Leptinella squalida

Departments - Green Guide

Brass buttons is a tough but charming groundcover that takes foot traffic.

February 6, 2017

Leptinella spp. is a creeping perennial groundcover featuring fern-like foliage that ranges in color from gray-green to bright green dappled with purple or almost black highlights. It forms a dense, attractive mat that can take regular foot traffic. Some sources call the tiny creamy-yellow button flowers unremarkable, but I have a hard time glossing over the dainty flowers that appear in early summer. However, it is the foliage that takes center stage, especially with ‘Platt’s Black.’ As the name implies, most of the foliage is bronze to black, accompanied by a few green leaves. The species can be used as a lawn substitute, which could command higher price points with the appropriate marketing. Brass buttons hails from Australia, New Zealand and South America.

Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’

Why grow Leptinella squalida?

  • Woodland-looking plant that is easy to grow and propagate.
  • Multiple marketing opportunities as a lawn substitute, a plant to complement hardscapes, or a fairy garden plant.
  • Takes foot traffic.
  • Hardy across several zones and purportedly evergreen in the higher zones.