Rhizoma peanut has the potential for use as an ecologically friendly groundcover or turf alternative. Little is known about height and cover characteristics of this plant, which are important ornamental considerations. The objectives of this field study were to characterize maximum average canopy height, height variability, the time to reach full canopy cover, and the time at full canopy cover of seven released and nine experimental selections of rhizoma peanut grown in full sun or under 30% shade at two North Florida locations. Greater height and a less uniform canopy were observed for shaded plants. Establishment, as measured by full canopy cover, did not occur until the second year after planting. Shade treatment had little effect on the time to reach full canopy cover or the duration of full canopy cover, indicating that rhizoma peanut will perform equally in full sun or under 30% shade. Recommended selections for ornamental use based on these variables include ‘Brooksville 67’, ‘Brooksville 68’, EX3, and EX8.
Ornamental rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.; ORP) is a low-maintenance groundcover for use in urban and residential landscapes. Despite its availability since 2002, consumer insights on ORP have never been assessed. Online surveys are readily accepted by academic researchers as a valuable research tool. An online survey was distributed to 5820 Floridians with the objective to assess the use and perceptions of ORP by consumers. A total of 907 survey responses were received. Most respondents identified themselves as home gardeners (89%), white (93%), female (75%), and over age 65 (60%). Out of several turfgrass alternative benefits, respondents most valued reducing herbicide/pesticide and fertilizer/water usage and preventing weed establishment (χ2 = 204, df = 6, P < 0.001). The ORP selection purchased by respondents was predominately unknown. Most preferred ORP to flower heavily and frequently and maintain a canopy height below 20 cm in the landscape with infrequent mowing. Survey data show there is a potentially large consumer demand for ORP in Florida, but product availability, branding, and consumer access and engagement with information sources require additional focus in the coming years.