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.
Common name | Santa Barbara Ceanothus
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.
Common name | Golden Yarrow
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.
Common name | Scarlet Bugler
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.
Common name | Deergrass
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
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.
Common name | Rockrose
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.
Common name | Sticky Monkey
This showy perennial has abundant apricot colored blossoms that will attract hummingbirds. Occasional summer watering will extend the blooming season. Drought tolerant.
Common name | California Fuschia
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.
Common name | Seaside Daisy
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.
Common name | California Poppy
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.
Common name | California Flannelbush
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.
Common name | Bigberry Manzanita
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.
Common name | Bush Anemone
This California native shrub displays dark green foliage highlighted by 3” single-petaled fragrant white flowers with golden stamens.
Common name | Matilija Poppy
An extremely hardy perennial that’s slow to start. Once established, produces amazing “fried egg” blossoms. Spreads by underground runners.
Common name | California Buckwheat
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!