Description

Many plants can be grown as ground covers. Many are spreading shrubs that can be planted to cover slopes and banks of many sizes. Others include vines, succulents and sedges. Ground covers are very important in controlling erosion and creating a low understory layer to complement taller shrubs and trees. Over 45 plants are included on this list to provide ideas for many planting situations.

Plant List

Shrubs

Arctostaphylos ‘Pacific Mist’

Common Name: Pacific Mist manzanita
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 10 ft.

Arctostaphylos edmundsii ‘Carmel Sur’

Common Name: Carmel Sur manzanita
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun
Height: 18 in.   Width: 7 ft. - 10 ft.

Arctostaphylos hookeri ‘Monterey Carpet’

Common Name: Monterey Carpet manzanita
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 8 ft. - 12 ft.

Artemisia californica ‘Canyon Gray’

Common Name: Canyon Gray sagebrush
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 15 in. - 18 in.   Width: 8 ft. - 10 ft.

Artemisia californica ‘Montara’

Common Name: Montara sagebrush
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 24 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Baccharis pilularis ‘Pigeon Point’

Common Name: Pigeon Point Coyote brush
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 6 ft. - 9 ft.

Berberis aquifolium ‘Compacta’

Common Name: Oregon grape
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Berberis repens

Common Name: Creeping barberry
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade
Height: 18 in. - 30 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Cistus salviifolius

Common Name: Sageleaf rockrose
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.

Cistus x pulverulentus ‘Sunset’

Common Name: Sunset rockrose
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.

Cistus x skanbergii

Common Name: Pink rockrose
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Dalea greggii

Common Name: Trailing indigo bush
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 5 ft. - 10 ft.

Iva hayesiana

Common Name: Hayes iva, Poverty weed
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Lantana camara + cvs

Common Name: Lantana
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 6 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 8 ft.

Lantana montevidensis

Common Name: Trailing lantana
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 5 ft. - 10 ft.

Lantana x ‘New Gold’

Common Name: New Gold lantana
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft.   Width: 6 ft.

Myoporum parvifolium + cvs

Common Name: Creeping myoporum
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 in. - 8 in.   Width: 12 ft. - 15 ft.

Ribes viburnifolium

Common Name: Evergreen currant
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade
Height: 5 ft. - 7 ft.   Width: 5 ft. - 7 ft.

Rosa floribunda ‘Floral Carpet’

Common Name: Floral Carpet rose
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’

Common Name: Bee's Bliss sage
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 5 ft.

Salvia ‘Mrs. Beard’

Common Name: Mrs. Beard sage
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.

Salvia chamaedryoides

Common Name: Germander sage
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Teucrium x lucidrys

Common Name: Wall germander
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Vines

Distictis buccinatoria + cv

Common Name: Blood-red trumpet vine
Plant Type: Vine
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 30 ft. - 50 ft.   Width: 30 ft. - 50 ft.

Perennials

Achillea millefolium + cvs

Common Name: Common yarrow
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Moderate shade, All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 30 in.   Width: 18 in. - 30 in.

Armeria maritima

Common Name: Common thrift
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial, Native
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 6 in. - 8 in.   Width: 10 in. - 12 in.

Bulbine frutescens ‘Hallmark’

Common Name: Orange bulbine
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Cerastium tomentosum

Common Name: Snow-in-summer
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 in. - 6 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Dymondia margaretae

Common Name: Silver carpet
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 in. - 3 in.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Fragaria vesca

Common Name: California strawberry
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: Moderate shade, Partial sun
Height: 2 in. - 8 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 6 ft.

Kniphofia uvaria + cvs

Common Name: Red-hot poker, Torch lily
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.

Succulents

Delosperma ‘Alba’

Common Name: White trailing ice plant
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.

Drosanthemum floribundum

Common Name: Rosea ice plant
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 in. - 6 in.   Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.

Lampranthus aurantiacus

Common Name: Orange ice plant
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 15 in. - 18 in.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Lampranthus deltoides

Common Name: Pink ice plant
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 in. - 12 in.   Width: 24 in. - 30 in.

Lampranthus productus

Common Name: Purple ice plant
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 15 in. - 18 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.

Senecio talinoides ssp. mandraliscae

Common Name: Blue finger
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.