10 Perfect California Groundcover Plants

California ground covers

California gardeners face unique challenges. Due to the state’s immense size, you find growing zones 5 to 11 within the state. Then, some areas get intense heat during the summer while others get snowfall during the winter. Even when you narrow the area down to your landscaping size, some areas may get more sun than others while other regions may stay moister than others.

Even with all these challenges and more, you can find groundcover options that thrive in California.

Here is a list of California ground cover ideas you may want to consider planting.



Yarrow grows in zones 3 to 9 to be about 3-feet tall. It has aromatic, fern-like leaves that are medium green. Tiny white flowers appear in clusters during the late spring and can last throughout the summer. This plant can topple over if it gets too much humidity. Cut it back after it is done blooming, and you will create a sturdier plant.



If you live in zones 5 to 7 in California, then the bearberry may be a perfect groundcover option. This plant that seldom grows to be over 12-inches tall can spread to be up to 6-feet wide. It has glossy, dark-green leaves that are oblong and leathery. White five-petaled flowers appear in May and can last for about eight weeks. After the flowers, red berries up to 4-inches across grow sparsely on this plant to the birds’ delight.



Gardeners in zones 4 to 7 need to consider the checkerbloom when looking for groundcover plants. Up to 600 tiny flowers appear on this option at a time, each lasting about one week. New blooms will continually appear in July and August. This plant that grows to be about 20-inches tall has finger-like leaves, except for its round basal leaves.

California aster


Maturing to be about 3-feet tall, the California aster grows in many different soil types. Varieties of this summer-blooming flower put on yellow, blue or lavender flowers. It makes an excellent choice for areas where rainfall is short because it is very drought tolerant once established. While this plant prefers the full sun, it will grow throughout the state in partly shaded conditions.

Seaside daisy


Growing in sandy conditions to be about 12-inches tall, the seaside daisy thrives in sunny or partly sunny conditions. This plant is likely to become a favorite because of its white petals and yellow-button center. The blooms usually last from early spring clear through to fall. The dark-green, spoon-shaped foliage on this plant is leathery, creating a beautiful contrast with the blooms. This plant only needs to be watered about twice a month once it gets established.

Yerba mansa


Often called lizard tail, this plant quickly grows to be about 12-inches tall. Its small white flowers are a delightful way to welcome in spring. Each one consists of between four-and-nine spoon-shaped bracts surrounding a tall stamen. As the days warm up, the flower, which usually lasts to fall, will slowly turn red. This plant needs a moist environment, so it is an excellent choice for a wet area in your landscaping. As long as it gets enough moisture, it will grow everywhere in California.

Douglas iris


Especially if you live in the Redwoods region, Douglas iris can grow up to 3-feet tall. This plant loves the shade blooms throughout the spring. The bluish flowers on this option have very prominent veins. This clump-forming plant has sword-shaped leaves that are sword-shaped, and they are often 2-feet long.

Redwood sorrel


Often growing in Douglas fir forest, the redwood sorrel loves the shade. It has clover-like leaves that are bright green. This low-growing plant produces lots of tiny white or pink flowers on delicate stems in the spring. This plant loves a moist environment, but it will survive periods of drought. It likes rich soils. It will grow in less-than-ideal soils in zones 7 to 10.



Verbena can grow up to 4-feet tall depending on the variety chosen. This plant cascades very well, and it will grow in almost all moisture conditions. This plant continues to grow longer throughout the year. It will put on new blooms from early fall through late spring. The petals are often purple, with white streaks up each side. This plant grows well in zones 7 to 9.



If you live in California’s higher elevations, where summers stay cooler, then campanula can be an excellent groundcover. Some choices are tall and make beautiful additions to border gardens. Others remain shorter and form ground-covering mats. These plants bloom in a variety of colors from early spring through fall.