4 years ago

Does anyone have experience with this groundcover? A local nursery is suggesting it in place of backyard lawn in a small area. Thanks!

Comments (37)

  • BarbJP 15-16/9B CA Bay Area

    The sites I looked at say this is a new ground cover that's been developed to be drought tolerant.

    But it sure looks like plain old Lippia nodiflora to me. Someone planted it in my yard about 35 years ago, and I still can't get rid of it. For me it tends to not do well if I don't water it at least as much as a lawn. It will survive with absolutely no water, but looks like Sh*te while surviving. It's thin and dry looking in the sun, unless watered. Looks much better in semi-shade, even with less water.

    Will absolutely invade every flower bed or any other growing area outside of it's designated "lawn" area. Usually to get away from the full all day sun, at least in my area.

    Hard to hand pull, tough to kill with Round Up. Every single piece of stem will root anywhere.

    Oh and those pretty flowers? They draw tons of bees, so as a lawn substitute, you will need to not be bothered by bees flying all around you as you sit on your "lawn". Just sayin'

    So in short; I loath the stuff.

    And don't just take my word for it, here's a reprint of an article about how awful it is. Btw, Lippia repens is the same plant as Lippia nodiflora. Seems like every 20 years or so this nasty plant is "discovered" again.

    From one of the sites promoting it;

    "Is Kurapia invasive?

    Kurapia is a sterile cultivar of Lippia nodiflora, so it does not produce viable seed. Its vegetative spread can be controlled with barriers. Kurapia was determined to be non-invasive as screened by UC Davis researchers using a weed risk assessment tool."

    I don't buy it. I've not had any problems with it ever spreading from seed. It's the vegetative spread that IS the problem.

    Barriers. Not buying it either. Nope, it WILL eventually go under or over any barrier. Someday, some week, the homeowner or gardener will forget to check the barrier.

    Aaaand, there it goes. Into the flower/vegetable bed. Into the neighbors yard. Btw, it is so aggressive, I have seen it invade an established lawn and choke out the grass plants. In fact the best I've ever seen it look was when it was in a lawn, choking it out and LOVING the water it was getting.

  • PRO
    Professional Outdoor Perspective

    Sunset Garden Mag just recently did an article about this a few months back. They should have it on their website if you just search Karupia!

  • lgteacher

    We are trying out Kurapia in our demo. gardens and have found it to be a useful ground cover so far. It does not spread by seeds and doesn't have underground runners. If the plant creeps too far, it is easy to yank out. It does attract a lot of bees when it is flowering, but not everyone sees that as a drawback. It uses less water than fescue and stays green throughout the year.


  • emmarrie

    Ha! Yesterday we finished planting our front yard in Kurapia plugs. Deliberately. The lawn had been completely invaded by common Bermudagrass which was as ugly as sin AND which required copious watering to look ugly. Less watering and it would look almost-dead. So, for 23 months we've been systematically killing the Bermuda with Roundup, and we do now believe that Kurapia will choke out most Bermuda sprigs that of course will pop up with the abundant watering that's required to establish the Kurapia. Battleground: Front yard. Warriors: Common Bermudagrass vs. Kurapia. Projected winner: Kurapia!! One more thing: Kurapia is a cultivar of regular old lippia, apparently much much much improved, faster spreading but somehow less invasive. An acquaintance planted her front yard in Kurapia 3 years ago and it is low-water, low-maintenance and beautiful! She is ecstatic and highly recommends it.

  • gthomson910

    I had someone in another post suggest it as a lawn alternative, and it sounded good to me, so I tried it. So far it's all good, although a little expensive. I only wanted about 600sqft area in the backyard for my pooch. I'm in Southern California, and in a 9-10 zone - this area where I put it pretty much gets full sun all day until maybe 5pm. I'm slowly plucking the weeds a couple times per week, but the Kurapia seems very dense when it fills in, so I don't believe weeds will be a problem. I hear the roots can go 5-10' deep, which can make it very hard to get rid of. But I plan to die here, and I'm good with where I planted it for the next 20+ years :-)

    The flowers have been attracting some butterflies, but no bees yet. But it's a quick 5 minute mow for me now, so no worries there for me with the flowers/bees.

    And my pooch is finally loving that he's got something other than dirt and mulch to relax on. He's got his new favorite place...

    Plugs after planting on 7/15/2016 -

    And about one month later

    And I strongly suggest an auger bit for a cordless drill to drill the holes for the plugs. Drill overheated with roots it ran up against, but that auger bit made planting the plugs so much easier. Search for 24" drill auger, and you should find it.

    The photos are of 3 trays of Kurapia.

  • emmarrie

    Update on our SoCal Kurapia lawn: It's been 11 months since planting, and the Kurapia has filled in & is lovely. It's so pretty that it makes neighboring yards look dull in comparison. We keep it unmowed and enjoy the billions of gentle bees that never look up from their flower-tripping to even notice we're on the lawn. The Bermuda grass is completely gone; very little oxalis. The Kurapia keeps within its boundaries with monthly edging. It kept green all winter with no supplemental water, and we water it once weekly now & thru the summer. Very happy!

  • gthomson910

    I've had some Bermuda grass and a few weed types that I ignored, and they got a little hold within a couple places in my Kurapia, but manageable and I'm working on slowly getting them out of there.

    Two things I'd do different if doing it again...

    I planted my plugs about 10" apart I believe. I would have gotten a fourth tray so that I could have planted them just a bit closer to get the fill in quicker to keep the weeds away at the start. I didn't do any Roundup kind of applications before, but there was few things growing there. Until I started watering with the Kurapia, then the unwanted things obviously started to pop up as well.

    The auger for making the holes for the plugs - still love it and would use it again. But, I do now have various divots because of the way I did it. Trying to spot fill in those divots now slowly, but I'd put more effort into the prep stage - maybe a tamping after making the holes? - before putting the plugs in. I was just so excited to get the plugs in the ground. But now I'm trying to fix the consequences of that.

    I absolutely love mowing it. I have a Greenworks mower which barely makes any noise. And I can mow it, or not. And the mowing is quick and easy if I do decide to do it. Only about 600sqft, so I can just mow on an impulse early in the AM, or late in the PM, and it takes maybe 5-6 minutes - so mowing it isn't a huge project.

  • Jasminerose, California, USDA 9b/Sunset 18

    Gthompson, your dog is a sweetheart and looks very comfortable. I like the idea of "I can mow it, or not". No worries about it looking poorly if you go on vacation. No need to hire a gardener. Sounds like it is a permanent decision, since it is hard to get rid of once in, so it is good that the OP is getting feedback. The spreading gives me pause. Each plant can spread 6 feet. I was thinking of suggesting Kurapia to a friend, but he has no planter barrier between the lawn he removed and his roses and companion plants. He is constantly weeding the tufts of grass that keep returning, but they are easy to pull out. Kurapia has a very deep root system of 8 to 10 feet. I wonder how hard it is to edge and keep in line?

    Here's a good video showing how it looks in sun verses partial shade: Kurapia_House2Home

  • emmarrie

    Jasminerose, Our Kurapia is easy to edge and keep in line. Our border consists of flexible 4-inch black plastic edging pushed a couple inches into the soil, with concrete "potato rocks" placed against the plastic edging. Both the edging and the potato-rocks are available at H0me Dep0t. Monthly we edge the Kurapia and then pick out a few runners trying to escape the edging. So that's all we do to keep it in bounds. Again, the border goes like this: Kurapia, then shallow black plastic edging, then potato rocks lying against the edging, then mulched dirt.

  • Aazoba Yuzuki

    If you're talking this -, then it survives zone 9, sunset 14 , hot and dry with little water in summer (90's to 100's), more water makes it looks better and spread even faster ..if you cut it low, it will stay can take heavy traffic as few times when I had a backyard project, It must have gotten rolled over by wheelbarrow (rocks, gravel and soil) few hundred times and next day or day after that (was a 2 week project) it was still green, once a week my 3 bins rolls over it and it stays green with little dmg ..and my puppy seems to like it, it stays cool to the touch ..if you dont want bees or little of it, then use a weed whacker

  • lgteacher

    If you'd like to see some established Kurapia and other low water use turf and turf alternatives, come the the free Urban Landscape and Garden Education Expo. You can also see low water use trees, shrubs and groundcover.

    University of California Extension Garden Expo

  • carol slaton

    We are having lots of weeds coming up in the Kurapia. Will the Kurapia eventually take over or should I use some kind of pre-emergent herbicide? Thanks.

  • lgteacher

    A friend of mine had the same problem. He thinks the topsoil he had delivered was full of weed seeds. He had success applying Roundup to the weeds using a paintbrush so the Kurapia wasn't affected. The Kurapia will eventually get dense, but whether it smothers the weeds or not depends on the type of weeds you have.

  • caralann

    Thanks. I found a pre-emergent herbicide that might help - Prodiamine (Barricade).

  • BlueSky Susan (10b-24)

    Sorry to resurrect an old-ish thread . . . where can I see some established Kurapia in Southern California? I'm near LAX. Anybody know of any public installations, or front yard lawns I could (diplomatically) walk by? Thanks!

  • HU-443354750

    I just saw it at Sherman Gardens in Costa Mesa. You can see it there.

  • Scott Carter

    We tried Kurapia on a small shaded yard in the Oakland area. It worked well for a year, then in the rainy winter last year it died out from what looks like a combination of fungus and weeds crowding it out. Before that, it was pretty reasonable looking and lived up to the low maintenance claims. In our yard, the sunniest part (not quite full sun) did the best. I might try it again, but for our tiny space may go back to grass.

  • lgteacher

    If you are in or near Orange County, you can see it here:

    Open House Sept. 28, 9 - 2. Free! Classes on low water use landscaping.

  • emmarrie

    Here's the status on our 2-year-old kurapia front yard: Last week the termite guys stomped repeatedly all over it as they were setting up the tarp for tenting. This coincided with high heat plus browning flower stalks, so many areas do look quite trampled down! So, this week we plan to give our 4-to-10-inch-high kurapia a haircut with the wire trimmer. Stay tuned for the results. :O

  • HU-353278136

    Planted kurapia plugs and it took a year for it to fully cover due to very poor soil that I neglected to improve prior to planting. Soon after my lawn was fully covered in nice dark green kurapia with flowers everywhere parts of my lawn turned light green to yellowish and lost their flowers. Then the leaves started drying up. Now I have bald spots and it is spreading. Any idea what the problem is and how to fix it? The website I bought the plugs from recommends a particular fungus treatment but not sure we have a fungus issue.

  • emmarrie

    HU-353278136 - If you are watering more than once weekly, you may have a fungus issue. Kurapia hates over-watering. The times we have over-watered we've gotten mushrooms.

  • HU-353278136

    I am Los Angeles with daily temperatures of 100. Kurapia is in full sun.

  • emmarrie

    We're a bit warmer than L.A. and water just once weekly in the summer - all is fine as long as the sprinklers are not blocked with calcium deposits. Are you in the desert? That's where 100 degree temps are. Kurapia really does just fine in L.A. and Orange County with weekly watering in the summer and monthly watering in the winter if there's very little rain. A rainy winter would mean no watering whatsoever in the winter. Kurapia truly does hate over-watering! Too much will kill it, no joke.

  • HU-353278136

    Maybe because of the nutrient poor soil that drains too well our Kurapia behaves differently. Kurapia that is in the shade is doing great. We recently planted a tree in the middle of the lawn I have been placing tree watering bag around the tree and the kurapia there is growing like wild fire. Also i had kept clippings of kurapia standing only in water over a month and it loved it. Grew a bunch sprouted flowers etc.

  • emmarrie

    Wow - your soil must be hard! Thanks for the suggestion on rooting the Kurapia!

  • Rich Geiger

    We are in Scottsdale Arizona and planted Kurapia 3 weeks ago on November 19. We have been watering three times a day for 20 minutes per session. Unfortunately, it has also been rainy, cold and very little sun. Well, our Kurapia dying a slow death and we do not know what to do. We are afraid of fungus or root rot if we keep watering so heavily. The top side is mostly all brown and there are very few root sprigs if you pull up a piece of turf. Any advise would be greatly appreciated, as we fear we may have planted at the wrong time of year. Thank you for any help. All best, Rich

  • BlueSky Susan (10b-24)

    That's a LOT of water! Not sure what kind of sprinklers you're using, but mine got like 5 minutes once a day for a few months, and now they get 3 minutes every other day.

  • lgteacher

    Spring is probably a better time to plant, but if I were you, I'd reduce the water, especially if it's been rainy.

  • HU-115240009

    Has anyone used it outside of CA/AZ/NV... we are in Kansas, we are in zone 7 but not sure how this ground cover will do with more rain and long winters.

  • BlueSky Susan (10b-24)

    Updating to add photos of my Kurapia. It was installed in May 2019, from plugs, New White variety from Kurapia Direct, so it is 10 months old in these pictures. I am in 10b/24 area, coastal LAX/Westchester area. Quite a lot of cloud cover and cool. The yard faces south west, so the Kurapia gets full sun most of the day, other than the left side of the picture which gets some afternoon shade and the extension up by the toyons, which gets at least half day shade. The tree in the middle is a Jacaranda that produces some shifting light shade. My soil type is on the sandy end of pure sand. We amended it a bit before installing the plugs.

    I had overhead sprinklers installed for it. Overall I am very happy with it. The only maintenance I do is the gardener does edge trimming every few weeks. It tends to grow tendrils as it is spreading, and I've started snipping those off in areas where it has sufficiently filled in. I don't *expect* there will be a huge amount of tendril snipping in my future, but you never know!

    There are definitely "better" and "worse" areas. The Worst area is a little bit of a high spot, so it could be getting less water, or the soil could be worse there, I'm not sure.

    Weeds were a bit of a pain at the beginning, but the Kurapia is dense enough that new weed sproutage is way down now that it has pretty much filled in, especially through the winter months.

    It definitely gets a LOT of flowers. They look pretty, until they die, then they sit there ugly and brown until you whack them off.

    I have not mowed.


    Overview, other direction:

    Closeup of best area:

    Closeup of worst area:

    Area that gets afternoon shade:

    So far, other than the strings trying to invade my neighbor's yard, I haven't noticed too many Kurapia volunteers around the yard, but there have been a couple. It's not totally sterile.

  • BlueSky Susan (10b-24)

    Weird, Houzz is cropping vertical photos to make them horizontal in the previews.

  • emmarene9

    Thank you for the update. Please update again at the end of Summer.

  • Gregory Thomson

    Any of you that have Kurapia have gophers? I never had gophers before, but now I have one making its way through my Kurapia. I did my plugs at 14-16" distance I think. And now that I think about it, that might be a nice environment for a gopher because the Kurapia has deep tap roots then with nice space in between for a gopher to route around the tap roots. Looking for ways to encourage it to go elsewhere, but that's probably not relevant to this post unless you have had to deal with it also.

  • BlueSky Susan (10b-24)

    I might, not sure. I'm starting to have very small piles of dirt (like 1" x 1/2") appearing all over my lawn. No holes but . . . I have no experience with gophers.

  • BlueSky Susan (10b-24)

    Turns out I have worms, not gophers! :)

  • Gregory Thomson

    Worms are good right? They are usually beneficial in what they do - aerating the soil, worm poop, etc... Hopefully mine aren't worms - the piles are more like a foot across. That would be some really big worms! :-)

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