‘Red Spike’ Ice Plant Cephalophyllum 'Red Spike'

Ruler icon 3 in. high x 12-18 in. wide

Sun icon Full Sun / Partial Shade

Thermometer icon 9-11

This succulent groundcover has green leaves that grow in clumps and stick straight up like “spikes.” It blooms beautiful, bright red flowers mainly in late winter into spring and off and on throughout the rest of the year. The Red Spike Ice Plant does best with afternoon shade in the summer.

Acacia redolens 'Low Boy' Groundcover Acacia

Ruler icon 2 ft. high, up to 15 ft. wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zone 8-11

Tough as nails groundcover. ‘Low Boy’ is an evergreen, woody plant that can grow to variable sizes, but stays lower than most. Thick, leathery gray-green leaves cover woody stems with bright yellow catkin-like flowers appearing in spring. These plants are low water use, but will appreciate regular irrigation to get established. Pruning for size can be done almost anytime with these durable plants, but know that when they are trimmed hard or repeatedly they will become woody and lose their more herbaceous appearance. Suitable for large open spaces, slopes or erosion control projects in low deserts or coastal environments. Easy-to-grow, cultivate, and maintain, just give them space to spread.

Aptenia cordifolia Heart Leaf Ice Plant/Baby Sun Rose

Ruler icon 6 in. high x 2-3 ft. wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

A super-hardy, ice plant-like groundcover. Unlike most ice plants, these plants have larger succulent heart-shaped bright green leaves. They are a reliable long-blooming ground cover that forms star-shaped iridescent pink to red flowers during spring through summer. The flowers open during the bright part of the day from noon to the afternoon. This ice plant relative is extremely drought and heat tolerant, but it performs best with some afternoon shade in low deserts. Useful for erosion control, spilling over on sunny slopes, around boulders, or other hardscape elements where few other plants will thrive. Also nice under large shrubs or evergreen trees, as well as in hanging baskets and containers.

Dalea capitata Gold Dalea, or Yellow Dalea

Ruler icon 1-2 ft. high x 2-4 ft. wide

Sun icon Full to part sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 7-11

Golden flowering adaptable groundcover. An interesting and adaptable herbaceous looking woody subshrub or groundcover. Its ability to go winter dormant in cold, high desert landscapes and its tolerance for fierce reflected heat in the hottest, low desert locations makes Gold Dalea a valuable groundcover. Low mounding plants with dark green compound leaves with a light citrus scent. In late summer to fall, golden-yellow pea-like flowers appear held well above the foliage. These herbaceous looking plants require well-draining soil and while they will tolerate some dappled shade, more sun yields the best flower displays.

Eremophila glabra Sunrise Trailing Yellow Emu, Yellow Trailing Emu

Ruler icon 1-3 ft. high x 5-6 ft. wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

Wide, evergreen lush-looking groundcover. This Emu stays relatively low, but it can spread wide as it matures. We list this plant at a comfortable 5-6 ft. spread, but some older specimens in Phoenix and Palm Springs have been noted to have grown to 10 ft. wide or more. They are not considered aggressive growers though. Selective annual pruning right after flowering is all that is needed to control their size. Low to moderate water needs and well-draining soils are all they need to be healthy and happy. Bright
green, lush foliage is covered by golden yellow blooms starting in winter with bloom peeking in early spring

Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’ Trailing Rosemary

Ruler icon up to 2 ft. high x 4-8 ft. wide

Sun icon Full to part sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 8-11

Hardy, green groundcover with aromatic foliage. Rosemary plants have short needle-like, dark green resinous foliage that emits a distinctive fragrance, especially when the leaves are crushed. They are known and used commonly as rich culinary herb. This selection is a low growing form used as a groundcover, to trail over walls or raised beds, and for erosion control on slopes. They are tolerant of heat, and drought with some cold tolerance to around 20°F. They can be grown in some shade, but they perform best in full sun. They flower in spring with masses of tiny light sky blue flowers that are highly attractive to bees. They must be planted in well-drained soil but are not too particular about the pH. They are not fast growers but once planted they steadily spread, staying low to the ground and eventually grow into a mounded form.

Salvia leucantha Mexican Bush Sage

Ruler icon 3-4 ft. high x 3-6 ft. wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

Graceful, soft sprawling floriferous evergreen shrub. Leaves are a few inches long, linear, and velvety green. Stems gray-green to white upright but arching to form a 3-4 ft. tall mounding plant. Flowers on spires above the foliage are velvety purple with a white noticeably protruding corolla that offers a special textural and colorful effect. Easy maintenance and Mediterranean preferences such as some water in summer and hardly any in fall and winter. This salvia benefits from having old, flowered-out stems selectively removed during the growing season with a bigger cut back at end of winter, early spring as soon as new growth emerges.  Works well in Tuscan designs with evergreens or yuccas, or blended with other desert and tropical plants with similar watering requirements. They can tolerate some shade but bloom best in morning sun and afternoon shade.

Setcreasea pallida Tradescantia/Purple Heart

Ruler icon 1 ft. high x 4-6 ft. wide

Sun icon Full to part sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

It’s hard to beat the visual impact of the dark purple foliage on this succulent groundcover. They are herbaceous, trailing groundcovers with attractive and distinctive dark purple foliage. The heart-shaped flowers that give this plant its common name are small lavender-pink, which appear nearly all year from the ends of every stem, but they are insignificant compared to the overall striking color of the foliage itself. This plant makes a complementary and cooling groundcover for shade to partial sun locations around plants with green or bluish-green palettes. It works well with grasses and palms around pools and patios or spilling out of containers. Little to no maintenance required. Frosted plants can recover quickly after being cut back, and cuttings easily re-root if put back in ground.

Teucrium chamaedrys ‘Prostratum’ Trailing Germander, Wall Germander

Ruler icon up to 1 ft. high x 2-3 ft. wide

Sun icon Full to part sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 6-10

Tough, broadleaf evergreen groundcover. These dark green herbaceous plants thrive in average to poor, rocky soils, which is perfect for our western landscapes. They are cold and heat tolerant making them adaptable to many climate zones. They form a rounded mound with woody stemmed base. The spring to summer flowers are lavender to white in color and the foliage has an attractive herbal scent. Shearing these plants back after blooming helps to keep them short and to grow wider. Moderate regular water during summers in low deserts is recommended.