Located East of the 405 Freeway in Orange County, between Irvine and Los Angeles, Westminster, California is in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone 10, where winter temperatures may drop to 30 degrees F, but summers are warm and dry. Many colorful flowers thrive in this climate. Westminster and the surrounding area is Southern California's best climate for avocados.
Flowers dot the landscape, and range from blooms on shrubs like gardenias or oleanders to seasonal California poppies.
Fragrant and delicate, Freesia (Freesia) is native to South Africa and is used in perfume, soaps and body washes. Freesia flowers are tubular and up to 2 inches long. The most fragrant blooms are whites and yellows, though the plant is available in Dutch and Tecolote hybrids with blue, orange, pink, purple or red flowers.
Freesia thrives in Westminister's climate and may bloom twice a year, once in spring and again in fall. These plants do well in full sun to part shade and require regular water during blooming season.
Westminister's mild climate is perfect for Gardenias (Gardenia), which perform best when daytime temperatures are between 68 and 72 degrees. These evergreen shrubs are available is several varieties, including the G. jasminoides, which are native to China and produce double-blooms and the G. thunbergia, which is native to South Africa, and has dark green foliage and tubular flowers. The G. thunbergia is more tolerant of bad soil.
Gardenias, which can grow to 15 feet, may be planted in full sun to part shade in Westminister, though perform better in full sun. Shrubs should be planted in well-draining soil, need regular fertilization and regular water.
Oleander (Nerium oleander) do double-duty, producing a profusion of colorful blooms in spring, but also growing tall enough to offer privacy. These evergreen shrubs are prolific in warmer climates, including Westminster, and may grow to 12 feet. Oleander has long narrow leaves that are dark green, and blooms, which are clustered, range in color from pinks to reds to yellows.
Oleander thrive in direct sun and like lots of heat. Once established, they need little water or other attention, though they should be pruned in early spring. All parts of the oleander are poisonous if eaten.
The California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is ubiquitous throughout California, where it is the state flower. It grows wild along hillsides and in fields, and thrives in home landscapes. The plants grow to 24 inches and have lacy, blue-green leaves as well as delicate, four-petaled flowers in creams, oranges, reds, white and yellows. Orange is the most well-known color. Some varieties, including "Double Ballerina" and "Mission Bell" have semi-double blooms.
In Westminster's climate, California poppies are perennials and will bloom annually from April to August. Poppies should be planted in full sun and after germination, require little water.