California natives in UCD plant trial

Field trials identify more native plants suited to urban landscaping
S. Karrie Reid, University of California, Davis
Lorence R. Oki, University of California, Davis

"...Ten unused or underused California native plants were screened in open-field conditions for low water tolerance during summer 2006. In all cases, there were no significant differences in the summer growth or physical appearance between four irrigation levels. Six species maintained a favorable appearance throughout the season and were advanced to demonstration gardens in seven climate zones throughout the state, where Master Gardeners are performing further assessments on their performance...."

link to complete abstract

link to paper

Without further ado, here's the list of native plant winners and losers.

(Maybe it's just me, but that sounds humorous.)

LOSER! Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa) Evergreen woody perennial Eliminated: untidy appearance and free-seeding

LOSER! California beach aster (Lessingia filaginifolia)Herbaceous evergreen groundcover Eliminated: froze in winter 2005

WINNER! California lilac ‘Valley Violet’ (Ceanothus maritimus)Evergreen woody perennial

LOSER! Coast gum plant (Grindelia stricta) Low-growing herbaceous perennial. Eliminated: died in heat or froze in winter 2005

LOSER! Creeping sage (Salvia sonomensis) Herbaceous ground cover Eliminated: rotted in spring transplant 2005 or froze in winter 2005

WINNER!! Eyelash grass or blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) Warm-season bunch grass. Advanced

WINNER! Serpentine columbine (Aquilegia eximia) Evergreen herbaceous perennial. Advanced

WINNER! Rosy coral bells (Heuchera rosada) Evergreen herbaceous perennial. Advanced

WINNER San Diego sedge (Carex spissa) Sedge Advanced

LOSER Seaside daisy (Erigeron ‘Wayne Roderick’) Low-growing herbaceous perennial. Eliminated: froze in winter 2005

I have (loser) Erigeron 'Wayne Roderick' and (winner) Bouteloua gracilis in my garden. I'm more impressed with the Erigeron after 1.5 to 2 years.

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