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groundcover for sunny, dry, steep hillside in l.a.

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:14 am
by lagatita
any suggestions?

plants for hot sunny slope

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:05 am
by rainbowgardener
It's tough conditions. There's a few adaptable native ground covers that might work: wood nymph, spreading phlox, texas frogfruit, purple groundcherry.

Another thought besides ground covers would be to make sort of a prairie meadow effect with desert/ drought tolerant perennials. It might be a little harder to get established to start with, but once established would be very beautiful and just as low maintenance. Here's some native plants that would work for that: lots of different species of penstemons and salvias, lupine, desert tobacco, tufted evening primrose, coneflowers, goldenrod, desert globe mallow, mojave aster, indian paintbrush, california poppy, coreopsis.

Work with a good local nursery, but some of this you might have to order on line...

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:43 am
by cynthia_h
Sunset's Western Garden Book contains lists of plants (trees, shrubs, ground covers, bulbs) suitable to special conditions. In my edition (which is the 7th; the current ed. is the 8th), the list of ground covers suitable for "Dry Areas" lists 25 species.

Twenty (yes, 20! :shock:) of these ground covers are also listed as suitable for full sun! :)

However, they're specified by Sunset climate zones. Los Angeles County, and even the City of Los Angeles, contain several Sunset climate zones. Zones 22, 23, and 24 cover most of the L.A. Basin, but Zones 18 through 21 are also represented. Rainfall is one of the determinants of Sunset climate zones, and a ground cover will most likely be heavily dependent on rainfall for its survival. (I'm imagining that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to hand-water or establish an irrigation system on such a steep hillside.)

Take a look at the Sunset book, maybe at your local library, gardening center, or hardware store, and ascertain your Sunset climate zone. Then select a few of the ground covers for Dry Areas which you like. Consult with a nursery on the planting density (how will you plant these? is the hillside too steep to dig in plants? do you need to broadcast seeds and hope for the best? etc.), and look towards planting in late October or early November--just ahead of the first expected seasonal rains.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9