The Q&A Archives: What Plants For Hot South & West Facing Concrete Walls?

Question: Greetings!

I'm creating a border garden for a friend, which unfortunatley will be right in front of both a south facing wall, and a west facing wall. A portion of the wall is concrete, and another portion is light gray stucco. Her home is located in Whittier, CA, 90601. The border wraps around the house and outer edge of the property so I will need to find quite a few plants to fill in. The border ranges from 4' to 6' so there is room for layering in some places. She would like to have a perennial border, or something that approximates this anyway (willing to cheat with a few appropriate shrubs!). Any suggestions? I'm having a hard time coming up with enough plants that will fit the bill.

Thanks so much for your time!



Answer: The site you describe may only support a few very heat-tolerant plants. The first that comes to mind is Cotoneaster. While it's generally considered a shrub, its natural arching shape makes it perfect for training onto a trellis attached to a wall. As an espalier, it's quite attractive with small, deep green foliage and bright orange berries. Cotoneaster is evergreen, so it will look nice all year around. Some suggestions for smaller shrubs and groundcovers include Hypericum (St. John's Wort), Genista (dwarf broom), Hebe, Juniper, Heather, Erigeron, Echeveria, Euphorbia and Cistus (rockrose).

For even more ideas, check out a copy of Sunset Western Garden Book (available in libraries, book stores and garden centers. In addition to listing and describing hundreds of plants, there are lists of plants suitable for dry sites, sunny sites, rock gardens, shady sites, etc. I'm sure you'll find it helpful.

Hope the above suggestions help you make your garden design stunning!

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