Gardening with Native Plants - California Native Plant Society
California Native Plant Society is a statewide, nonprofit organization of amateurs and professionals with a common interest in learning about and preserving California native plants. Membership is open to all. The mission of CNPS is to increase understanding and appreciation of California’s native plants and to conserve them and their natural habitats through education, science, advocacy, horticulture, and land stewardship. CNPS 2707 K Street, Suite 1 Sacramento, CA 95816 916-447-2677 • fax 916-447-2727 Gardening with California www.cnps.orgMonarch butterfly on lilac verbena (Verbena lilacina) with sandhills agebrush (Artemisia pycnocephala) in background. Photo: Peigi Duvall Native Plants Photos: Cover: Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea). Photo: Toni Corelli • Background images: Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malvaeflora) and Varied-col- ored lupine (Lupinus variicolor). Photo: Toni Corelli • Below: Bush anemoneExplore the Variety (Carpenteria californica). Photo: Drew Ready.California’s unique geography has producedone of the world’s loveliest and most diversefloras. Large, white Matilija poppies, aromaticsages, a vine maple’s russet fall leaves, thecinnamon colored bark hanging on a Catalinaironwood—these are but a few examples of ournative flora’s beauty and richness. Introduce afew native plants into your existing garden, orgo totally native. Fall in love with the glorious California Native Plant Societydiversity of California’s native plants. Dedicated to the Preservation of California Native FloraWhy Garden With Native Plants? Lower MaintenanceWhile California’s native plants have graced In a garden environment, native plants Pink-flowering currant (Ribesgardens worldwide for over a century, few of do best with some attention and care, sanguineum var. glutinosumthe landscapes designed for but require less ‘Claremont’) and giant chain fernour state’s gardens reflect the water, fertilizer, (Woodwardia fimbriata) atnatural splendor for which pruning, less or Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.California is famous. By no pesticide, and Photo: Peigi Duvallgardening with native plants, less of your timeyou can bring the beauty to maintain thanof California into your do many commonown landscape while also garden plants.receiving numerous benefits. Invite Wildlife Native plants, hummingbirds, butterflies, and California wild lilac (Ceanothus impressus). Photo: Peigi Duvall other beneficial insects are “made for eachSave Water other.” Research shows that native wildlifeTake advantage of water- clearly prefers native plants. California’sconserving plants in your landscape. Once Reduce Pesticide wealth of insect pollinators can improveestablished, many California native plants Native plants fruit set in your garden, while a varietyneed minimal irrigation beyond normal have of native insects and birds willrainfall. Saving water conserves a vital, developed help keep your landscape free oflimited resource and saves money, too. their own mosquitoes and plant-eating bugs. defenses A beautiful mixed border of native sages, Encelia, and Clarkia at Golden West College Native Garden. Photo: Dan Songster against many Support Local Ecology pests and While creating native landscapes diseases. Since can never replace natural habitats lost most pesticides A restful spring garden with golden to development, planting gardens, parks, kill indiscriminately, poppies and native grasses at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. and roadsides with California native beneficial insects become Photo: Peigi Duvall plants can help provide an important secondary targets in bridge to nearby remaining wild areas. the fight against pests. Reducing or Recommend native plants to homeowner eliminating pesticide use lets natural associations, neighbors, and civic pest control take over and keeps garden departments. You can also get involved toxins out of our creeks and watersheds. with local land-use planning processes.
Where To Find Native Plants Going Native placing and caring for your new plants. FindPlaces to see native plants include national more information at native plant nurseries andforests, state parks, specialty nurseries, their websites.arboretums and botanic gardens, and With a little curiosity and research, you cannature preserves, as well as in books broaden your plant palette. Choose plantsand on websites. Several premier that flower through the seasons. Fill yourgardens open to the public garden with plants that display a riot ofare East Bay Regional Park colors, have deliciously aromatic leaves,District’s Botanic Garden, or attract specific wildlife. Plant aRancho Santa Ana Botanic themed landscape such as a rock gardenGarden, Santa Barbara or wildflower meadow. Discover nativesBotanic Garden, UC Berkeley that are deer- or fire-resistant.Botanic Garden, and UC Santa In every garden, the right environment New growth on a bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum). Photo:Toni CorelliCruz Arboretum. Due to growing Bluff lettuce (sun, soil, water, etc.) must be found or (Dudleya farinosa).demand, conventional nurseries and Photo: Carol Mattsson created for plants to thrive. It is easier 1–4 times per month. For a garden full of thrivinggarden centers are beginning to carry and advisable to select plants that suit the native plants, check plant-specific watering needsCalifornia native plants. If you don’t find the site rather than to modify the site from authoritative sources.plant you are looking for, ask for it by name. to suit the plants. Like all gardens, even established native landscapes require some Soil routine maintenance to Most native plants perform better look their best. without any fertilizer. Extra nutrients push plants to grow quickly, sometimes beyond naturally Growing supportable levels, and can shorten Conditions their life span. Mulching can be a Like all living things, valuable practice in low-maintenance native plants grow Growing together—young Califor- gardening. A layer of mulch slows nian with Farewell-to-Spring (Clarkia best under natural and amoena). Photo: Mark Bourne water evaporation, discourages weed familiar conditions, germination, and creates a favorable also known as biotic communities. environment at the soil interface for beneficial Common California plant biological bacteria. Adding organic matter to soil communities include northern may be necessary where development has left an and southern oak woodland, valley infertile top layer. grassland, chaparral, desert, coastal sageDouglas iris (Iris douglasiana), common horsetail (Equisetum arvense), and scrub and bluff, mixedwestern virgin’s bower (Clematis ligusticifolia). Photo: Drew Ready evergreen, and redwood forest. Choosing plants that are native to yourWhere To Buy Native Plants landscape’s community will help ensuren NPS chapter plant sales—links to local C their optimum health and performance. chapters are at www.cnps.org.n rboretums and botanic gardens A Plantingn ative plant nurseries—listed in books and on N Although most California natives can the Internet (e.g. www.cnps.org/horticulture). be planted at any time of year, it is best to put them in the ground during the fall and early winter. This gives themNo Wild Collecting, Please! time to establish a healthy root systemCollecting plants without a permit is illegal on and build the energy for new growthCalifornia public lands, and wild transplants and stunning floral displays in springoften have a poor survival rate. Your local A colorful Southern California garden featuring and summer.CNPS chapter or native plant nursery can also flowering shrubs such as flannelbush (Fremonto- Pruning dendron sp.) and island bush poppy (Dendromeconprovide information on hybridization of rare and harfordii). Photo: Barbara Eisenstein Watering While many non-nativeendangered species andpreserving gene Flowering bright green dudleya (Dudleya virens ssp. hassei) and bear Many native plants can garden plants are often grass (Nolina parryi ssp. wolfii) add texture and form to a vibrant native Silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons), Westernpool integrity. garden. Photo: David Fross survive with minimal pruned throughout redbud (Cercis occidentalis), and wild lilac (Ceanothus sp.). Photo: Chris Lewis supplemental water the year to keep up once they have become with their water- andGetting Started established (after two to five fertilizer-inducedVisit a native plant years). Proper watering can growth, for most nativesupplier. Your local present a challenge when plants pruning once perCNPS chapter is a first becoming acquainted year is sufficient. Checkgreat source for plant with native plants. Under- plant-specific pruningsuggestions. Many watering of young native tips from authoritativehave their own plant plants is a frequent cause of sources as plantsales where members death, while over-watering preferences vary. Giveare eager to share can cause root rot and kill them room to growtheir experience and more established species. by properly spacingknowledge. Make your Some native species them in your gardenselections, and then can maintain a healthy design. Crowded plantsfollow the supplier’s appearance for much of the need more frequentinstructions for year while being watered only pruning and care. n