In many California housing developments, roads are created on hillsides and pads bulldozed off for houses. Then the problem becomes how to cover steep banks with plants to hold the soil. In some case banks are steep and extensive. Ground covers often are not sufficient to hold the soil through heavy rains. What is needed is a mix of groundcovers cloaking the ground and deeper-rooted shrubs and trees to grip deeply into the subsoil. Here is a list of possible choices that was created by us for a housing scheme where the landscape was 30 years old and needed replanting with better replacements for plants and more drought-resistant plant choices than those planted by the developer.
Low Shrubs: (3 to 5 feet tall)
(Use these on low banks and at the top of tall banks so that they create a screen but do not hide views.)
- Bottle Brush (Callistemon citrinus ‘Compacta’): Mounded plant to 4 feet wide and high.
- California Lilac (Ceonothus ‘Concha’): Good blue color. This one can take garden irrigation without dying
- Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri): Superior, drought-resistant yellow-centered white poppy flower for banks. Gray foliage should be cut down in November if possible and will spring again from ground to bloom in spring through summer.
- Radiation Lantana (Lantana ‘Radiation’): 3 to 5 feet high and wide and one of the better and most colorful lantana’s for banks. Drought-resistant with long bloom season. Flowers are yellow, orange, and pink. Looks good when mixed with blue plumbago and red bougainvillea.
- Yellow Bush Daisy (Euryops pectinatus ‘Viridis’ or ‘Green Gold’): Long-lived woody, drought-resistant, evergreen shrub, native to South Africa, 3-to 6-feet tall and wide bears yellow daisies over a long season, mainly in winter. Shear off faded flowers and a little of the green growth once a year in June. (Provides good yellow color to go near blue Pride of Madeira and pink and white dwarf tea trees.)
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