Hello I live in Pasadena California and would like to ask about a ground covering that will easily grow, be drought tolerant and in the shade. I live in zone 9b or somewhere around there. Any help will be very appreciated. Thanks, Neil
looking for lawn alternative
The Stepables website has a nice search engine that lets you put in sun/shade, zone, water requirements, how much traffic the groundcover needs to be able to handle, etc and tells you what plants would do well. http://www.stepables.com/store/scripts/prodSearch-plants.asp
High Country Gardens also has some information about drought tolerant lawn alternatives such as thyme, veronica, etc. I have their Veronica pectinata growing around my flagstones and it has beautiful blue flowers. I'm not sure how well it would perform in heavy shade though.
Look at Ajuga reptans, Leptinella squalida, and some of the Hedera. The stepables site is informative, but they are expen$ive.
Most of the stepables plants are available much cheaper at local nurseries--I should have been clear that I was only recommending the search engine, not recommending buying the plants from them (with groundcovers, even if you find an online source with good prices, you end up needing so many plants to cover the area that the shipping charge probably isn't worth it--you'll probably spend less in the long run shopping locally)