For most situations, we would not recommend installing this plant in new gardens, landscapes, or plantings in southern California.
Not only is it a relatively uninteresting plant, an insect called myoporum thrips has become a major problem for this plant in this region and often causes the decline or death of plants.
While not as low-growing, our top recommendations to consider instead of this plant include Pigeon Point coyote brush, Theodore Payne buckwheat, Point Sal sage, and Mrs. Beard sage. All of these are more interesting plants that provide far greater benefit for native songbirds and beneficial insects.
This plant profile is included in this site as a reference for two primary reasons:
- If you already have this plant in your landscape, this information can be used to know how to care for it.
- If you already have this plant in your landscape, you can use this information to learn which of our recommended plants have the same recommended watering needs, making them potential choices for grouping together if you will be adding new plants to the existing area.
In general, instead of this plant, we recommend planting appropriate California native plants whenever possible.
In addition to their beauty, California native plants offer the most additional benefits beyond just low water use, including habitat for the birds, butterflies, and pollinators who evolved here with them. This adds value and beauty in your landscape beyond just a pretty plant, allowing the landscape to actively contribute to the environment instead of just using less water. You can find our top recommended native plant choices on our Plant Finder by selecting “California Native” and learn more about California native plants here.
To learn what exactly California native plants are and how they are different from other low water plants, visit this link.
For visual interest or other reasons, some people may also want to mix in other non-native low-water demanding plant choices even though they do not have the same ecological value as native plants. For that reason, we feature a number of non-native waterwise selections on this site as well. However, we see native plants as the best “go to” for most landscape or garden choices! We encourage people to consider planting at least 50% of their landscape to native plants. See our Garden Designs section or visit our Waterwise Demonstration Garden in Montclair for plenty of inspiration.
This very prostrate shrub grows 6-8 in. high and can quickly spread 12-15 ft. across and more. Its foliage is comprised of small medium green leaves, to 1 1/2 in. long, 1/8 in. wide with small teeth around leaf margins. Numerous white flowers occur in clusters along branches in early spring and intermittently throughout the year.
This species is native to hot and dry interior plains of southern Australia. In Southern California, it was used extensively on slopes, medians and understory plantings. It tolerates heat and frost, and can be sustained with low amounts of supplemental water. Plants are often short lived and decline after five years or so if myoporum thrips insects do not cause their decline first. The cultivar M. p. ‘Putah Creek’ has larger leaves that grow to 1 1/2 in. long.