Roger’s Recommends California Natives by James Maxwell

James received his formal training at the Welsh College of Horticulture in the United Kingdom. He has always had an interest in native flora and fauna, and is now our expert on California natives.

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Epilobium ‘Catalina’

(Catalina Fuchsia) – Soft long gray-green foliage adorn this densely branching flowering shrub. The red-tinted branches reach 3 to 4 feet tall are tipped with bright orange-red tubular flowers summer through fall. Best in full sun in a well-drained soil and, while drought tolerant, looks best with occasional to infrequent irrigation in summer.

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Arctostaphylos ‘Dr. Hurd’

(Dr. Hurd Manzanita) – An evergreen shrub to small tree that grows fairly rapidly to 12-15 feet tall and about as wide. Exhibits an open structure and beautiful dark mahogany red-barked branches that hold large light green leaves at their tips. Clusters of small white flowers dangle at the branch tips in late winter. Plant in full sun to light shade and irrigate occasionally to infrequently.

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Dudleya pulverulenta

(Chalk Liveforever) – A ground-hugging slowly-clumping succulent with beautiful 12 to 18 inch wide rosettes of chalky-white leaves. Stout silvery-white1 to 2 foot long spikes arch upwards and bear clusters of reddish flowers in late spring to early summer. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun along the coast, part sun in hotter inland locations.

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Heteromeles arbutifolia

(Toyon) – An evergreen shrub that typically grows into a dense plant, 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. It has gray bark, smooth when young that cracks with age holding serrated, leathery green leaves. Many small, white, mildly fragrant flowers bloom in summer that produce bright red pea sized berries in the winter. Plant in full sun to partial shade. The city of Hollywood gets its name from this plant – the first settlers thought it resembled English Holly from western Europe.

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Mimulus aurantiacus

(Sticky Monkey Flower) – This 3-4 foot perennial has evergreen sticky foliage, sporting 1” orange flowers that bloom heavily and constantly from late winter through early summer. Plant in full sun along the coast and partial shade inland. Water occationally to infrequently once established.

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Abutilon palmeri

(Indian Mallow) – A tough, dense, rounded, fast growing shrub that reaches 4 to 5 feet tall by as wide. Bears silvery soft velvety heart-shaped leaves and 1 inch wide cup shaped apricot colored flowers that bloom heavy in spring and summer. After the flower petals have dropped the fuzzy sepals remain with the developing fruit and can be used in dry flower arrangements. Plant in full sun or light shade in hot inland deserts in a well-draining soil with very little irrigation.

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Salvia ‘Allen Chickering’

(Sage) – A dense evergreen shrub that grows to 5 feet tall and about as wide. Foliage is gray-green, narrow and approximately 1 inch long. The 2 foot long flower spikes of deep lavender flowers form on a tier of whorls in late spring and summer. Looks best in full sun, well-draining soil and little summer watering. Once established it requires even less watering.

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Ceanothus ‘Yankee Point’

(California Lilac) – This fast-growing, durable groundcover reaches 2 to 3 feet tall and spreads 8 to 12 or more feet wide. Plants bear 1 1/2 inch long, glossy, dark green leaves and bright blue flower clusters in winter through early spring. Despite its coastal origins, ‘Yankee Point’ will grow inland in partial shade with no watering once established. Especially effective as a large-scale groundcover in coastal conditions.