Oenothera stubbei

Saltillo Primrose

This is a colorful, fast-growing groundcover with a clumping growth habit. The fragrant yellow flowers open in late afternoon until the following morning. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Origanum vulgare

Common Oregano

Common Oregano, also known as Wild Marjoram, is variable regarding leaf scent and culinary flavor. Color comes from flowers as well as bracts, which are modified leaves that surround flowers. Spreads and reseeds on its own. May die down with winter cold but comes back from the roots. Useful in cooking. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Plumbago scandens

White Desert Plumbago

White Desert Plumbago is a sprawling shrub or groundcover that prefers some afternoon shade in hot-summer regions. Flowers are white and profuse in summer, lending a cooling effect. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet. Photo courtesy Mountain States Wholesale Nursery.

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Psilostrophe cooperi


Paperflower has a rounded growth habit. It works well planted among boulders or rock gardens. Plant where it will receive afternoon shade in hottest regions. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Pyracantha crenatoserrata


Pyracantha is a triple-threat shrub, with attractive evergreen leaves, clusters of white spring flowers, and long-lasting orange-red berries in fall and winter. Be aware of its large thorns, which can serve nicely as a security barrier; avoid locating near traffic areas. Canopy coverage: 79 square feet.

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Pyracantha koidzumii 'Santa Cruz'

Pyracantha, Firethorn

This Pyracantha grows as a shrubby groundcover form that can be pruned to control height as needed. Red berries are profuse and attract birds. Sturdy thorns make it a good barrier plant; handle and prune with caution. Canopy coverage 13 square feet.

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Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus'

Prostrate Rosemary

The aromatic, needlelike leaves of Rosemary deter rabbits. Tough growing groundcover for slopes or allow to drape over ledges. Look for selections 'Huntington Carpet' and 'Collingwood Ingram'. Canopy coverage: 50 square feet.

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Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie'

Dwarf Ruellia, Desert Petunia

Katie' is a robust bloomer during the warm season. It works well as a small-area groundcover, growing to 12 inches high. Canopy coverage: 1 square foot.

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Salvia officinalis

Garden Sage, Common Sage

Garden Sage is often grown in the herb garden for its ornamental as well as its culinary attributes. 'Aurea' and 'Tricolor' are popular selections. It is common to replace plantings after a few years due to their woody growth. Must have well drained soil. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Santolina chamaecyparis

Lavender Cotton

Lavender Cotton is a reliable small shrub or groundcover that lends its silvery gray leaves as bright contrast to green-foliaged plants. Its leaves are aromatic. Plantings are easy to control; keep neat by trimming away spent flower stems. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet.

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Santolina virens

Green Santolina

Presents a refined form with clusters of bright yellow button-shaped flowers. Also makes an excellent groundcover. Often combined with Lavender Cotton. Canopy coverage: 28 square feet.

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Sedum x rubrotinctum

Pork and Beans

Interesting little plant, with teardrop-shaped, succulent leaves about 3/4 inch long described as looking like pork and beans or jellybeans. Grows to about 8 inches high. Use in containers or for a small-scale groundcover. Easy to propagate. Plants in sun turn more bronze color but avoid locations in full sun in desert regions. Provide well-draining soil and reduce water in summer. Canopy coverage: 1 square foot.

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Stachys byzantina

Lamb's Ears

The fuzzy, silvery gray leaves of Lamb's Ears makes it a great choice to contrast with dark foliage plants. Better with afternoon shade in hot-summer climates. Spreads by runners. Selection 'Silver Carpet' does not produce flowers. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Stachys coccinea

Scarlet Betony, Texas Betony

Leaves of Scarlet Betony grow to 3 inches long and have a wrinkled appearance. Clumping growth habit. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Teucrium chamaedrys 'Prostratum'

Creeping Germander

The mature height of Creeping Germander is listed at 1 foot high, but it actually stays lower—to just 6 inches high. Fragrant foliage is appealing when planted between stepping stones or other close-up locations. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Thymus praecox

Pink Creeping Thyme

Pink Creeping Thyme makes an interesting, mat-forming groundcover in small locations. 'Elfin', shown in photos between pavers and steppingstones, hugs the ground even closer. Canopy coverage: 1 square foot.

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Thymus serpyllum

Creeping Thyme, Wild Thyme

The height of Creeping Thyme is listed at 1 foot high, but it actually remains lower—to just 3 inches, hugging the ground. Fragrant foliage is an attraction. A great use is between stepping stones. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Tradescantia pallida 'Purpurea'

Purple Heart, Purple Spiderwort

This striking, rough-textured perennial has made the transition from houseplant to accent perennial or small-scale groundcover. Excellent in a hanging basket with stems and leaves draping to 1-1/2 feet or more. Plants may be killed to the ground with winter cold but regrow quickly the next spring season. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Verbena lilacina

Lilac Verbena

Lilac Verbena is a mounding groundcover or subshrub with a long flowering season. Relatively cold hardy. Locate where it will receive some afternoon shade in hot summer areas. The popular cultivar 'De La Mina' has darker flowers but cold hardiness is about 25F. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Vinca minor

Vinca Periwinkle

Dwarf Periwinkle is more mild-mannered than its close relative, Vinca major. But it, too, tends to be invasive, particularly if planted within reach of regularly moist soil. Best with some protection from the sun in hot summer regions. Variegated leaf forms are also available. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet.

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Wedelia texana


This is an easy-to-grow groundcover or small shrub. It is blessed with a long blooming period with profuse, yellow to gold daisylike flowers. Avoid overwatering or plants can become leggy. Rough textured, so not the best choice for close-up viewing. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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