Contact Us Host an Event 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
2 ratings

Wednesday - February 03, 2010

From: Carlsbad, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrubs to stabilize steep slope in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Suggest shrubs to stabilize steep bank that are drought resistant and resistant to too much rain. Cape honeysuckle? oleander? bottle brush? What?

ANSWER:

Tecoma capensis (cape honeysuckle) is a native of  South Africa, Nerium oleander (oleander) is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, and Callistemon sp. (bottlebrush) is native to Australia.  Additionally, oleander is listed in the California Invasive Plant Inventory Database as moderately invasive.  So, since the focus and expertise of the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America, Mr. Smarty Plants wouldn't recommend ANY of the above plants.  We can, however, recommend plants native to Southern California that will work for you.  Las Pilitas Nursery (with nurseries in Escondido and Santa Margarita) has a very good article called Simple Erosion Control for a Hillside or Garden Slope with suggestions for native plants.  Here are some suggested native plants for your area from us and from that list:

Arctostaphylos patula (greenleaf manzanita)

Artemisia californica (coastal sagebrush)

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (blueblossom)

Ceanothus leucodermis (chaparral whitethorn)

Salvia sonomensis (creeping sage)

Eriogonum fasciculatum (Eastern Mojave buckwheat)

Diplacus longiflorus (southern bush monkeyflower)

Epilobium canum ssp. angustifolium [syn. Zauschneria californica] (hummingbird trumpet)

You can find more native plants for Southern California on our Recommended—Southern California page.

Here are photos of the above plants from our Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos patula

Artemisia californica

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Ceanothus leucodermis

Salvia sonomensis

Eriogonum fasciculatum

Diplacus longiflorus

Epilobium canum ssp. angustifolium

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Forestiera pubescens blooming in July
August 07, 2012 - I have a lot of what appears to be Forestiera pubescens. They are covered with the dark blue/black berries and flowers. Apparently they are blooming again in the middle of July. I live about 35 mile...
view the full question and answer

Looking for shrubs to plant in Southern Illinois.
July 03, 2013 - Hi. I am in Southern Illinois. I'm needing small shrubs for a south facing area. It's a 14ft. long by 2ft. wide area. Although it's facing south, it's not real sunny. A huge tree and swing is...
view the full question and answer

How do I save my recently transplanted yaupon holly?
April 20, 2011 - Recently transplanted (two weeks ago) a yaupon holly tree from one part of the yard to another. Leaves are beginning to turn yellow and fall. What can be done to save this plant?
view the full question and answer

Yucca rostrata needs some help in Austin, TX.
September 16, 2013 - We planted an expensive 5-6 foot Yucca rostrata last fall. It bloomed beautifully in the spring. We installed an irrigation link to water the recently planted areas with succulents, viburnums, spart...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen shrubs for Butler PA
August 09, 2013 - Here is what I want in a bush: native to Western Pa.(Southern Butler County), appropriate for a horse pasture,fast growing, not too aggressive (I will mow around it regularly and can prune occasionall...
view the full question and answer

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