Frog fruit is a flowering herbaceous plant that is often used as a groundcover. Native throughout southern and central United States, the species is highly adaptable to various site conditions. This versatility makes frog fruit valuable to people looking for an attractive groundcover that can be placed in a landscape that may have changing or less-than-ideal conditions for other plants. If this describes your situation, frog fruit might solve your landscaping problem.
|Botanical Name||Phyla nodiflora|
|Common Name||Frog Fruit|
|Plant Type||Ground cover|
|Mature Size||3-6" tall, 12" spread|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun to part shade|
|Bloom Time||May to October|
|Flower Color||White and light purple|
|Hardiness Zones||USDA 7-11|
|Native Area||Southern to Central United States|
Frog Fruit Care
Frog fruit is very easy to care for and gets easier as it establishes itself and spreads. The main requirements to remember when caring for frog fruit are:
- Watered when first planted.
- Fertilize in spring to increase blooms.
- Prune back or mow after flowering if it gets leggy.
Frog fruit is loved as a ground cover because it is adaptable to the amount of sun it needs. Frog fruit can be grown in full to part shade and do amazing. Your plant will do best and produce the most blooms in full sun, but there will be no harmful effects when it comes to vigor, and your frog fruit will not suffer any more or fewer diseases if planted in partial shade; it will just produce fewer blooms.
For best results, plant frog fruit in well-draining soil. In the wild, frog fruit grows anywhere from roadside ditches, to beach dunes, to newly burnt forests. Yet another reason it is so loved as a landscape plant is its versatility in dealing with various soil conditions. You will not have to add amendments to perfect your soil when planting frog fruit.
Watering frog fruit is the largest concern for caring for the plant until it is established. While drought tolerant, the species appreciate extra irrigation during dry, hot weather. Overall the only time your plants require a good amount of care is when they must be regularly watered as they mature.
Temperature and Humidity
Frog fruit enjoys warm weather and takes to the humidity well. In warm conditions, it will remain evergreen or semi-evergreen during warm winters. It can thrive during droughts and do well in dry and humid climates but does not tolerate cold. Keeping frog fruit to its suggested USDA zones of 7-11 will ensure your plants thrive and stay attractive year-round.
Yearly in the spring, to encourage flowering, it is a good idea to apply a liquid bloom fertilizer. You can purchase commercially available commercially at any nursery or online. If you look for an NPK formula of 2-6-4, your frog fruit will be happy and healthy.
Use As a Groundcover
The most common use of frog fruit is as a ground cover. It has gotten amazing press to increase its popularity as a terrific alternative to many non-native groundcovers because of its versatility, ease of care, and benefit to local ecosystems.
Once planted, with a bit of watering, it can be left to grow on its own for the season and allowed to spread as needed until it fills an area. Best of all it does a beautiful job of spreading in between and over obstacles other groundcovers will not touch.
Frog fruit does not need to be pruned. Pruning is completely optional and is usually done only if the plant is spreading to places outside the intended growing area or the plant is becoming too leggy.
The best time to prune the plant is right after the last blooms have died off. You can use garden snips or even sharp scissors as long as they are cleaned with alcohol. With frog fruit being used as a ground cover and a lawn alternative, mowing is also an option.
The benefits of this native plant are many. Its use as a non-traditional ground cover cannot be overlooked, but above all, the benefits of it as a pollinator plant are enormous. Your frog fruit plant will buzz with activity and color beyond what its flowers bring, as it attracts butterflies, moths, caterpillars, and other beneficial insects to your garden. Frog fruit is a perfect plant to add around a pollinator garden.
How to Get Frog Fruit to Bloom
The flowers of the frog fruit are a pretty bonus to the versatile ground cover, and they have plenty of ecological benefits besides their attractiveness. Getting more flowers is good for everyone involved, homeowners and animals alike.
Frog fruit blooms for a long period of time as long as it is warm, often continuously from May to October.
How Long Does Frog Fruit Bloom
The flowers bloom continuously throughout the spring and summer until the weather cools.
What Do Frog Fruit Blooms Look and Smell Like?
Frog fruit flowers are not particularly showy. They are small flowers with pinkish or white petals that surround a purple center. The smell is very delicate but pleasant, similar to a faint lilac smell.
How to Encourage More Blooms
Getting more blooms is easy to accomplish if you set up a yearly routine to fertilize your frog fruit every spring with a good quality liquid bloom fertilizer. Fertilizing, along with proper watering and adequate sun will ensure you have plenty of blooms to please your eyes and any visiting pollinators.
Common Problems With Frog Fruit
The most common problem with frog fruit is adverse effects from overly dry weather to newly planted plants. The solution is to water more.
Insect issues do not often occur because the plant attracts insects that regulate the insects that feed on it. It is a very low-maintenance plant and deserves a look if you are searching for a great ground cover.
Can you mow frog fruit?
Yes, you can mow frog fruit. It is best mowed after the last blooms die off right before the first frost.
Can frog fruit be used as a grass alternative?
Frog fruit is being used more and more as an ecologically friendly alternative to non-native turf grasses. While it can be mowed, it doesn't have to be, and it supports a great number of local pollinators.
What are some of the other names frog fruit goes by?
It goes by many names depending on where you are from Texas
Frogfruit, Turkey Tangle Fogfruit, Frogfruit, Capeweed, Matchhead, and Carpet Weed are just a few.