New Neighborhood Voice

February 1, 2004

California Native Groundcovers

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Click on the Scientific Name for a Web page describing each plant.  Use the Back button on your browser to return to this page.  H - Height, W - Width.  Print this page in landscape mode.

Common Name

Scientific Name



Foliage Color

Flower Color



Growth Rate


Yarrow Achillea millefolium 1' 1' Green White Sun/ Shade None Slow Hybrids available in many colors
Bearberry Arctostaphylos 
1' 1.5' Green White/pink
Red Fruit
Light shade Occasional Slow Red berries attract wildlife
Trailing Sagebrush Artemisia californica ‘Canyon Gray’ 1' 4' Gray Yellow Sun None Moderate Trim every 2 years
Wild Ginger Asarum caudatum 8" 1' Dark green Maroon Shade Regular Moderate Redwood forest community
Dwarf Coyote Brush Baccharis pilularis 'Pigeon Point' 1' 6' Green White Sun None Moderate Cut back every 2 years
Creeping Barberry Berberis repens 1' 3' Blue/ green Yellow
Blue Fruit
Shade Occasional Slow Mounding, spreading
Foothill Sedge Carex tumulicola 1' 2' Green   Sun or Shade None Moderate Drought tolerant green sedge
Pt Reyes Ceanothus Ceanothus gloriosus 1' 6' Dark Green Blue Part Shade Regular Fast Coastal species
Carmel Mountain Lilac Ceanothus griseus horizontalis 3' 10' Dark Green Blue Part Shade Regular Fast  
Hearst's Ceanothus Ceanothus hearstiorum 1' 6' Green Blue Part Shade Regular Fast  
California Fuchsia Epilobium canum canum 1' 2' Gray Red Sun None Moderate Spreads by rhizomes
Spider Yarrow Eriophyllum lanatum arachnoideum 6" 2' Gray/ Green Yellow Sun Regular Moderate Frost tender
Woodland Strawberry Fragaria vesca 6" 2' Green White Sun Regular Moderate Spreads by runners
Beach Strawberry Fragaria chiloensis 6" 2' Green White
Red Fruit
Part Shade Regular Moderate Coastal species
Salt Heliotrope Heliotropium curassavicum 6" 1' Gray White/ purple Sun Occasional Moderate Draws butterflies, bees
Coyote Mint Monardella villosa 1' 1' Green Lavender Sun None Slow Great nectar plant
Bee's Bliss Sage Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’ 1' 6' Gray Lavender Sun None Fast Roots as it grows
Prostrate Black Sage Salvia mellifera 'Terra Seca' 1' 6' Green White Sun None Fast  
Sonoma Sage Salvia sonomensis 8" 10' Gray/ Cream Lavender Sun None Fast  
Hummingbird Sage Salvia spathacea 1.5' 1.5' Green Pink Part Shade None Moderate Spreads by rhizomes
Yerba Buena Satureja douglasii 3" 1' Green White Shade Occasional Slow Minty fragrance

Sources of California Native Plants/Seeds:

Common natives can be found at most commercial nurseries, like Summerwinds, Orchard Supply, or Home Depot. The following nurseries specialize in native plants and carry a much wider selection.

Larner Seeds  (415) 868-9407 P.O. Box 407, Bolinas, CA 94924
Yerba Buena Nursery  (650) 851-1668 19500 Skyline Blvd., Woodside, CA 94062
Native Revival Nursery  (831) 684-1811 2600 Mar Vista Dr., Aptos, CA 95003
Rana Creek Nursery  (831) 659-4851 35351 E Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel, CA 93924
Elkhorn Nursery  (831) 763-1207 P.O. Box 270, Moss Landing, CA 95039

(Tables by Arvind Kumar)

Click here to see more photos of native groundcovers

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Copyright© 2004 by Judy Thompson.  All rights reserved.