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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 08, 2011

From: San Pedro, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Lists, Groundcovers
Title: Dense groundcover for full sun on the California coast.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you recommend a very dense ground cover that serves as a lawn (in full sun on the coast, pref. drought resistant)? Many thanks in advance.

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery (located in Escondido and Santa Margarita, California) has a page of recommendations for "One to two foot California native plants that can be used as a groundcovers."  Here are some from that list, as well as from other sources, that are native to Los Angeles County or adjacent areas:

Baccharis pilularis (Coyotebrush) normally grows 4 to 8 feet high; however, Las Pilitas has a dwarf cultivar,  Baccharis pilularis var. pilularis 'Pigeon Point', that grows only 1 foot high.

Another dwarf coyotebrush cultivar, 'Twin Peaks No. 2', is described by the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Epilobium canum ssp. canum (Hummingbird trumpet) listed in Las Pilitas by its synonym, Zauschneria californica ssp. mexicana.  It can be mowed to keep it at 6 inches high and it will have red flowers to attract hummingbirds in summer.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) grows in Los Angeles County.  

Artemisia californica (Coastal sagebrush).  Las Pilitas has a cultivar, 'Canyon Grey' that stays about 1 foot high.

Calystegia macrostegia (Island false bindweed) is a vine that makes a fine groundcover, according to Theodore Payne Foundation.

Fragaria chiloensis (Beach strawberry) has the advantage of producing delicious fruit.  The cultivar 'Aulon' is described by Theodore Payne Foundation.

Eriogonum fasciculatum (Eastern mojave buckwheat).  Theodore Payne Foundation describes a lower-growing cultivar, 'Bruce Dickinson'.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coyotebrush
Baccharis pilularis

Hummingbird trumpet
Epilobium canum ssp. canum

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Coastal sagebrush
Artemisia californica

Island false bindweed
Calystegia macrostegia

Beach strawberry
Fragaria chiloensis

Eastern mojave buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium

More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcovers over roots in Roeland Park KS
June 18, 2013 - Large Hackberry tree (aprox 50+years) roots are popping up above ground making mowing under/around it impossible. Is there a plant, ground cover, something I can plant, or cover the roots with that w...
view the full question and answer

Ground Cover for Austin
March 18, 2011 - What are some ground cover or low growing shrubs that will do well in afternoon sun only in the 78750 zip code?
view the full question and answer

Identity of groundcover in Parker County, TX
June 02, 2013 - I'm trying to identify a native "groundcover" that looks much like frogfruit, as far as the leaves and growth pattern, but has small yellow flowers that look like little lanterns as buds. I know it...
view the full question and answer

Erosion controlling Groundcover for Phenix AL
March 30, 2014 - Hi I am trying to find a grass or ground cover to control erosion on firing range berms which are 1:1 grade on a firing range outside of Phenix City AL. Sandy clay soil, direct sunlight almost all day...
view the full question and answer

Ground covers for Denton, Texas
May 17, 2007 - Hi, I live in "The Colony", Texas. I want to have a garden that is evergreen and colorful and low maintenance. Also looking for ground covers as do not have time to remove weeds growing in the flow...
view the full question and answer

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