Source: California Invasive Plant Council

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Don't Plant a Pest

Ground covers of the Central Coast region

Invasive plants are listed in red boxes. Alternatives are listed below in green.
Invasive plants that are also a fire hazard are identified by this symbol: 

Invasive! Do Not Plant! Invasive!

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Algerian ivy or English ivy
Hedera helix or Hedera caneriensis
Some ivy species in the Hedera genus are a problem in California. They can smother understory vegetation, kill trees, and harbor non-native rats and snails. It's difficult to distinguish problem species from less invasive ones. Do not plant ivy near natural areas, never dispose of ivy cuttings in natural areas, and maintain ivy so it never goes to fruit. Researchers hope to determine which ivies can be planted safely.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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Hottentot fig or iceplant
Carpobrotus edulis
This vigorous groundcover forms impenetrable mats that compete directly with native vegetation, including several rare and threatened plants. Small mammals can carry seeds of iceplant from landscape settings to nearby natural areas. Pieces of the plant can be washed into storm drains and into natural areas where they become established.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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Vinca major
This aggressive grower has trailing stems that root wherever they touch the soil. Their ability to resprout from stem fragments enables periwinkle to spread rapidly in shady creeks and drainages, smothering the native plant community.
Key to plant care
Try these plants instead

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beach strawberry
Fragaria californica or Fragaria chiloensis
full sunpart sunlow water
Forms lush compact mat 4 to 6 inches high. Glossy dark green leaves, white flowers. Mow or cut back annually to force new growth. Can be found growing along the coast from Monterey county and north to Alaska.

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germander or wall germander
Teucrium chamaedrys or T. x lucidrys
full sunpart sunmedium water
This plant can be sheared into a neat groundcover or allowed to grow to full height (about one foot), and produces lavender flowers in the spring. Compact cultivars are available. Deer resistant.

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Asian jasmine or ivory star jasmine
Trachelospermum asiaticum
full sunpart sunhigh water
Evergreen, vining groundcover up to 20 feet across. Has glossy, dark green leaves and pale yellow, pinwheel-shaped flowers with a jasmine scent.

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showy dewflower or rosea iceplant
Drosanthemum floribundum
full sunmedium waterlow water
A succulent with silver-gray leaves and an abundance of pink flowers. Tolerates some salt spray.

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Pachysandra terminalis
part sunshadehigh water
Grows more slowly than Vinca spp. and Hedera spp., but has a crisp, neat growth form. New foliage is bright green, changing to dark green with age. Small white flowers on 1-2 inch spikes. Withstands shade and is widely used under trees. Variegated cultivars are available. Deer resistant.

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Serbian bellflower
Campanula poscharskyana
full sunpart sunhigh watermedium water
Produces a profusion of lilac-blue, star-shaped flowers spring to fall. Grows quickly and easily, but could overwhelm a carefully manicured garden. Deer resistant.

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giant alumroot or coral bells
Heuchera maxima and hybrids
full sunpart sunhigh watermedium water
This evergreen groundcover has heart-shaped leaves and thin, bell-shaped, pink and white flowers that hang gracefully from thin stalks. Fire resistant.

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wild ginger
Asarum caudatum
part sunshadehigh water
A California native, this evergreen groundcover has heart-shaped leaves and unusual maroon flowers.

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bear's foot hellebore
Helleborus foetidus
part sunshademedium water
Unusual foliage and delicate, complex flowers. The intriguing pale green and purple flowers often have a pleasant fragrance.

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bergenia or winter saxifrage
Bergenia cordifolia
part sunshadehigh water
An evergreen groundcover, with large, dark green leaves, and clusters of bright, deep pink flowers.

Corsican hellebore or Lenten rose
Helleborus argutifolius, Helleborus orientalis
part sunmedium water
Besides bear's foot hellebore, several other perennial hellebore species are available that grow well in Central Coast gardens.

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hardy iceplant
Delosperma cooperi
full sunpart sunmedium waterlow water
A non-invasive iceplant with smaller, succulent leaves and brilliant violet-pink flowers May through October. Salt tolerant. Fire resistant.

evergreen current
Ribes viburnifolium
full sunpart sundrought
A low-growing, evergreen shrub with fragrant, dark-green leaves. Can tolderate full sun along the coast but needs partial shade in the hotter inland areas. Once established, evergreen current does not need irrigation and is an excellent choice for growing under native oaks where supplemental watering is discouraged.