Plants for my native garden

Moving this up since I've given it some recent edits.

See also California native plant interest list II.

Just after the first good rain of the season is when thoughts turn to planting many of our native plants. November is when this usually happens, but if we don't have rain then applying water in an amount equal to our normal rainfall can help get the plants established - just be sure to pick cool times to water in order to prevent fungal growth, a death sentence for many of our native plants and one reason they don't often take summer water when mature.

This year I'd like to grow more native plants from seed. Fortunately, The Payne Foundation is putting seed on sale in October at its Fall Festival. Potted plant shoppers should arrive the week before the sale for best selection, but I'd be willing to bet that seed will be easy to find on the sale day.


Fall Festival is the first two Fridays and Saturdays in October. October 3 & 4, members receive a 15% discount on all one-gallon-and-up plants, and a 10% discount on seeds. October 10 & 11, members receive 15% off one-gallon-and-up plants, non- members receive 10% off, and everyone receives 10% off seeds.

Santa Susana tarplant, Tar Weed (Deinandra minthornii formerly Hemizonia minthornii) - needs dry conditions.
Showy Tarweed, Common Madia (madia elegans ssp densifolia) - maybe this is what I want? This is what I have in my previous list of plants, but now I'm not sure. That's the problem with using the common names to remember your plant wants and needs. :(
California Bush Sunflower (Encelia californica)
others from the aster family TBD such as
Hairy Golden Aster or Telegraph Weed (Heterotheca sessiliflora)
California beach aster (Lessingia filaginifolia) - Maybe for my brother's house?

Ornate Owl’s Clover (Castilleja exserta) - found naturally on the prairie in what used to be the area of my house.

Loco Weed, Angel’s trumpet, Devil’s weed (Datura wrightii)

Poppies, but I want the coastal form this time. Maybe I can get some from the Madrona folks.

Coastal Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa) were a hit in my One Pot At A Time project last year. I'll need to plant the seeds I harvested.

Whisker brush linanthus (Leptosiphon (new name) Linanthus (old name) ciliatus). This looks like a Dr. Seuss flower. Initially white flowers turning pink (after pollination?) I ought to have seeds from last year's One Pot project. I have called this a phlox earlier in the blog, but CalFlora doesn't support that common name. Yet another pitfall ni the common names.

Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) - If at first you don't succeed, try try again. I've wanted to grow this and let it naturalize in my yard for at least a year.

Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla)


Single leaf onion (Allium unifolium) This seemed to do well in the garden last year, but I only had 5 bulbs, and then the kids came and trampled them and then the raccoons came and dug up the area where the trampled plants were trying to go summer dormant. Hopefully the raccoons came in search of grubs, but maybe they were after the bulbs. Anyway, I should add more to the potential few that are left.

Blue Dicks, Wild Hyacinth (Dichelostemma capitatum capitatum). Takes widely varying soil conditions


Chaparral Bush Mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus) seems to be better situated to clay soils than the desert mallows.

Horse Mint (Agastache urticifolia) 'Summer Breeze' is the TPF-indexed one. Something that I can interplant with my Rosemary hedge around my vegetable garden. Gnaphalium planted last year hasn't been a real winner. Agastache looks like it will tolerate my vegetable garden conditions and it flowers in the summer. Not native to LA County, but is native to adjacent counties, according to CalFlora.

Milkweed (Asclepias ??) I ought to plant my milkweed out. I've had it in a pot for a couple years since I rescued it from the Cabrillo butterfly garden. Some milkweeds are aggressive growers and spreaders. This one might not even be a native - would it be so bad anyway? I don't have a record on this computer of what it might have been. It looks like chuck b's Asclepias curassavica, (look toward the bottom of his post) but I'm not sure of the species that I have. Incidentally, I get a lot of my garden inspiration from chuck b.

Narrow-leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) Hmm. I already have a milkweed, but don't know the species.

Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malviflora) The two plants that I bought look nearly dead, but perhaps they are just drought deciduous. Probably too much root competition and poor watering. So this would be a do-over.

Monkey Flower (Mimulus ??) Another Do-over. I killed off the Mimulus in my garden and the cuttings that I had grown from it. I suspect that the cuttings (still in pots, but doing well in the early summer) got too much water. I haven't run across a rule of thumb that tells me how to water potted California natives. On the one hand, the pots get REALLY dry with no water and the roots aren't able to scavenge like they would in the ground. On the other hand, some of these plants really like very little summer water. I've killed plants both by drowning and by dehydration.

Rose (Rosa californica) I need to find a home for this plant which has been living in a pot for about a year now. I may put it smack dab in my front yard to discourage small kids and animals.

Matilija poppies (Romneya coulteri)- These have been a success story for me; So successful that I need to rein in the spread of the poppies in my yard by digging some of the far flung sprouts up and transplanting them. Transplating was a surprise success last year, with the one I tried lasting in a pot until now (and presumably for another month or two until I can transplant it). I think that I applied wood ash from my fire pit to the soil to give it a chemical signal that it should grow vigorously.

Purple needle grass (Nasella pulchra) I've been enjoying the vigor of these plants in my garden (natch since I live one block away from a street called Prairie), their color and form, and the way that they move in the breeze. I'll bet I could grow more from their seed and they would look good massed in the upwind side of my garden.

Common Rush (Juncus patens) It might look good in my side yard along the fence. The neighbor seems to water his turf grass enough that it won't need supplemental water.

Ceanothus "Ray Hartmann" - I liked the way this was espaliered at one of the houses on the Payne Foundation Garden Tour. I could do the same...somewhere.

Symphoricarpos mollis (Creeping Snowberry) - The one I have is doing very well and I ought to add another one or two.

Woolly Blue Curls (Trichostema lanatum) - Dry I can handle, but also wants well-drained soil with no summer water once established. Do I feel lucky?


Holly Leaded Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia ssp. ilicifolia & lyonii) Likes rocky clay soil so suits my yard, but grows from 10' to 40 ' tall. Maybe I'll have a need for a tree life this.

Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis) - I transplanted last year's one gallon to a 5 gallon container, but it's not as happy as if it were in the ground. I need to get this planted near my bedroom French door.

Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) - For the Upper 40? Can get to 30 m (!) tall in ideal conditions according to Wikipedia. LasPilitas cites 25 m typical height (but they also give 25' which I have to believe is a typo).


  1. I know nothing about any of these plants, but I offer a bit of wisdom posted on Apartment Therapy:

    "When planning a garden bed: some spiky, some roundy, some floofy."

  2. Do you want my Collinsia heterophylla seeds? I'm not going to do that one again this year. It's too tall for my space.

  3. Hi Chuck -

    Thank you so much for your offer. I'd love your C. heterophylla seeds. But I'm not sure how to get in touch with you except through our respective blogs.

    My email is rot13 encoded in my Blogger profile page. Here it is again: oeragnzbetna@ubgznvy.pbz

    Rot13.com has the power to unlock my heavy duty encryption ;-)