Native Plants for the Garden in California

According to California Gardens.com there are about 4,839 native California plants. The state's native plants range from colorful spring wildflowers to desert plants. Gardening with native plants is beneficial because it matches plants to the soil. The soil isn't damaged from mixing additives for soil preparation and underground life is left alone. Native plants are generally easier to grow because they need less care and also attract native California birds.

California Monkey Flowers

California monkey flowers are so-named for their flowers, which resemble grinning monkeys. Usually, they're found growing in rocky areas with little moisture. A popular monkey flower is the Mimulus or Diplacus which is a native flower to the Agoura area. This monkey flower is normally found in washes or under oaks. It produces enormous flowers for a rather small plant and is generally found in the hottest areas.

California Poppy

The California poppy, the state emblem, is a small showy annual flower, although it can also perform as a perennial plant. It grows less than a foot tall and has blue or green leaves and orange, gold or white cup-shaped flowers. The flower can bloom as early as February and continues blooming throughout spring and summer.

California Redbud

The California redbud is a deciduous shrub that has magenta flowers. In the summer, its leafless stems are followed by heart-shaped blue or green leaves and crimson seedpods. In autumn, the foliage ranges from yellow to red. This native shrub is known for its longevity and being able to tolerate various soil types and drought conditions; it is resistant to oak root fungus. California gardeners enjoy this shrub for its ability to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. According tobBewaterwise.com, redbuds are found throughout California in foothills that are below 4,500 feet in elevation and in woodland communities.

Deer Grass

Deer grass is a warm season perennial that forms dense clumps from the base. The spike-like flower stalks grow 2 to 3 feet tall. A native California plant, deer grass is drought resistant. It is a fast growing plant that prefers sandy soil. The plant grows in dense clumps up to 4 feet high and produces thin purple or yellow flower spikes in autumn that are initially erect and then bend.

Chalk Dudleya

Chalk dudleya is a striking succulent that does best in containers. Although it requires little care and not much water, it does need well-drained soil and sunlight. It grows in size as new rosettes form. The plant has a reddish pink color in spring, summer and winter. Because this succulent is an evergreen plant, it doesn't shed its leaves.

Coast Live Oak

The coast live oak, an evergreen tree, grows as tall as 15 to 40 feet and 20 feet wide, according to Be Waterwise.com. This round-headed tree grows well anywhere from coastal regions to interior valleys. This native California tree is drought resistant and attracts butterflies to the garden.

Keywords: native california plants, native california gardening, native plants for california gardening

About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.