En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Groundcovers for California

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - September 16, 2009

From: Orinda, CA
Region: California
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcovers for California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you recommend native ground covers for shade area to prevent soil erosion; the area is near an old California Live Oak.

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery, specializing in California native plants with locations in Santa Margarita and Escondido, have lists of native groundcovers arranged according to size—less than a foot high, one-two foot groundcover, and two foot and above groundcover.  I'm assuming that there is a certain amount of shade near the oak but I'm not sure how much there is and I'm not sure what size you are looking for, but here are a few suggestions from that list.  You can read the "Growing Conditions" to see what matches your site.

Arctostaphylos edmundsii (Little Sur manzanita).  Las Pilitas describes several cultivars that are available.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick) with several cultivars.

Ceanothus prostratus (prostrate ceanothus)

Fragaria vesca (woodland strawberry)

Grindelia stricta (Oregon gumweed)

Clinopodium douglasii [syn. = Satureja douglasii] (yerba buena)

Grasses with their extensive  fibrous root systems are always a good choice for controlling erosion.   Here are a couple of possibilities for shade or part shade:

Festuca californica (California fescue)

Melica imperfecta (smallflower melicgrass)

You can see more possibilities for grasses and other plants in our California-Northern Recommended list.

Here are a couple of nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants, Bay Natives in San Francisco and Yerba Buena Nursery in Woodside. Las Pilitas, in Escondido and Santa Margarita, is further afield but has a large inventory of and great information about native plants.  You can also visit our National Suppliers Directory to look for other nurseries in your area that might carry the plant. 


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Fragaria vesca

Grindelia stricta

Festuca californica

Melica imperfecta

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Destructive landscape crews in The Woodlands TX
October 20, 2012 - Hi. We need help. We recently moved to a house where landscape crews have been blowing away the leaf litter from the front yard for many years. The underbrush was also cleared long ago. The result...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for steep slope in Washington DC
May 07, 2010 - We have a steep slope in our garden in Washington DC which has sun from noon to sun set. Could you please recommend some low maintenance plants which would be a good ground cover and limit erosion?
view the full question and answer

Deer proof ground cover for sunny area in Mississippi
June 09, 2012 - I am looking for a low ground cover that will thrive in a sunny location and is deer proof
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for North Central Texas
January 24, 2009 - I live in north central Texas. My backyard has very fine, powdery sand soil. The previous owners of the property let the grass die out and now every time it gets windy, the sand gets into our patio an...
view the full question and answer

Plants for under Oak Trees in LA.
March 05, 2013 - What type of plants and grass can be planted under and around oak trees
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center