I want to plant groundcover, instead of using mulch, around my existing shrubs. I live in the desert, where it gets very hot and dry. I would be interested in any suggestions. Desert Dweller.
High Country Gardens has several types for you to look at. You can get on line and see what they have and what zones they go to. I am a 5 and we get hot baking summer sun. I have been pleased with Thymus Reiter...but it needs sun as does Thymus 'Wooly'. I planted the hell strips with Wooly Thymus and one side did really well (spreading and no winter kill and a nice form) the other side had a large tree in the center of the strip. The only thing I can think of is that side did not get as much sun as the other. the plants there are the oposite of the other side.
Some sun to partly sunny plants are listed at HCG.
You might want to try vinca, they are very hardy once established and I know can take the heat well in my zone 7 here in NM and in zone 8 when I lived in AZ. They are surprisingly drought tolerant and would probably do alright being in shade provided by your shrubs. They also have a beautiful periwinkle blue flower in spring, mine are blooming right now, and are so pretty and easy. They can be a little invasive, but I have found they do not venture too far into direct full sun. Also, they seem to like the desert's alkaline soil, in AZ I grew them in clay soil, here in NM we have a much more sandy soil. Maybe it's an idea, plus they grow fairly fast and aren't too expensive to start, usually you can get some bareroot from Gurney's or even in 6 packs in the mart stores nursery section. :)
High Country Gardens are good, too, for ideas, but my budget sends me looking for less expensive alternatives.
Hope that Helps!
PS: They are also evergreen here, so I'm sure in your zone 9 they would be, too.
Dear Istanbuljoy and Hyperdoggie:
I'm not familiar with Thymus Reiter or Thymus 'Wooly'. I will have to look that up. I have a High Country Gardens catalog, and have ordered from them. But, can't afford them right now. I thinking of plants I can get at my local garden nursing. The Vinca is common around here. I finally got some started. In the past I haven't been too successful with getting some established. Thanks for the ideas. Desert Dweller :)
Groundcovers are great for adding interest and tying landscape elements together. Here is a link to a publication from the University of Arizon on groundcovers. It covers the entire state, so you'll need to note the ones that grow in your zone. (Note that this pub breaks the state into 5 zones - not related to USDA or Sunset zones).
I hope this helps.
Here is a link that might be useful: Groundcovers for Arizona Landscapes
To aztreelver, Thanks for the great site. It has all the info a person needs for groundcovers. This will help me tremulously. Take care. Desert Dweller :)
I Personally would recommend trailing indigo bush if you are considering placing the groundcover in an area that receives little care. I have it in my sun-scorched front yard in between several large cacti and the contrast is beautiful. I have found that it spreads on its own and fairly quickly created a decent mat.
Yes, that is one of the groundcovers that sparked my interest. I have two indigo shrubs. They have recently bloomed. They are beautiful. I don't know what the trailing bush looks like, or if it is available in my area. I'm going to find out. I want to plant groundcover out in the expose parts of the yard. I don't want grass. I'm trying to establish drought tolerant plants and plants that won't require a lot of maintenance.