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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - February 21, 2010

From: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Region: California
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants for steep slope in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have steep slope, southwestern facing, minimal shade in Southern California. The soil is rocky. Because of fire danger, I would rather not plant grasses. Do you have a suggestion?

ANSWER:

First of all, Las Pilitas Nursery, specializing in California native plants in Escondido and Santa Margarita, has an excellent article, Simple erosion control for a hillside or garden slope, that I think you might find helpful.

Here are a few recommended plants from our California-Southern Recommended list and from Las Pilitas.  Both sources have more suggestions.

Artemisia californica (coastal sagebrush)

Diplacus aurantiacus [syn. = Mimulus aurantiacus] (orange bush monkeyflower)

Eriogonum fasciculatum (Eastern Mojave buckwheat)

Arctostaphylos patula (greenleaf manzanita)

Dendromecon rigida (tree poppy)

Salvia apiana (white sage)

Salvia mellifera (black sage)

Baccharis pilularis (coyotebrush)

You can check the relative fire resistance for these plants and others in Las Pilitas' article, Leaf burn times of California native plants.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Artemisia californica

Diplacus aurantiacus ssp. aurantiacus

Eriogonum fasciculatum

Arctostaphylos patula

Dendromecon rigida

Salvia apiana

Salvia mellifera

Baccharis pilularis

 


 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Flower color under large pine tree from South Elgin IL
April 05, 2013 - I have a very large pine tree that I would like to plant some flowers under. I have hostas, stonecrop and fern, but like to add some color. What do you suggest? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive henbit from Round Rock TX
April 27, 2013 - I've read in this book "Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants" that Henbit is an invasive plant in Texas. I've also read that it provides an early source of nectar to bees and butterflies when li...
view the full question and answer

Looking for seeds for Carex texensis and Horse Herb
July 27, 2014 - I am looking for either plants or seeds of Carex texensis and horseherb with no success. I live in the Albuquerque,NM mountain region (at ~6800ft, zone 6). I need something that is very dought resis...
view the full question and answer

Are Bluebonnet seeds still viable after storage for a year?
March 02, 2016 - I bought a pouch of Bluebonnets a year ago and now found them and have to wait to Fall to plant. Too old? Start over in purchase?
view the full question and answer

Area under live oaks from Austin
October 08, 2012 - We have many live oaks in our mostly shaded half acre. While I have tried to plant mostly native plants, often beneath them, the plants are showered with leathery leaves, acorns and sap, while oak sp...
view the full question and answer

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