Lawn Alternatives

Native flowers and grasses are low-maintenance and a beautiful alternative to grass.

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Regional Grasses and Wildflowers
A comprehensive list of meadow plants for your region and sources where you can get them.

Southeast
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus), silver bluestem (Andropogon ternarius), tickle grass (Agrostis haemalis), blanket flower Gaillardia aristata, G. pulchella), plains coreopsis (Coreposis tinctoria), lance-leaved coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), showy primrose (Oenothera speciosa), southern ragwort (Senecio aureus), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).
Height: 1 1/2 -2 feet.
Maintenance: Mow no lower than 4-6 inches once a year, best in late winter.
Sources: 3, 4, 5, 6

Northeast/Mid-Atlantic
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), red top (Agrostis alba), yellow Maryland aster (Chrysopsis mariana), blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium), pussytoes (Antennaria plaginifolia), crested iris (Iris cristata), wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), bird's-foot violet (Viola pedata), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).
Height: 1 1/2-2 feet.
Maintenance: Mow no lower than 4-6 inches once a year, best in late winter/early spring.
Sources: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Florida
Wiregrass (Aristida stricta), bottlebrush three-awn (Aristida spiciformis), pinewoods dropseed (Sporobolus junceus), sunshine mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa), twinflower (Dyschoriste oblongifolia), gopher apple (Licania michauxii), wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis), dwarf blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandifloria, Gaillardia pulchella).
Height: 12-15 inches; grass seed heads will be higher
Maintenance: Use string trimmer or swing blade to remove seed heads but don't cut lower than 10 inches
Sources: 1, 2

Midwest/Prairie states
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), gayfeather (Liatris punctata), prairie clover (Petalostemum purpureum), compassplant (Silphium laciniatum), mountain mint (Pycnanthemum verticillatum), partridge pea (Cassia fasciculata), Culver's root (Veronicastrum virginicum), cupplant (Silphium perfoliatum), wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), oxeye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), prairie coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata), sky blue asters (Aster azureus), New England aster (Aster novae-angliae), queen of the prairie (Filipendula rubra), nodding onion (Allium cernuum), turk's-cap lily (Lilium superbum), yellow prairie coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida), Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum).
Height: 4-8 feet.
Maintenance: Mow once a year in early spring before new growth begins.
Sources: 5, 6, 8

Southwest
Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), purple three-awn (Aristida purpurea), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), sand verbena (Abronia fragrans), desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata), wine cup (Callirhoe involucrata), pastel poppy (Eschscholzia caespitosa), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), showy primrose (Oenothera speciosa), prairie zinnia (Zinnia grandiflora), perky Sue (Hymenoxys argentea), sand penstemon (Penstemon ambiguus), pagoda penstemon (Penstemon angustifolius).
Height: 2 feet.
Maintenance: Cut in late winter no lower than 6 inches.
Sources: 4, 7

California/Pacific Northwest
Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), purple needlegrass (Nassella [formerly Stipa] pulchra), Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), meadow barley (Hordeum brachyantherum), Pacific coast iris (Iris munzii, I. Fernaldii, I. Purdyi, I. Innominata, and others), California fuchsia (Zauschneria californica), tidytips (Layia platyglossa), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum).
Height: 12-18 inches.
Maintenance: Cut once a year in late winter/early spring; no lower than 5 inches.
Sources: 9, 10

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