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
1 rating

Sunday - February 27, 2011

From: Venice, CA
Region: California
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for Southern California near the beach
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm in Southern California near the beach (3 miles away). I am looking for a front lawn ground cover that can stand many hours of daily direct sunlight, but will also get cool breezes off the ocean at night. Any suggestions? We do like color. Fragrance would be nice.

ANSWER:

Here are some suggestions for groundcovers for sandy areas near the coast in Los Angeles County.

Fragaria chiloensis (Beach strawberry) has fragrant flowers.  Here is more information.

The following sand verbenas are all fragrant and, as the name suggests, grow well in sand.

Abronia villosa (Desert sand verbena) and here is more information.

Abronia maritima (Red sand verbena) and here is more information.

Abronia umbellata (Beach sand verbena) and here is more information.

Abronia latifolia (Coastal sand verbena) is the only yellow sand verbena.  Here is more information.  This grows a little north of Los Angeles County, but it might also do well there.  Check with a local nursery that specializes in native plants.  You can find nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants by searching our National Suppliers Directory.

Oenothera californica (California primrose) is fragrant and grows well in sand.

The following gumweed is not fragrant but is attractive, nonetheless:  Grindelia stricta (Oregon gumweed) and here is more information.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Fragaria chiloensis


Abronia villosa


Abronia maritima


Abronia latifolia


Grindelia stricta

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Is Phyla lanceolata (frogfruit) poisonous to dogs fromTitusville FL?
June 01, 2014 - Is Phyla lanceolata, also called Fogfruit, Lanceleaf Fogfruit, or Northern Fogfruit, toxic to dogs? We have it growing amongst our grass. I can't find it on any toxic plant list.
view the full question and answer

Filler for between flagstones in Michigan
July 05, 2014 - I have a natural shoreline project underway (replacing a seawall) with all native Michigan plants replacing the lawn as well. A flagstone walkway is going in and I wanted "moss" type filler in betw...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for sun in Phenix City, AL
April 04, 2011 - I live in Phenix City, AL and am new to planting. I have a 60 x 15 feet slope that is just dirt. I am going to till it next week and want to plant some various ground cover plants (that will grow to c...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for a slope in MD
August 04, 2011 - Looking for a groundcover to hold a shady slope undercut with tree roots in Maryland and to prevent further erosion.
view the full question and answer

Need plants to grow between flagstones in Vista, CA.
February 06, 2012 - Hi, I have put in a flagstone patio set in DG. The DG is creating a very sandy messy surface on the flagstone, so want to plant a low ground cover between the joints. Its a fairly large area, in sun...
view the full question and answer

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