Want to update your garden with drought-friendly plants? Perhaps you want some California natives that will make garden maintenance easier for you. Here’s a list of our favorite drought-tolerant plants that will thrive in the Bay Area on very little water (and work).
With while flower clusters and feather-like leaves, yarrow is a lovely addition to any garden. You may also find pink and yellow flowers. Named after Achilles, (botanical name: Achillea millefolium), yarrow was used to heal wounds on the battle field.
- Blue-eyed Grass
This beauty has vibrant blue flowers and small, iris-like leaves. Though not actually a grass, she is part of the iris family and only grows up to 1 foot tall. She handles competition in the garden well and spreads via underground rhizomes. Want to attract bees? Plant some of these.
- California Fuchsia Epilobium
A hummingbird and butterfly favorite, it’s tubular flowers range from white, pink, orange to red. When many natives go dormant in the summer, she is in full bloom! Epilobium will happily grow in most California gardens without any additional water.
- Yerba Buena
A creeping ground cover spreading up to 3 feet, it produces tiny white flowers. It smells great and makes a wonderful minty tea.
Producing beautiful flower clusters, milkweed is a butterfly host plant, so if you want to attract monarchs to your garden, these are a great drought-tolerant option.
Manzanitas can grow up to twenty feet tall and are known for their smooth red or mahogany bark. Their flowers resemble urns and can be white to pink in color. Manzanitas look great year round and stay healthy and vibrant even in the hottest months.
Also known as ‘California lilac’, Ceanothus’ are incredibly fragrant, colorful shrubs. Their flowers are primarily blue and come in a wide variety of shades. They are evergreen, very drought tolerant and make a great hedge. Deer love them, too.
- Monkey flower
Evergreen shrubs ~4 feet tall with prolific orange-yellow flowers in spring and summer. A California native that attracts hummingbirds, it supposedly gets its name because flowers looks like a smiling monkey (we can’t see it – can you?)
- White sage
The leaves of this sage start out wrinkly and grey-green, then turn in to a beautiful, smooth white. It doesn’t need any extra water after it’s first year. The dried leaves have been used in the Native American culture (and more broadly in recent years), burned in ceremony as a smudge.
While the plant may be spiny, the tasty berries it produces will more than make up for it. Both you and the birds will love them. Trespassers, not so much.
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