Blue and White

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


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.


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.


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

Moonshine Yarrow

Achillea Moonshine

Achillea “Moonshine”
Golden Yarrow
Cultivated variety, including a California Native species
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: Fern-like foliage to 36″

A rich yellow bloom Spring/Summer that fades as it ages. Remove spent flowers for a late summer rebloom.

Flowering Currant

Ribes Dancing Tassels

Ribes “Dancing Tassels”
Chaparral Currant
California Native
Deciduous shrub

Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Occasional
Size: 6 ft.

Winter blooming hummingbird plant. Spectacular pendant rose flower clusters. Woody branches have peeling red bark as they age. Hardy to 25F.

Blooming Succulents

Lewisia cotyledon

Normally the California Native Lewisia cotyledons bloom in spring and summer, but we do always have a few that will bloom at other times of the year, like now.

In fact, we find that as these plants mature they can bloom up to 6 times per year! That’s a lot of blooms. You just have to dead-head them to prevent them from going to seed in case they were pollinated. If they go to seed then they are done blooming for the year.

Lewisia Alba

Bonus picture of an Owl after the break… Read More…

Candy Cane Morning Glory

calystegia candy cane

First we have a profile shot of the very attractive flower of the:

Calystegia macrostegia “Candy Cane” – California Morning Glory

California Native
Herbaceous Perennial Vine

Sun: Full Sun near coast, Afternoon Shade inland
Water: Moderate, deciduous in summer if dry
Size: Twining Vines

Long lasting colorful blooms for a good part of the year. Great for climbing on fences. Keep watered through the summer to keep green.

And then we have a head-on shot too.

calystegia candy cane2

If you click the link above you can see another picture with both a head-on and a profile shot, togethewr in one amazing picture. Calystegia macrostegia California Morning Glory

Flannel Bush


Fremontodendron “California Glory”
Flannel Bush
California hybrid
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Summer-drought
Size: 15ft. to 20ft. max.

Unbelievable spray of yellow flowers in Spring. Rounded shrub with dark green lobed leaves. Saucer-shaped buttercup yellow give an unbelievable showing in spring. Will espalier well. Hardy to 20F.

Variegated Tufted Hair Grass

Is it time to plant California Native grasses? It may be a couple weeks early, but if you are willing to water them in until the rains really do start up then sure! Go ahead! Planting in October is ideal.


Deschampsia “Northern Lights
Native to US, Europe, Asia
Evergreen Grass

Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Moderate
Size: Clumps to 12 inch tall

A dramatic variegated selection. So many colors. Thin slightly arching tapered blades in a tight clump.

Late Summer Cactus Blooms

The California desert can come alive with cactus flowers late in the summer when the rain is just right.

The nipple cactus blooms in response to summer rains in the deserts of California. James Cornett/Special to The Desert Sun

Recently, I was hiking over a remote desert mountain range in eastern Riverside County. I was looking for one of California’s rarest species of cactus, Graham’s nipple cactus, Mammillaria grahamii. To find it one doesn’t actually look for the cactus but rather its flower. This is the state’s only cactus species that predictably blooms in response to summer rains and it has rained a lot this summer in the deserts of California.

Read on for the tale of California’s three Mammillaria species.

Butterfly Milkweed


It’s the beautiful Asclepias tuberosa.

Butterfly Milkweed
Native throughout the US, including California
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.

See Inside the Cactus Jungle

Did you know that Google stopped by and photographed the inside of the nursery and you can see the result of that here on Google See Inside?


Now it is true that this happened 3 years ago so the nursery looks very different now. In a good way! But still, you get a pretty good idea from the googles.

Now we have a question about a plant someone saw on our google page.

Hi cactus jungle!

I was being a creep and looking at the google maps street view of your store when I saw a plant I fell in love with immediately! It’s the one to the right of the bamboo in that picture, to the left of the white arrow. Looks like a little tree with bright green neon leaves. What is that thing and how can I get one I must have it!


Anyway, thanks for having such a great blog I love it!

– Mary


That is a Manzanita (Arctostaphylos). We do have lots in stock. That one was potted into a terra cotta pot and trimmed up to look like a bonsai. I’m not sure exactly which species since the photos for Google’s See Inside were taken over 3 years ago.



California Buttercup

My god these are some darling little flowers. Buttercups! Buttercups for everyone!

ranunculus californicus

Ranunculus californicus
California Buttercup

California Native
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full to Partial Sun
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: 2 feet

Sprawling perennial. Common to chapparal and woodlands. Grows well in clay soils. Semi-deciduous in summer. Hardy to 10F.

My eyes are hurting from the cuteness of the Buttercup flowers.

California Bush Island Poppy


Dendromecon harfordii – Island Bush Poppy
California Native
Perennial Shrub

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

Moderately-fast growing, evergreen poppy native to the Channel Islands.  Bright yellow, 3″ flowers in spring and summer.  Low water once established.  Hardy to 20F.

Coreopsis Question

Hi Peter,
I just had my Dr. Seuss repotted, and he doesn’t look so great. I chopped back all his dead hair, he was quite lush before, but had out grown his pot. He’s about 5.5 feet tall from base of trunk. We potted him in a sandy mix of soil. He has gotten all this new growth, and the flowers since he was potted. I’m not sure how much water he needs, in old pot he was doing good with twice a week. Also, do you know his technical name? Can’t seem to find anything about him online.

coreopsis gigantea

Also, he’s getting a couple extra hours of sun each day in the new location. More afternoon sun than before.


It is a Coreopsis gigantea. It’s a California native from the Channel Islands and the coastal cliffs of SoCal, so it is a winter grower and goes dormant in the summer, often loosing most of it’s leaves. In your large pot I would recommend watering well once every week or two and letting it dry out well before re-watering. Being a summer dormant plant too much water in the summer can cause rot and disease issues. It should perk up and take off this fall and look great again by Thanksgiving.


White Sea Thrift


Armeria maritima “Alba”
California Native
Groundcover Perennial

Sun: Full/Partial Sun
Water: Low
Size: 10-12″

Prefers coastal, sunny location or partial sun inland, but can handle most conditions. Fully drought-tolerant only at coast. White pom-poms will reach up 12″. Can handle sandy soils or clay. Hardy to below 0F.


We seem to be selling a bunch of perennial daisies around here at the cactus store this year.

And I’m not even mentioning all the Cape Daisies. Here too. Even more Cape Daisies!

How did a cactus store come to sell so many daisies, you may ask? I tells you there’s a reason for it. It may have to do with the fact that they are often low water and easy to grow here in Berkeley and perennial so they come back every year and rebloom – no need to plant new flowers every spring. Or it may have to do with the fact that cactus flowers only last a few days and people like longer lasting flowers to fit between their occasional ly flowering cactuses too.

Or maybe they just like them.

Did I mention they’re all in the Asteraceae (Aster) Family? Also known as the Sunflower Family? And they all have disk flowers?

asteriscus maritimus

Asteriscus maritimus is a Canary Islands native known as the Gold Coin Daisy.

Aster frikartii Monch

Aster frikartii “Monch” is a hardy Aster hybrid. Lovely colors.


Erigeron glaucus is the classic favorite California Coastal Seaside Daisy.


Erigeron glaucus “W.R.” is a smaller more lavender cultivar. That disk has a lot of colors in it right now.

leucanthemum aglaia

Leucanthemum “Aglaia” is a frilled Shasta Daisy. Large flowers on tall stalks.

So now you know why a cactus nursery has daisy flowers.


There are a lot of different colors of Monkeyflowers, i.e. the Mimuluses are running rampant.

California wildflowers for everyone!


Mimulus “Apricot” I assume so named for the apricot color of the flowers, and not for the apricot taste of the fruit. But then what do I know.

Mimulus Pamela

Mimulus “Pamela” is named for someone I assume who came to the party with the name of Pamela. So says I. Oh, and Pamela is Vietnamese for Yellow.

Mimulus Valentine

Mimulus “Valentine” is obviously named for the Valentine region of Spain where they grow the cherry red lipstick colors so often favored on Valentine’s Day.

Mimulus Curious Orange

Mimulus “Curious Orange” is probably named after Curious George, the famous British Monkey-Boy. A lot of Mimuluses are named Georgie-something and Iassume that is trademarked so these next propagators of Orange Monkeyflowers took the Curious part of the name instead.

Monkeyflowers for everyone!

California Poppy

More bright and colorful California Poppies, Eschscholzia californica.

Orange King

“Orange King”

Thai Silk Fire

“Thai Silk Fire”

Red Chief

And my favorite, “Red Chief”

Mixed Monkey Flowers


There are three different Mimulus Hybrids in this photo. Don’t you wish you could plant three different hybrid Monkey Flowers in your garden? You can! We now carry a varied selection of 4″ mixed Monkey Flowers, i.e. Mimulus Hybrids.

This is kind of a lazy post for a Sunday. I should probably say something about these particular plants. Instead I will leave you with this link. Links take work, too, you know! Admittedly not a lot of work, especially that link, which is a lazy link, but not so lazy that I didn’t provide it for you to enjoy. To the zoo!

Hairy Goldenaster


Heterotheca villosa

California Native
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 1ft

Low growing native perennial with grey-green leaves and hairy stems. Bright yellow flowers in summer. Makes a great groundcover for dry areas! Hardy to below 0F.

Bush Mallow


Malacothamnus fremontii

California Native
Evergreen Shrub

Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Low once established
Size: Bushy, erect stems 4 ft. to 6 ft.

The butterflies flock to the small silvery pink flowers that cover the plant throughout the summer. Good for hedges and along fences. Hardy to 10°F.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get back to posting some cactus and some succulents on this here so-called Cactus Blog. Who knows!

California Lotus

Lotus crassifolius v. otayensis is the California native lotus that comes from Otay Mountain.


Lotus crassifolius var. otayensis
Otay Mountain Lotus

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. Endemic to California.

They sure do look like pea flowers. I wonder if this is in the pea family?

It is! It is in the Pea Family – Fabaceae.

Did I forget to mention that Otay Mtn. is in San Diego County? Sounds like a desert down there.

California Native Plants in Bloom

Did you know that there were plants in bloom this weekend? Maybe you thought they would all wilt in this heat, but No! Beautiful flowers popping up all over! And not just from the cactus. Although, especially from the cactus this weekend. Cactus flowers like the heat. But wait, this isn’t a post about cactus flowers. This is a post about California Native Perennials. Wildflowers! First up…. Fleabane!

Erigeron glaucus

Erigeron glaucus
Seaside Daisy, Fleabane

N. California Coastal Natuve
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Sun
Water: Moderate
Size: 6-12″
Clay tolerant, found on clay coastal bluffs. A great butterfly plant, mixes well with coastal sages and monkey flowers. Lavender flowers spring through summer when it could use a little extra water. Hardy to 20F.

Salvia Winifred Gilman

Salvia “Winifred Gilman”
Musk Sage

California Native
Evergreen perennial/shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 3 to 4 ft.

Fragrant grey-green leaves. Strongly fragrant whorls of lavender blue flowers. Deer resistant, attracts butterflies. Hardy to 10F.

February 2024

US Constitution


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