The Q&A Archives: Need suggestions for restoring our neighborhood's slopes

Question: Hi, I'm researching on behalf of our homeowner's association board which wants to restore the large slopes that border our homes. Because of the cost of maintenance, we are looking for plants that don't require a lot of pruning and can look good with low watering once established. The slopes have mature alders and pines already. Gazanias, Acacia, Myoporum, Rhapheolepis are already in some areas and we are looking for shades of blue. The soil tends toward clay and we are only 1 mile from the ocean half way between L.A. and San Diego. We are looking for shrubs that would flower and need low watering after being established. Some ideas are Blue Hibiscus with flowers that blow in the sea breeze, Pride of Madera, Ceonanthus, Plumbago. Just wondering if you have any suggestions? I'm writing up a report for the board. Thanks. Also, the maintenance company is discouraging us from Gazanias and Statice, saying they don't last long. What are your thoughts on this? There are large patches of Gazanias that have survived many years it seems to me.


Answer: When properly maintained, gazania should grow for many years. Statice has an average lifespan of about 3 years so your landscaper is right in discouraging you from planting it where you want something more permanent. Shrubs suitable for the area that produce blue flowers include Ceanothus, Blue Hibiscus, Ajuga (groundcover) and Vinca (groundcover). While not blue flowering, you might also consider groundcover roses. These are low maintenance once established. For even more ideas, you might visit other established landscapes; residences, libraries, city parks, etc. These should offer even more possibilities. Best wishes with your project!

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