California Native Plants

California Beavertail Cactus 

Opuntia basilaris 

Classic blue cactus from the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. Very low water, can handle high heat and winter cold if dry. Pink flowers. Loads of small glochids, very few spines. Will get 2 to 3 feet tall and spread 6 to 8 feet wide over time. Pads were used medicinally.

Temperature: Hardy to 0F if very dry

Fingertips

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Dudleya edulis
Fingertips

Clumping rosettes to 12″, green in shade, SoCal native

Hardy to 15F
Full Sun to Part Sun
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Butterfly Milkweed

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Asclepias tuberosa
Butterfly Milkweed
Native throughout the US
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Prefers Full Sun, Handles Light Shade
Water: Moderate, drought-tolerant
Size: 2 feet tall

Dies back in winter and re-sprouts from its underground tuber each spring. The brilliant orange or red flower clusters appear in midsummer followed by attractive green pods.

Ocotillo

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Fouquieria splendens in mid summer bloom!

From the Mojave and Colorado deserts; spiny stems. Hardy to 0F in very fast draining soil.

Indian Mallow

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Abutilon palmeri – Indian Mallow

California Native/Southwestern US
Evergreen desert shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 3 to 6 feet

Very heat-tolerant. Fuzzy gray leaves, orange poppy flowers. An astounding addition to any drought-tolerant or native-plant garden. Hardy to 25F.

California Native Flowers in Berkeley

Mimulus Georgie Orange

Mimulus “Georgie Tangerine” on 4th Street in Berkeley

I can’t actually confirm the ID of the cultivar, but I’m pretty sure. Embiggen the photo if you want to look a bit closer yourself and let me know what you think. Maybe it’s M. “Curious Orange”?

California Native Plants for the Garden

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It’s Gaura lindheimeri on the streets of Sydney. Australia!

Gaura lindheimeri – Appleblossom Grass
Native to California
Perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 2-3 feet

Wispy, upright perennial. The stalkless leaves and flowers grow directly on the stems. White flowers with a hint of pink bloom in the spring through fall. Cut back flower stalks for repeat bloom.

White Succulents

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Dudleya farinosa is normally a pretty green California native succulent, coastal northern California the  best more interesting about it. But the Noyo River form is white white white. This is also northern California Coastal, but almost all the way to Fort Bragg.

Giant Chalk Dudleya

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Dudleya brittonii
Baja California
 
18″ rosettes on single stems with chalky leaves. Looks best if dry through the summer months – avoid overhead watering.
 
Hardy to 20F 
Full Sun to Part Sun
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Monkeyflower

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Mimulus “Jelly Bean Terra Cotta”
 
California Hybrid
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Low
Size: Shrub to 2ft.

Deep reddish-orange flowers will bloom year round.  Deer resistant.  Hardy to about 20°F.

Sticky Monkeyflower

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Mimulus aurantiacus
 
California Native
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Low
Size: Shrub to 3ft.

Commonly found growing wild on California hillsides. Orange flowers appear sporadically throughout the year. Much more drought tolerant than other mimulus. Deer resistant. Hardy to 25°F.

Flannel Bush

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Fremontodendron “Ken Taylor” – Flannel Bush
Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Summer-drought
Size: 6’ t. x 10’w.

Perfect for sunny dry areas. Blooms spring and summer – golden yellow/orange. Rich mass of thick thick green leaves.

 

Palmer's Bush Mallow

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Malacothamnus palmeri

California Native
Evergreen Shrub

Sun: Full to Part Sun
Water: Low once established
Size: Bushy, erect stems to 6 feet

Vibrant green foliage year-round gives to small bright pink flowers throughout the summer. Coastal native (Big Sur Area). Butterfly plant. Hardy to 10F.

 

Apricot Monkeyflower

mimulus_esselen_apricot_monkeyflower

Mimulus “Esselen” – Santa Lucia Monkeyflower

California Native
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Low
Size: 2ft.

Compact shrub with glossy green leaves and bright orange flowers in spring and summer. Great for coastal gardens. Attracts hummingbirds and is a host plant for the Checkerspot butterfly. Deer resistant. Hardy to 20F.

California Succulents

The Dudleyas are always a crowd-pleaser, what with the small chalky leaves and green leaves and long bloom spikes with pale small flowers too.

dudleya_anomala

Dudleya anomala is our newest member of the California native Sea-Lettuce family. I wonder how it got a strange name like that? This one is pretty reliably green and doesn’t get too red in sun. Where in California is it from? Why its from Baja California.

Tight clusters of green rosettes with slightly red tips in full sun. White flowers on long bloom stalks.

  • Hardy to 25F
  • Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Cactus Soil
  • Low Water
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Dudleya brittonii is the classic Giant Chalk Dudleya, also from Baja California.

18″ rosettes on single stems with chalky leaves. Looks best if dry through the summer months – avoid overhead watering.

  • Hardy to 20F
  • Full Sun to Part Sun
  • Cactus Soil
  • Low Water
dudleya_farinosa6

Finally we have the very red Dudleya farinosa – Sea Lettuce, our own Northern California coastal succulent.

  • Hardy to 20F
  • Full Sun to Part Sun
  • Cactus Soil
  • Low Water

Sunrise Yarrow

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Achillea millefolium “Sunrise” – Yarrow

Hybrid from California Native
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: Fern-like foliage to 2ft.

Golden yellow flowers with a touch of pink in Spring/Summer. Remove spent flowers for a late summer rebloom. Cut flowers last a long time, look great dried. Attracts Butterflies. Hardy to below 0°F.

Western Redbud

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Cercis occidentalis
Western Redbud

Southwestern US/California Native
Evergreen tree

Sun: Full to Partial
Water: Winter rain, summer drought
Size: 20ft.

Careful not to disturb roots when transplanting. Magenta flowers in Spring. From rocky soils at foothills. Bright green kidney-shaped leaves.

Dudleya Questions

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Dudleya brittonii, the Giant Chalk Dudleya from Baja California. Now don’t argue with me here – I have an answer for any objections you might have to my answer below.

Q: How do you differentiate between a dudleya and a echeveria?

Mary
(via Instagram)

Mary-

They are very closely related! But Dudleyas are California native and summer dormant, while Echeverias are Mexican and winter dormant. Also Echeveria flowers are more brightly colored.

Peter

Pt. Reyes Succulents

Rikki and Jordan went hiking yesterday and found some very photogenic succulents.

Dudleya farinosa Pt Reyes

Dudleya farinosa is the most common of the local native Sea Lettuces. Still, the plants are small and often found in rocky crevices, so look for them!

Dudleya farinosa

Thanks Rikki!

 

Blue and White

California Lilacs are not just lilac color. First for comparison we have a lilac colored Ceanothus.

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Ceanothus “Vandenberg”
Santa Barbara Ceanothus
Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 5ft. x 5ft.
Small dark green leaves, compact clusters of dark blue flowers in late winter. Deer resistant. Hardy to 15F.

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Ceanothus “Snow Flurry” is the white flowered one.
White Wild Lilac
Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low, some in summer
Size: 12 max.

Provides seeds that native birds thrive on. Huge sprays of brilliant white flowers in spring. Rich green leaves. Perfect for Bay Area gardens – drought-tolerant, easy to grow.

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Ceanothus “Ray Hartman” is too blue for my eyes.
Mountain Lilac
Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 20’max.

Light blue flowers, dark green leaves. Fast-growing, completely drought-tolerant. Cold and heat hardy. Do not irrigate.

Holly Leaf Ceanothus

Ceanothus Emily Brown

Ceanothus “Emily Brown” is always the most popular of the Holly Leaf Lilacs. And the Holly Leaf Lilacs are always very popular because they are so very deer resistant. As deer resistant as a Euphorbia? No! Not quite that deer resistant, but resistant enough. You can really see how sharp-edged those leaves are. That’s a lot of resistance.

Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Moderate to Full Sun
Water: Drought tolerant
Size: 2ft. to 3ft. tall

Low-spreading shrub with rich dark green leaves, dark blue blooms in spring. Edible seeds are favored by native birds. Deer-resistant, cold-hardy, doesn’t like temps over 100F.

 

Popular California Sages

Well actually just one popular California Sage, a useful and pretty sage, a Lavender Sage.

How useful? You can use the dried leaves for cooking or for tea, or you could leave the whole plant in place in your garden and have a pretty and fragrant garden plant. Or all three! It’s that popular.

Salvia Allen Chickering

Salvia “Allen Chickering”
Lavender Sage

California Native
Evergreen perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 4 to 6 ft.

Fragrant leaves make a nice tea. Lavender flower whorls make this a Bay Area garden favorite. Deer resistant, attracts butterflies, fragrant flowers. Hardy to 20.

Otay Mountain Lotus

Lotus crassifolius otayensis

Lotus crassifolius v. otayensis

Native to California
Herbaceous perennial

Sun: Moderate to Full
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: 3 feet

Furry grey upright stems, clusters of purple and white pea-sized flowers in spring, grey-green oblong leaves.

California Lilac

Ceanothus Joyce Coulter

Ceanothus “Joyce Coulter”
Creeping Mountain Lilac

Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Moderate to Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 2′ to 3′ tall x 6′ wide

Fast growing, mounding shrub with dark green leaves. Medium blue flower clusters in late spring. Full sun in coastal gardens. Hardy to 15 F

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