En Español

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

Non-blooming Dwarf Shrub and Agave Flowers
February 18, 2013 - I have two questions. I need a symmetrical dwarf shrub for full sun in Austin area that is non-flowering. Can you recommend some? And do agaves always flower when they are about 10 years and then die?
view the full question and answer

New York City Native Perennials for a Long Growing Season
May 31, 2013 - Which native New York City perennials would be best for the longest growing season?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Orange County, California
August 05, 2012 - What ground cover do you suggest for an Orange Co., CA, backyard with a steep slope in 3-4 hours of sun? Needs to grow fast to beat the weeds. Something pretty would be nice! Thanks
view the full question and answer

Landscaping a Fence with Native Plants for Central Texas
March 08, 2013 - I'm looking to landscape my fence that I've lined with woven bamboo. The area gets the hot afternoon sun in summer and is pretty shady in winter. The plants need to be drought and heat tolerant. I'...
view the full question and answer

Source for records of Pleistocene flora of Central Texas
December 16, 2013 - Part of your answer to a question from October 12, 2010 is "..moreover, the evidence goes even further back than the 1800s. Studies of Pleistocene deposits from Central Texas showed ancestral cedar p...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center