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

Thursday - July 19, 2012

From: Concord, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Ground cover for Central California from Concord CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in a part of California where the summers can be very hot and dry but quite cool and wet during the rainy seasons in the wintertime. The soil around my home is very dry, rocky and infertile. I've dried to grow white dutch clover in the past but to no success. It seems that the only live thing that can grow in the soil conditions is weeds. I'm looking for a drought resistant ground cover that can thrive in that kind of soil and be able to withstand full sunlight in the summertime.

ANSWER:

We're feeling lucky today. We were looking at previous Mr. Smarty Plants answers on groundcovers for California, and found this previous answer directed to Modesto CA, which is south of you but in about the same climate region. That answer directs you to Las Pilitas Nursery, which has an incredible website on plants for all uses and all native to California. They have much more information on California plants than we do.

We checked into the Trifolium repens (White Dutch Clover), and found this site frorm the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide. Apparently, it is considered an invasive weed, in addition to being non-native, having been introduced, probably in contaminated seed, from Europe, North Africa and West Africa. In fact, the "weeds" you are encountering in your garden may very well be grasses native to your area.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Tentative identification of non-native Senecio rowleyanus
April 19, 2008 - I am trying to track down a plant that I used to have but do not know what it is called. It grew in long strings of "pea like" balls. When planted in a hanging pot, the stringy "pea" like vines ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native Chinese fringe flower from Austin
June 24, 2013 - When is the best time of year to prune Plum Delight? And how severely can it be cut back?
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive non-native Chinese wisteria
September 10, 2007 - I am going to be removing my ubiquitous chinese wisteria very soon (the method I'm going to use is undetermined). If I decide to use Round-up on the cut-stem (which may take more than one application...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Asclepias curassavica
March 09, 2005 - I have some plants given to me by a neighbor, here in Florida. She says they are called Butterfly Reel or by another name Asclepias Curassavica. I have been unable to locate any info. on this plant. ...
view the full question and answer

Disease on non-native French hollyhocks
April 16, 2008 - I live in Georgetown, Texas. I have some French hollyhocks that have some kind of disease on the leaves - I would like to know what to spray them with to get rid of it. It looks like brown blemishes...
view the full question and answer

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