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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - April 02, 2012

From: Simi Valley, CA
Region: California
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for Southern California clay slope
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a 30 ft. high by 96 ft. long slope with clay soil slope that I want to plant a low height ground cover. Any recommendations on what ground cover possibilities to use.

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery with stores in Escondido and Santa Margarita has an excellent article, "Simple erosion control for a hillside or garden slope", that has good advice about landscaping slopes and offers some suggestions for native plants for using in Southern California.  Here are some possibilities from the list for clay slopes:

Arctostaphylos edmundsii (Little sur manzanita) grows in full sun and here are photos and information from Las Pilitas.

Baccharis pilularis (Coyotebrush) will grow in full sun and part shade and here are photos and information from Las Pilitas.

Ceanothus griseus (Carmel mountain lilac)

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue blossom) grows in part shade.  Las Pilitas shows a cultivar, C. thyrsiflorus repens, that is low-growing.

Eriogonum fasciculatum (Eastern mojave buckwheat) grows in full sun and here are photos and information from Las Pilitas.

You can see other groundcovers listed by height on the Las Pilitas site.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coyotebrush
Baccharis pilularis

Blueblossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Eastern mojave buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium

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