Is Dichondra repens invasive? This is a commonly asked question. Here, we’ll put those concerns to rest, and explain how to use this plant to great effect in your garden.
What sort of plant is it?
Dichondra repens, also known as kidney weed or simply dichondra, is a herbaceous perennial with a creeping habit and small, kidney-shaped leaves. It is native to parts of Australia and New Zealand, occurring in forest, woodland, and grassland habitats.
The ‘weed’ moniker is arguably something of a misnomer, given that the plant is native to Australia and is not an invasive species.
In reality, Dichondra repens is a very useful addition to many gardens. Providing a dense spread of ground-hugging green foliage. While it has a preference for full sun, it will grow readily in aspects of up to 80% shade.
Why do people think it’s invasive?
It does have a tendency to grow and spread vigorously, and often appears in lawns without being sown, which has earned it a reputation for weediness. Just as often, however, it is deliberately sown into lawns or used as a lawn-like groundcover.
Part of the reason it is desirable for those purposes is that it spreads, similarly to grass. It can therefore encroach into parts of the garden where it isn’t necessarily wanted if left to its own devices. This can be a useful trait – for example, on a steep bank that’s difficult to mow or grow anything else on.
If the spreading is a problem, it can be easily addressed by periodically removing the new surface-level rhizomes as they emerge.
Planting in the shade will minimise spreading, as will planting in spots with solid barriers – for example, between concrete pavers on a pathway. Dichondra is excellent for this purpose!
What are the benefits?
Dichondra repens is an excellent plant for many garden positions requiring an attractive, low maintenance groundcover. What’s more, it will grow readily in most Australian climates, from cool through to tropical.
This plant is able to tolerate a bit of light foot traffic, and can work well as a lawn substitute in areas that aren’t constantly being walked over. As mentioned above, it’s ideal for greening up paved walkways or planting around stepping stones to create a lush, lawn-like feel without the need for mowing.
Ready to give it a go?
After all that mythbusting, maybe you’re ready to grow some of this unique native plant in your garden. Garden Express stocks potted Dichondra repens, along with a fantastic range of other groundcover plants. Order some for your garden today!