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

Sunday - August 05, 2012

From: Laguna Hills, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Lists, Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for Orange County, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery with stores in Escondido and Santa Margarita has lists of groundcovers that should do well in your backyard with a steep slope.  They have lists divided into those that grow less than 1 foot high, those 1 to 2 feet high and those taller than 2 feet.  Here are a few that grow 1 foot or less high:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) is shrub that grows well in sun, part shade and shade.  Las Pilitas lists several varieties that have particular features that you might like:

Ceanothus hearstiorum (Hearst ranch buckbrush) grows no higher than 2 to 3 inches and in part shade.  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley, CA and Yerba Buena Nursery in Woodside, CA.

Corethrogyne filaginifolia (Common sandaster) grows on slopes in part shade.  Las Pilitas has a a variety, Silver Carpet, that grows to less than 18 inches.  You can see more photos and information from Southern California Research Learning Center.

Monardella macrantha (Hummingbird mint) grows in part shade and has red flowers that attract hummingbirds.  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne Foundation and Yerba Buena Nursery.

Symphoricarpos mollis (Creeping snowberry) grows well in part shade.  Here are photos and more information from Theodore Payne Foundation and Las Pilitas.

You can see other possibilities for groundcovers on the Las Pilitas groudcovers page and in Ground Cover Plants on the Yerba Buena Nursery webpage.

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Creeping snowberry
Symphoricarpos mollis

More Groundcovers Questions

Wildflowers for Murphy NC Clay
August 24, 2012 - I live on a ridge in Murphy NC. The property has trees so most of the land is in partial shade. The soil is good 'ole mountain red clay. I have some steep bankings in front of the house that I wou...
view the full question and answer

Want a ground cover instead of St. Augustine to fill in gaps in stone pathway.
November 19, 2012 - I'm considering using Silver Ponyfoot (instead of St. Augustine) to fill in the 6" gaps between my 24"x24" cut limestone blocks footpath and patio. Do they run long that may cover the blocks, whi...
view the full question and answer

Prairie wattle for woodland area in Austin
November 29, 2009 - Can prairie wattle be grown in a woodland area? It would get part shade, with full sun for at least half a day. The soil is a bit rocky; location is Austin.
view the full question and answer

Low-growing plants for a slope in the shade
July 08, 2013 - Hello, I'm looking for native plants to put in the shade (within the drip-line) of a well-established American Holly. The area gets deep shade; it is also on a very gentle north-exposure slope. We ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a steep bank in Virginia
June 23, 2009 - I have a small yard with a 3 foot steep bank that I want to plant on. I am looking for fast growing ground cover. There is some shade but not a lot and has a southern exposure. Ground is a bit roug...
view the full question and answer

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