ground cover plants

Leo A. Martin
Fri, 13 Apr 2012 17:37:22 PDT
For California winter-rainfall coastal areas, there are a lot of southern
African ice plant relatives that form loose shrubby mats to varying
heights. A bonus is usually spectacular flowers. This group of plants is
known as the mesembs, from the former name of the family,
Mesembryantemaceae. They are often native to the exact areas from which
your bulbs originate.

Most of these shrubby mesembs will flower the second growth cycle from
seed. Most are much better plants than the ones often used along freeways.
Some are winter growers, some summer growers, but they are
drought-tolerant and evergreen. Look up genera Antimima, Astridia,
Braunsia, Delosperma, Drosanthemum, Jordaaniela, Lampranthus, Leipoldtia,
Machairophyllum, Rhombophyllum, Ruschia, Sceletium and Trichodiadema. Of
these the easiest would be Antimima, Astridia, Delosperma, Drosanthemum,
Lampranthus and Ruschia.

Seed is readily available from many sources, and is very easy to grow.It
must be planted at the appropriate season. For you this would generally be
late summer through early fall. Birds will destroy seedling containers but
once established these plants are very easy to grow.

In the US there is which lists them under Mesembs.
The growth cycle is indicated by captial letters A, B, C, D and is
explained at the bottom of the first page. For your purposes and the way
you intend to water, plants with growing cycles B (mostly spring) and D
(opportunistic) would be attractive. Few of these species are available
except from seed.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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