Native plant interest list

There is a newer version of this list here.

The optimum time to plant California natives is now, and with that in mind I've been preparing my list of plant needs for the Payne Foundation fall sale. This blog post will be my scratch paper for that planning effort. There are some plants that I'd like to know a bit more about - those are listed here too.

  • Cercis occidentalis (Western redbud) - Great looking tree. I need another. Last year's petite 5 gallon bucket planting has tripled in height or more over the spring and summer; from a tiny twiggy looking thing to about 4' of graceful tree. Next summer it'll be over the fence. Status: Got one (small) from TPF. Planted it in a 15 gal container for this year. Plan to install in garden Fall of '08.
  • Betula occidentalis (sometimes identified as water birch, but no widely accepted common name) shrubby tree needs investigation
  • Fraxinus dipetala (Flowering Ash, no widely accepted common name) shrubby tree needs investigation

General Interest
Claytonia perfoliata mexicana (Miner's lettuce aka wild Purslane) - for my vegetable garden and to naturalize around the yard. Bad luck trying to germinate this. Perhaps need to scatter seed in fall, not late winter.

Salvia spathacea (Hummingbird sage) - ground cover. Easy grower. Got three. The one in dry inpenetrable shade with kid traffic died a horrible death. Two in full sun are OK in mid spring, but I'm concerned that they are too exposed for summer sun. We'll see.

Satureja douglasi (Yerba buena) - 6" scented groundcover. Makes a tea. Original name for San Francisco. Have some planted under citrus tree where it gets water and part sun. Doing ok as of May 08.

Wyethia (Mules' ears) - sun to partail shade. Heavy soil preferred. Slow (eve glacial) to initially establish and spread. Could go along fence in back. Still can't find any in the trade.

Aster chilensis (Coast aster) - SB. County north. Will stabilize hills.

The following California meadow plant list are some of those mentioned by by Bornstein, et. al. in their excellent book. I've winnowed down their list to these, which I think are all possibilities for my front yard meadow due to common naturally occurring range, water, sun and soil requirements. Also, many of these are short or, if not, then I'm thinking of using them in more limited ways. Last year I made the mistake of planting many annuals that grew to 3 or 4 feet: Too tall. *= I have this in my garden already.

Meadow perennial plants

  • *Achillea millefolium (yarrow) - I have a white flowering selection. Could be "Calistoga". Pink flowers are available. Mine get pinkish occasionally.
  • Carex pansa (meadow sedge) - use in meadow or bank stabilization
  • *Erigeron (seaside daisy) "Cape Sebastian" or "W.R." (Wayne Roderick) selections. Don't know what selection I have. Took a year to establish.
  • *Festuca rubra molate - red fescue grass
  • Fragraria chiloensis (beach strawberry) have some in N side yard doing well.
  • Grindelia stricta var. platyphylla (spreading gum plant) - yellow flowers in summer
  • Juncus patens (wire grass) - all cultivars. Avoid other juncus species as they seem to need more water. I have a Juncus mexicanus, which is not doing so very well.
  • Ranunculus californicus (California buttercup) - winter to spring blooms. V. low water
  • Sidalcea malviflora (checkerbloom) - 6-24" depending upon cultivar. Spring bloom. Mowable. Have two in meadow. Planted late in winter, so perhaps not completely established at this point (May 08)
  • *Sisyrinchium (blue eyed grass) - Got it. Trying to get it to naturalize in my yard. Will be successful next year due to success in transplanting it around the yard.

Meadow annual plants
  • Linathus parviflorus (stardust) - 3-8" tall, multicolored flowers.
  • Goldfields might have been a choice too, but not listed in the Bornstien book. They bloomed briefly last year at until spring's end.

Interesting fact: Lupinus microcarpus (and other Lupins) fix nitrogen in the soil. They are in the pea family.

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