Plant Sunshine Mimosa Groundcover Instead of Grass

Updated: Jul. 13, 2021

Replacing your grass with groundcovers, like sunshine mimosa, means less maintenance. Learn more about using groundcovers in your garden.

I noticed something wonderful in my front yard as I went out to get my mail a few days ago. The sunshine mimosa I planted several years ago as a groundcover has finally started to out-compete the grass in that area. The green foliage and pink blooms look great!

The idea of replacing grass with groundcovers is becoming very popular. Gardeners want plantings that work with their environment, rather than struggle against it. Groundcovers are low-growing plants that spread over a wide area. They can handle foot traffic without damage, like grass. Compared to traditional sod, they almost always require much less water, mowing, and general maintenance. Some even have flowers, like my sunshine mimosa. There are often some great native options available. Sunshine mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) is an excellent groundcover in zones 8 to 11.

GroundcoversJill Staake
Sunshine mimosa 

Try Sunshine Mimosa in a Small Area

If you’re not quite ready to give up all your grass, or you have kids or dogs that need a place to play, consider starting small with an area of the yard that people rarely walk on anyway. My sunshine mimosa shown here is growing in the tree lawn. This is what we people from the Cleveland-area call that strip of grass between the road and the sidewalk. No one is going to play there, but it does see some occasional foot traffic (and even cars parked on it from time to time). Since no one wants to spend time weeding a flower bed so close to the road, this strip is the perfect place to try out groundcovers like sunshine mimosa to see if you like them.

Clear Out Grass and Weeds

When you first plant groundcover, the fastest way to get it established is to clear the area of grass and other growth first. If you can’t or don’t want to do that, though, and your growing season is long enough, you can try just plugging in the plants and letting them gradually overtake the surrounding grass, as I’ve done. My sunshine mimosa has taken about four years to completely overtake my tree lawn. It would have been much faster if I’d cleared the grass out first. But I was in no hurry.

GroundcoversJill Staake
Sunshine mimosa is also called sensitive plant, because the leaves fold up when touched or disturbed.

My groundcover, sunshine mimosa is a Florida native plant. It’s also known as sensitive plant and powderpuff. If this plant won’t work for your growing zone or conditions, check out the top 10 colorful groundcovers for more ideas.