Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 08, 2011

From: San Pedro, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Lists, Groundcovers
Title: Dense groundcover for full sun on the California coast.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you recommend a very dense ground cover that serves as a lawn (in full sun on the coast, pref. drought resistant)? Many thanks in advance.

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery (located in Escondido and Santa Margarita, California) has a page of recommendations for "One to two foot California native plants that can be used as a groundcovers."  Here are some from that list, as well as from other sources, that are native to Los Angeles County or adjacent areas:

Baccharis pilularis (Coyotebrush) normally grows 4 to 8 feet high; however, Las Pilitas has a dwarf cultivar,  Baccharis pilularis var. pilularis 'Pigeon Point', that grows only 1 foot high.

Another dwarf coyotebrush cultivar, 'Twin Peaks No. 2', is described by the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Epilobium canum ssp. canum (Hummingbird trumpet) listed in Las Pilitas by its synonym, Zauschneria californica ssp. mexicana.  It can be mowed to keep it at 6 inches high and it will have red flowers to attract hummingbirds in summer.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) grows in Los Angeles County.  

Artemisia californica (Coastal sagebrush).  Las Pilitas has a cultivar, 'Canyon Grey' that stays about 1 foot high.

Calystegia macrostegia (Island false bindweed) is a vine that makes a fine groundcover, according to Theodore Payne Foundation.

Fragaria chiloensis (Beach strawberry) has the advantage of producing delicious fruit.  The cultivar 'Aulon' is described by Theodore Payne Foundation.

Eriogonum fasciculatum (Eastern mojave buckwheat).  Theodore Payne Foundation describes a lower-growing cultivar, 'Bruce Dickinson'.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coyotebrush
Baccharis pilularis

Hummingbird trumpet
Epilobium canum ssp. canum

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Coastal sagebrush
Artemisia californica

Island false bindweed
Calystegia macrostegia

Beach strawberry
Fragaria chiloensis

Eastern mojave buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium

More Plant Lists Questions

Small Tree for Texas Garden
November 06, 2014 - I would like to plant a small tree just 3-4 feet from my house, but I don't want to damage the foundation. Is there a small fruit or nut tree I could plant that would fit the bill? Failing that, is t...
view the full question and answer

Native Perennials for Bees and Butterflies in VA
April 15, 2015 - What native perennial plants and trees can we plant to help honey bees and butterfly larvae in Harrisonburg, VA?
view the full question and answer

Rabbit-proof Plants for Texas
July 03, 2014 - Do you have a list of flowers that rabbits will eat or will not eat so I know what to plant or avoid? I have a year-round rabbit population in my neighborhood and wish to co-exist with them without t...
view the full question and answer

Strong groundcover for Southern California
March 28, 2012 - Need a strong ground cover. Hard time getting anything to grow. Full sun. Prefer some color. Low upkeep. The soil probably isn't great. It is a small hill within a planter.
view the full question and answer

Specifications for a property in Corning CA
March 29, 2012 - Drought resistant, deer resistant, low growing (ground cover), and shade tolerant request: I am looking for a variety of species that not only fit the above preferences, but also a few other things. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.