En EspaŅol

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
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

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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Failure to bloom of coreopsis
July 16, 2008 - Hi, 2 things..asked a question last yr re: scuttelaria (sp)-purple etc..you could not locate. Finally did at High Country Gardens in NM. Now a new question: Cannot get my coreopsis to bloom.. Have di...
view the full question and answer

Shade-loving plants for birds in New Jersey
March 25, 2013 - What native plants should I add to my property, Zone 6, to feed birds naturally? I have a heavily treed lot, so I'd like names of shade loving perennials. Seed or fruit bearing options would be gre...
view the full question and answer

Differences between Lantana urticoides and Lantana camara
July 13, 2012 - I have found an orange variety of lantana growning in several location in Jefferson County. Is there any way I can tell for sure if it is L. camara or the native L. urticoides?
view the full question and answer

Indian paintbrush wedding
October 20, 2004 - I live in western Montana and have become quite fond of the flower known as indian paintbrush. I will be getting married this next July, and would like to incorporate the flower into my wedding; Howe...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant with white flowers and serrated leaves in creek bed
September 17, 2012 - I have a wild fall blooming plant, white flowers, serrated leaves. Growing abundantly in my dry creek bed. Any thoughts?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center