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

Bee’s Bliss sage

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

Canyon Gray sagebrush

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

Carmel Sur manzanita

Botanical Name: Arctostaphylos edmundsii 'Carmel Sur'
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.

Creeping barberry

Botanical Name: Berberis repens
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.

Creeping myoporum + cvs

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

Creeping rosemary

Botanical Name: Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus'
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 24 in.   Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.

Evergreen currant

Botanical Name: Ribes viburnifolium
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.

Floral Carpet rose

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

Germander sage

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

Hayes iva, Poverty weed

Botanical Name: Iva hayesiana
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 + cvs

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

Montara sagebrush

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

Monterey Carpet manzanita

Botanical Name: Arctostaphylos hookeri 'Monterey Carpet'
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.

Mrs. Beard sage

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

New Gold lantana

Botanical Name: Lantana x 'New Gold'
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft.   Width: 6 ft.

Oregon grape

Botanical Name: Berberis aquifolium 'Compacta'
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.

Pacific Mist manzanita

Botanical Name: Arctostaphylos 'Pacific Mist'
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.

Pigeon Point Coyote brush

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

Pink rockrose

Botanical Name: Cistus x skanbergii
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Point Sal purple sage

Botanical Name: Salvia leucophylla 'Point Sal Spreader'
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft.   Width: 6 ft.

Sageleaf rockrose

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

Sunset rockrose

Botanical Name: Cistus x pulverulentus 'Sunset'
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.

Theodore Payne buckwheat

Botanical Name: Eriogonum fasciculatum 'Theodore Payne'
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.

Trailing indigo bush

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

Trailing lantana

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

Wall germander

Botanical Name: Teucrium x lucidrys
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Yankee Point wild lilac

Botanical Name: Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus 'Yankee Point'
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 12 ft.

Vines

Blood-red trumpet vine + cv

Botanical Name: Distictis buccinatoria
Plant Type: Vine
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 30 ft. - 50 ft.   Width: 30 ft. - 50 ft.

Perennials

California strawberry

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

Common thrift

Botanical Name: Armeria maritima
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.

Common yarrow + cvs

Botanical Name: Achillea millefolium
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.

Orange bulbine

Botanical Name: Bulbine frutescens 'Hallmark'
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Red-hot poker, Torch lily + cvs

Botanical Name: Kniphofia uvaria
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.

Silver carpet

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

Silver carpet aster

Botanical Name: Lessingia filaginifolia 'Silver Carpet'
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Snow-in-summer

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

Succulents

Blue finger

Botanical Name: Senecio talinoides ssp. mandraliscae
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.

Orange ice plant

Botanical Name: Lampranthus aurantiacus
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 15 in. - 18 in.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Pink ice plant

Botanical Name: Lampranthus deltoides
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 in. - 12 in.   Width: 24 in. - 30 in.

Purple ice plant

Botanical Name: Lampranthus productus
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 15 in. - 18 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.

Rosea ice plant

Botanical Name: Drosanthemum floribundum
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 in. - 6 in.   Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.

White trailing ice plant

Botanical Name: Delosperma 'Alba'
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.