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In a drought, go native with your installation.

Drought tolerant native plants | Pacific Nurseries

If it’s not apparent, California is now in a big-time drought. After three consecutive years of below-normal rainfall, California faces its most severe drought emergency in decades. Governor Jerry Brown recently called for Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent.

What’s more, mandatory rationing could be just around the corner so that homes, businesses and farms don’t dry up over the summer.

In an environment like this, what’s a landscape pro to do when the success of his or her landscape project depends on life-giving water? One of the best strategies to consider is going native.

Don’t just survive this drought. Thrive with natives.

California native plants are important because they’re water efficient and provide biological diversity for surrounding ecosystems. Using “California-friendly” plants is a best-practice that benefits both local habitat and area inhabitants—people and wildlife.

From ground covers and grasses, to flowering shrubs and trees, native plants provide the benefits of lower water needs, reduced maintenance requirements, improved soil health, and increased diversity that attracts birds and butterflies. They also blend in naturally with surrounding landscapes and provide aesthetic beauty.

A gallery of beautiful, water-wise natives.

For landscape professionals interested in implementing a native strategy for their clients and projects, we offer a gallery of the many native plant species that are beautiful, require little water and improve virtually any landscape.

There is also specimen detail list below the gallery that provides a summary of each plant’s characteristics and preferred location.


Ceanothus impressus

Common name | Santa Barbara Ceanothus

Ceanothus impressus | Pacific Nurseries

Ceanothus impressus | Pacific Nurseries


A large shrub with a dense mass of dark wrinkled green leaves, covered with deep blue flower clusters in early spring, mostly March to April. Requires good drainage and infrequent to no summer watering, can be temperamental, preferring sun to partial sun exposure.


Eriophyllum confertiflorum

Common name | Golden Yarrow

Eriophyllum confertiflorum | Pacific Nurseries

Eriophyllum confertiflorum | Pacific Nurseries


An abundant perennial small shrub found naturally at the base of cliffs in rock crevasses, preferring sun exposure. Finely leafed foliage, green above and woolly below. Blossoms are clusters of yellow flowers, displayed from March to August, attractive to butterflies.


Penstemon centranthifolius

Common name | Scarlet Bugler

Penstemon centranthifolius | Pacific Nurseries

Penstemon centranthifolius | Pacific Nurseries


This penstemon has scarlet red blossoms with blue-gray foliage, a long bloom season, and is very drought tolerant. This plant prefers hot, dry summers and mild winters to perform well.


Muhlenbergia rigens

Common name | Deergrass

Muhlenbergia rigens | Pacific Nurseries

Muhlenbergia rigens | Pacific Nurseries


Provides interesting texture contrast, with many erect narrow blades that fan out in vase-shaped foliage, in dense clumps. Stays evergreen without summer water.


Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum

Common name | Pink-flowering Currant

Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum | Pacific Nurseries

Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum | Pacific Nurseries


A deciduous shrub, this plant has long, graceful pink flowers, 15–40 in a cluster. Blooms from January to March and produces blue black berries. This is one of the most attractive native species in the Bay area. Will tolerate a range of soil conditions, and is moderately drought tolerant.


Cistus sp.

Common name | Rockrose

Cistus sp.  | Pacific Nurseries

Cistus sp. | Pacific Nurseries


A very hardy plant, with showy spring flowers. Accepts poor, dry soil and will tolerate cold ocean winds, salt spray or desert heat. Needs well-drained soil if irrigated. Little to no water is required once established. An occasional trimming of old stems will induce new growth. Height will vary depending on kind. Shorter varieties are useful as ground cover, in rock gardens, and in rough areas along roads or driveways.


Mimulus aurantiacus

Common name | Sticky Monkey

Mimulus aurantiacus | Pacific Nurseries

Mimulus aurantiacus | Pacific Nurseries


This showy perennial has abundant apricot colored blossoms that will attract hummingbirds. Occasional summer watering will extend the blooming season. Drought tolerant.


Epilobium canum

Common name | California Fuschia

Epilobium canum | Pacific Nurseries

Epilobium canum | Pacific Nurseries


Also referred to as Zauschneria californica , the abundant scarlet tubular flowers appear in the fall, looks best when trimmed after flowering or before new growth begins. Attractive to hummingbirds.


Erigeron glaucus

Common name | Seaside Daisy

Erigeron glaucus | Pacific Nurseries

Erigeron glaucus | Pacific Nurseries


Native to California, this ground cover forms clumps of stout stems topped by lavender flowers. Some summer irrigation is best. Tolerant of hot inland conditions.


Eschscholzia californica

Common name | California Poppy

Eschscholzia californica | Pacific Nurseries

Eschscholzia californica | Pacific Nurseries


A true perennial, this wildflower is often grown as an annual. Color varies from pale yellow to deep orange. Flowers spring to summer and reseeds easily. Blossoms close at night. Plant seeds in fall, broadcasting on well-drained soil. Little irrigation required.


Fremontodendron californicum

Common name | California Flannelbush

Fremontodendron californicum  | Pacific Nurseries

Fremontodendron californicum | Pacific Nurseries


Yellow flowers create an attractive display from May to June as flowers bloom all at once. Leathery leaves are dark green above, fuzzy beneath. This shrub needs good drainage, and hillside planting is the best with staking when young. Needs no dry-season watering.


Arctostaphylos glauca

Common name | Bigberry Manzanita

Arctostaphylos glauca | Pacific Nurseries

Arctostaphylos glauca | Pacific Nurseries


An excellent slope stabilizer, this shrub has large light pink blossoms in late winter to early spring and is accented by deep red twisted bark. Attractive berries follow.


Carpenteria californica

Common name | Bush Anemone

Carpenteria californica | Pacific Nurseries

Carpenteria californica | Pacific Nurseries


This California native shrub displays dark green foliage highlighted by 3” single-petaled fragrant white flowers with golden stamens.


Romneya coulteri

Common name | Matilija Poppy

Romneya coulteri | Pacific Nurseries

Romneya coulteri | Pacific Nurseries


An extremely hardy perennial that’s slow to start. Once established, produces amazing “fried egg” blossoms. Spreads by underground runners.


Eriogonum fasciculatum

Common name | California Buckwheat

Eriogonum fasciculatum | Pacific Nurseries

Eriogonum fasciculatum | Pacific Nurseries


This native is an important honey plant, attractive to butterflies, and will help stabilize slopes. Forms hemispheres of growth, topped with pinkish-white blossoms in the summer that turn to rusty red in the fall.


Time to steer your clients to a native, water-wise landscape.

If you want to learn more about native plants, feel free to contact any of our experts at Pacific Nurseries. As both a grower and a plant broker, we’re ready to work with you to provide just the right native plants and trees that will make your project a water-wise success. It’s one of the many qualities that makes us different from just an ordinary nursery.

Share your favorite natives.

Have you installed California native plants in your recent project? Share your favorites!


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  • We live in the foothills of the Corning-Red Bluff, Ca. area and we are water conservatives living on a well for the past twenty years. We have an acre with natural oaks (approx 50) of varying sizes. some eucalyptus trees and privets, we planted as saplings, growing along the perimeter fence line that surrounds our property. Unfortunately no colorful bushes or grasses to add some flair. I’m happy to come across your site and will put into my ‘favorites’. If you could suggest inexpensive plants for our area I’d appreciate it. I receive disability benefits each month so I’m always strapped for cash, however, I am determined to address this issue. Thanks for your site.