Source: California Invasive Plant Council

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Don't Plant a Pest

Ground covers of the Southern California 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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San Diego marsh elder
Iva hayesiana
full sunpart sunlow water
This fast-growing native is widely used for slope coverage and erosion control. Grows one to two feet tall and four to six feet across with inconspicuous flowers. Summer watering will help maintain a more lush appearance. Prune annually to encourage new growth.
Funding for this project has been provided in full or in part through an Agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) pursuant to the Costa-Machado Water Act of 2000 (Proposition 13) and any amendments thereto for the implementation of California's Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the SWRCB, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.