Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
4 ratings

Wednesday - September 02, 2009

From: Modesto, CA
Region: California
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Native groundcover for central California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

In Modesto, CA. Hot summers, cold winters. Need a low ground cover for area next to driveway approx. 5ft X 14ft. that stays green all year round. I did have grass there but neigbors lawn is loaded with crabgrass and it was impossible to keep this out. I need a solution, please

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita has a wonderful website with excellent information about native California plants.  They have a groundcover page that divides the ground covers into three categories—less than one foot high, one to two feet high and two feet and higher.  Here are a few from the 'less than one foot high' category:

Symphoricarpos mollis (creeping snowberry)

Clinopodium douglasii (yerba buena) [syn. = Satureja douglasii]

Fragaria vesca ssp. californica (woodland strawberry) [syn. = Fragaria californica]

I can't guarantee that these will keep the crab grass out, but they certainly would be attractive in your site.  You can look at the others on the Las Pilitas page for suitability for your site.  You can learn more about most of them by searching in our Native Plant Database using their botanical name.


Symphoricarpos mollis

Fragaria vesca

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Native ground cover to replace grass in Florida.
February 04, 2008 - Where can I find a list of ground covers to replace my grass. I live in the south of Ocala Florida.
view the full question and answer

Native ground cover for bare ground
April 24, 2015 - I have a 20 x 40 foot partly sunny area that has only leaves covering the bare ground. I want to replace the leaves with ground cover. Can I mix ground covers like clover, asian jasmine, etc? I would ...
view the full question and answer

Ground covers for sandy hill in New York
April 12, 2006 - We have just built a new home and a sandy fill was needed around the house. It sits on a hill and the fill is very sandy. We would like to plant something to stabilize the bank that is native to the a...
view the full question and answer

Native ground cover for Fort Lauderdale, FL.
November 02, 2010 - I just moved into a duplex with a narrow back yard with dark sandy soil and no irrigation system. I travel and am looking for a hardy ground cover that can take heat, drought and limited sun between 1...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for high canal bank in Florida
May 27, 2009 - My home is on a canal to a natural lake in Central Florida (Orlando area). I am wondering if there is a wildflower that I can grow on a 3' high canal bank that is mostly shady.
view the full question and answer

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