Drought Tolerant Native Groundcover for San Diego

In our latest series on making your front or back yard more drought tolerant, we’ve talked about:

Drought tolerant varieties of grass

Drought tolerant grass alternatives

This week, we’re wrapping up with some Southern California natives that grow prostrate (horizontally) and spread, covering large swathes of ground and perfect for slopes or uncultivated areas. These plants, while low-growing, have woody stems and do not hold up to repeated foot traffic.

Native drought tolerant ground cover for San Diego1. Ceanothus horizontalis Also called California lilac for its profuse blue-purple blooms, the spreading variety of this genus provides thick, hardy and fast-growing groundcover with attractive flowers.

2. Baccharis pilularis This native is perfect for covering large areas with lush green that won’t require much upkeep. Baccharis has thin, muted-green stem with profuse small leaves and forms a blanket of foliage that simulates the look of a lawn – without the need for as much water (and no walkability).

3. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Sometimes called kinnickinnick, this groundcover has small, glossy ovate leaves with bell-shaped white-pink flowers. Makes a plush, low-growing carpet and is perfect for hellstrips, lining driveways or using on hillsides. Tolerates some shade.

4. Erigeron karvinskianus Not as fast or far-spreading as the others listed here, the Santa Barbara daisy provides a more “meadowy” look with lots of small pink and white daisy-like blooms and thin, grasslike green leaves. Great drought-tolerant option for those into the cottage garden look.

Thanks again to Mooch Exterior Designs for working with us to present alternative options to the traditional lawn. If you’d like to pick up products to start your own project, stop by North Park Nursery. Want to let someone else do the work? Get in touch with our friends at Mooch Exterior Designs today!

Author Bio

We are a locally owned and operated retail nursery and garden center based in North Park, San Diego.

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