Acacia redolens 'Prostrata'

Trailing Acacia

Dense and wide-spreading, Trailing Acacia makes an excellent large area groundcover and to protect banks. A tough and forgiving plant. 'Desert Carpet' is an improved selection. Canopy coverage: 79 square feet.

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Ajuga reptans

Carpet Bugle, Ajuga

This versatile groundcover is one of the best for small-space coverage in shady locations. Growing just a few inches high, it will accept some sun, except in the desert. Partial shade with regular water would be the best prescription. Spikes of blue flowers bloom in spring and summer. Many selections are available with different foliage and flower colors. Ajuga spreads by runners when moisture is available. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet or more.

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Arctostaphylos 'Emerald Carpet'

Emerald Carpet Manzanita

this Manzanita is admired for its general good looks throughout the year. The dense, compact growth due to its tightly packed, small, glossy dark green leaves make it a fine choice as a groundcover or small shrub. Best with afternoon shade in hot inland regions. Prune only to remove dead branches. Canopy coverage: 20 square feet.

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Arctostaphylos edmundsii

Little Sur Manzanita

Little Sur Manzanita is a California native that grows as a mounding groundcover or small shrub. It requires little summer water after it is established. Flowers of light pink and white are borne in clusters in late winter and early spring. Prefers afternoon shade in hot inland regions. Canopy coverage: 28 square feet.

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Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Bearberry, Kinnikinnick

This groundcover requires patience for it to fill in, but is worth the effort. It is a popular ground and bank cover in regions with cool summers. Provide with some shade and extra water in warm summer regions. Selections are available that are more accepting of heat; check with your local nurseries. Canopy coverage: 79 square feet.

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Arctotis hybrids

African Daisy

This is a good example of seeking out plants by their botanical rather than common name. Many plants native to South Africa are known as African Daisy. A perennial, but may be best grown as an annual, depending on your location. Wide range of flower colors; useful for color displays or as a short-lived groundcover. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet.

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Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'

Foxtail Fern

The foliage of Foxtail Fern consists of interesting plumes of foxtail-shaped, needlelike leaves. Great container plant. Prefers afternoon shade in hot-summer regions. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'

Asparagus Fern

Asparagus Fern is often used as a hanging, draping plant. Bright red berries are attractive against the bright green needlelike leaves. 'Myers' is a related selection with long, fluffy, foxtail stems. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Baccharis pilularis 'Pigeon Point'

Dwarf Coyote Brush

This selection is a male plant, so it does not produce messy seed fluff. Leaves are larger and lighter green than other Baccharis selections. Cutting established plants back in late winter before new spring growth helps keep plants fresh looking. Reduce summer irrigations as plants become established. Gets by on a couple of irrigations during the warm season but better with once-a-month irrigations in hot summer regions. Canopy coverage: 50 square feet.

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Bergenia cordifolia

Heartleaf Bergenia

Heartleaf Bergenia is a slow-spreading, clumping perennial that does best in shady locations. The thick, leathery leaves are large, up to 10 inches long and 8 inches wide. Dark pink flowers are borne on sturdy stems 1 foot or more high above the leaves, which grow in a rosette form. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Bougainvillea varieties


Bougainvillea is a workhorse flowering vine or even groundcover, and one of best choices for subtropical landscapes. Many improved selections available in a range of colors. Plants produce a fair amount of litter so locate away from pools. Shrub forms are also available. Locate in a warm microclimate to help avoid frost damage. Canopy coverage: 707 square feet.

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Calylophus hartwegii var. fendleri

Calylophus, Sundrops

Calylophus produces masses of large yellow flowers, blooming for a long period in spring. Excellent in rock gardens. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Ceanothus 'Joyce Coulter'

Joyce Coulter Ceanothus

Excellent choice for a wide-spreading, mounding groundcover. Listed as spreading to 12 feet but can spread even further. May require some pruning to maintain low, groundcover profile. Best in partial shade in hot inland areas. Known to be accepting of summer irrigation, but avoid too much water during this time. Canopy coverage: 113 square feet.

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Ceanothus griseus horizontalis 'Yankee Point'

Yankee Point California Lilac

Grow 'Yankee Point' as a groundcover or low, mounding shrub. Excellent for stabilizing slopes. Locate where it will receive some afternoon shade and provide additional water in hot inland regions. If you live in deer country, know that they love it. Canopy coverage: 79 square feet.

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Centaurea cineraria

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller is grown for its silvery white, velvety leaves with roundish lobes rather than its flowers. Compact growth habit; it is in perfect contrast next to green-foliaged plants. In hot summer regions locate plants where they will receive afternoon shade. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Cephalophyllum 'Red Spike'

Red Spike Iceplant

This succulent grows to about 6 inches high and spreads to 1-1/2 feet wide. Excellent for small space coverage. Locate where plants will receive some afternoon shade in hot summer regions. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Cerastium tomentosum


This is a versatile but short-lived perennial groundcover. Grows 6 to 8 inches high and spreads rapidly to 2 feet or more. Silvery gray leaves serve as background for the profuse white flowers. Accepting of tough conditions, including poor,dry soils. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Chamaemelum nobile

Roman Chamomile

Use Roman Chamomile as a small area groundcover, edging or between stepping stones. Foliage is fragrant when crushed. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Chrysactinia mexicana


The tiny, daisylike, golden yellow flowers of Damianita are fragrant. Use close-up by entrances and traffic areas. Mounding growth habit. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Clematis viticella

Italian Clematis

Italian Clematis is typically grown as a vine or less often as a rambling groundcover. It produces large, deep purple flowers with distinct, golden yellow stamens. Add mulch over the root area to keep roots cool and moist. Cut back plants in late winter to early spring for fresh growth in spring. Selection shown in photos is 'Etoile Violette'. Canopy coverage: 113 square feet.

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Convolvulus cneorum

Silver Bush Morning Glory

The mounding form of Bush Morning Glory works well as a groundcover. Attractive trailing from a container. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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