, while Dichondra is cultivated for its beauty.

7. Can you take cuttings from Dichondra?

Yes, it is possible to take cuttings from Dichondra plants. The best time to take cuttings is during the spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. To propagate Dichondra from cuttings, select healthy stems and use a sharp, clean knife to make a clean cut just below a node. Remove the lower leaves from the stem, leaving only a few on the top. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, then plant it in a moist potting mix. Provide the cutting with bright, indirect light and keep the soil consistently moist until roots develop, usually within a few weeks.


Dichondra lawns offer many benefits over traditional grass lawns, including low maintenance requirements, unique appearance, and environmental benefits. However, they also have some drawbacks, such as limited tolerance to foot traffic and the potential for weed invasion. Homeowners should carefully consider the factors outlined in this guide before planting a Dichondra lawn and follow the recommended maintenance practices to ensure a healthy and beautiful lawn.


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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