Tropical Style

Border Plants for No-Mow Grass

No-mow grass lawns are appealing, natural, low-input alternatives to the traditional short green grass grass in the house garden. To keep the gorgeous meadow effect, keep foot traffic to a minimum. Plant shrubs, perennials, bulbs, ground cover and other low maintenance plants in borders, to ensure that regular walks through your no-mow yard to attend boundaries are not vital.


Shrubs, especially ones native to your area, need very little maintenance. Purple sage (Salvia leucophyll), named after its pale purple spring blossoms, is attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. It grows rapidly, reaching 3 to 6 feet tall. Evergreen silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifron) grows up to 5 feet tall, bears fragrant blue-violet blooms from spring to mid-summer, and is appealing to butterflies and mammals. Both of these shrubs thrive in full sun, need little water and are acceptable for a Mediterranean climate.


Common woolly sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum var. achillaeoides) grows up to 3 feet tall and wide. It exhibits silvery-gray leaves and golden yellow blooms. Naked eriogonum (Eriogonum nudum) offers an airy effect, growing up to 3 feet high with gray-green leaves and white, yellow and pink summer flowers. Both perennials continue for several years with very little focus, growing best in full sun in a Mediterranean climate.


Harlequin Flower (Spraxaxis) originates from South Africa and is ideal for a Mediterranean climate, offering brightly colored blossoms in pink, red, ivory and orange. Bugle Lily (Watsonia borbonica) is another Mediterranean climate plant that bears beautiful spikes of white flowers. Both of these plants bloom in spring, then die down over summer, when you may safely leave them unwatered. Planting them in clumps creates an effective display; left undisturbed throughout the year, the clumps will naturally increase in dimension.


Groundcover plants decrease border maintenance by suppressing weeds. Evergreen Carmel creeper “Yankee Point” (Ceanothus griseus var. Horizontalis) has medium-blue flower clusters that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. With shiny dark green leaves, it also grows rapidly to about 3 feet high and 10 feet wide. Creeping blue blossom (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. Repens) grows only 8 inches tall, however, 12 feet wide. Its white spring blooms attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Both of these groundcover plants grow best in well-drained dirt are appropriate for a Mediterranean climate.

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