California Native Plants


California Native Plants30 Sep 2013 12:01 pm

The California desert can come alive with cactus flowers late in the summer when the rain is just right.

The nipple cactus blooms in response to summer rains in the deserts of California. James Cornett/Special to The Desert Sun

Recently, I was hiking over a remote desert mountain range in eastern Riverside County. I was looking for one of California’s rarest species of cactus, Graham’s nipple cactus, Mammillaria grahamii. To find it one doesn’t actually look for the cactus but rather its flower. This is the state’s only cactus species that predictably blooms in response to summer rains and it has rained a lot this summer in the deserts of California.

Read on for the tale of California’s three Mammillaria species.

California Native Plants09 Sep 2013 07:26 am

image

It’s the beautiful Asclepias tuberosa.

Butterfly Milkweed
Native throughout the US, including California
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Prefers Full Sun, Handles Light Shade
Water: Moderate, drought-tolerant
Size: 2 feet tall

Dies back in winter and re-sprouts from its underground tuber each spring. The brilliant orange or red flower clusters appear in midsummer followed by attractive green pods.

California Native Plants&Nursery&Questions30 Aug 2013 12:14 pm

Did you know that Google stopped by and photographed the inside of the nursery and you can see the result of that here on Google See Inside?

Nice!

Now it is true that this happened 3 years ago so the nursery looks very different now. In a good way! But still, you get a pretty good idea from the googles.

Now we have a question about a plant someone saw on our google page.

Hi cactus jungle!

I was being a creep and looking at the google maps street view of your store when I saw a plant I fell in love with immediately! It’s the one to the right of the bamboo in that picture, to the left of the white arrow. Looks like a little tree with bright green neon leaves. What is that thing and how can I get one I must have it!

streetview

Anyway, thanks for having such a great blog I love it!

- Mary

Mary,

That is a Manzanita (Arctostaphylos). We do have lots in stock. That one was potted into a terra cotta pot and trimmed up to look like a bonsai. I’m not sure exactly which species since the photos for Google’s See Inside were taken over 3 years ago.

 

Peter

California Native Plants26 Aug 2013 09:26 am

My god these are some darling little flowers. Buttercups! Buttercups for everyone!

ranunculus californicus

Ranunculus californicus
California Buttercup

California Native
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full to Partial Sun
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: 2 feet

Sprawling perennial. Common to chapparal and woodlands. Grows well in clay soils. Semi-deciduous in summer. Hardy to 10F.

My eyes are hurting from the cuteness of the Buttercup flowers.

California Native Plants22 Aug 2013 06:34 am

dendromecon_harfordii_island_bush_poppy

Dendromecon harfordii – Island Bush Poppy
California Native
Perennial Shrub

Sun: Full to Part Sun
Water: Low
Size: 6 feet

Moderately-fast growing, evergreen poppy native to the Channel Islands.  Bright yellow, 3″ flowers in spring and summer.  Low water once established.  Hardy to 20F.

California Native Plants&Questions19 Aug 2013 09:40 am

Hi Peter,
I just had my Dr. Seuss repotted, and he doesn’t look so great. I chopped back all his dead hair, he was quite lush before, but had out grown his pot. He’s about 5.5 feet tall from base of trunk. We potted him in a sandy mix of soil. He has gotten all this new growth, and the flowers since he was potted. I’m not sure how much water he needs, in old pot he was doing good with twice a week. Also, do you know his technical name? Can’t seem to find anything about him online.

coreopsis gigantea

Also, he’s getting a couple extra hours of sun each day in the new location. More afternoon sun than before.

Thanks!
Barbra

Barbra,
It is a Coreopsis gigantea. It’s a California native from the Channel Islands and the coastal cliffs of SoCal, so it is a winter grower and goes dormant in the summer, often loosing most of it’s leaves. In your large pot I would recommend watering well once every week or two and letting it dry out well before re-watering. Being a summer dormant plant too much water in the summer can cause rot and disease issues. It should perk up and take off this fall and look great again by Thanksgiving.

Peter

California Native Plants16 Aug 2013 06:54 am

armeria_maritima_alba

Armeria maritima “Alba”
California Native
Groundcover Perennial

Sun: Full/Partial Sun
Water: Low
Size: 10-12″

Prefers coastal, sunny location or partial sun inland, but can handle most conditions. Fully drought-tolerant only at coast. White pom-poms will reach up 12″. Can handle sandy soils or clay. Hardy to below 0F.

California Native Plants&Oakland17 Jul 2013 11:53 am

image

Dudleya brittonii surrounded by a sea of Othonna capensis in bloom.

California Native Plants&Photography&Plants15 Jul 2013 04:07 pm

We seem to be selling a bunch of perennial daisies around here at the cactus store this year.

And I’m not even mentioning all the Cape Daisies. Here too. Even more Cape Daisies!

How did a cactus store come to sell so many daisies, you may ask? I tells you there’s a reason for it. It may have to do with the fact that they are often low water and easy to grow here in Berkeley and perennial so they come back every year and rebloom – no need to plant new flowers every spring. Or it may have to do with the fact that cactus flowers only last a few days and people like longer lasting flowers to fit between their occasional ly flowering cactuses too.

Or maybe they just like them.

Did I mention they’re all in the Asteraceae (Aster) Family? Also known as the Sunflower Family? And they all have disk flowers?

asteriscus maritimus

Asteriscus maritimus is a Canary Islands native known as the Gold Coin Daisy.

Aster frikartii Monch

Aster frikartii “Monch” is a hardy Aster hybrid. Lovely colors.

erigeron_glaucus

Erigeron glaucus is the classic favorite California Coastal Seaside Daisy.

erigeron_wr

Erigeron glaucus “W.R.” is a smaller more lavender cultivar. That disk has a lot of colors in it right now.

leucanthemum aglaia

Leucanthemum “Aglaia” is a frilled Shasta Daisy. Large flowers on tall stalks.

So now you know why a cactus nursery has daisy flowers.

California Native Plants14 Jul 2013 12:14 pm

There are a lot of different colors of Monkeyflowers, i.e. the Mimuluses are running rampant.

California wildflowers for everyone!

mimulus_apricot

Mimulus “Apricot” I assume so named for the apricot color of the flowers, and not for the apricot taste of the fruit. But then what do I know.

Mimulus Pamela

Mimulus “Pamela” is named for someone I assume who came to the party with the name of Pamela. So says I. Oh, and Pamela is Vietnamese for Yellow.

Mimulus Valentine

Mimulus “Valentine” is obviously named for the Valentine region of Spain where they grow the cherry red lipstick colors so often favored on Valentine’s Day.

Mimulus Curious Orange

Mimulus “Curious Orange” is probably named after Curious George, the famous British Monkey-Boy. A lot of Mimuluses are named Georgie-something and Iassume that is trademarked so these next propagators of Orange Monkeyflowers took the Curious part of the name instead.

Monkeyflowers for everyone!

California Native Plants09 Jul 2013 09:55 am

More bright and colorful California Poppies, Eschscholzia californica.

Orange King

“Orange King”

Thai Silk Fire

“Thai Silk Fire”

Red Chief

And my favorite, “Red Chief”

California Native Plants07 Jul 2013 07:33 am

Mimulus

There are three different Mimulus Hybrids in this photo. Don’t you wish you could plant three different hybrid Monkey Flowers in your garden? You can! We now carry a varied selection of 4″ mixed Monkey Flowers, i.e. Mimulus Hybrids.

This is kind of a lazy post for a Sunday. I should probably say something about these particular plants. Instead I will leave you with this link. Links take work, too, you know! Admittedly not a lot of work, especially that link, which is a lazy link, but not so lazy that I didn’t provide it for you to enjoy. To the zoo!

California Native Plants01 Jul 2013 08:32 am

heterotheca_villosa

Heterotheca villosa

California Native
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 1ft

Low growing native perennial with grey-green leaves and hairy stems. Bright yellow flowers in summer. Makes a great groundcover for dry areas! Hardy to below 0F.

Berkeley Gardens&California Native Plants29 Jun 2013 07:53 am

image

Cylindropuntia prolifera in bud.

image

And a fancy photo of the rose-like bloom against a b/w background of cholla stems. (edited in Aviary).

California Native Plants18 Jun 2013 10:46 am

malacothamnus_fremontii

Malacothamnus fremontii

California Native
Evergreen Shrub

Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Low once established
Size: Bushy, erect stems 4 ft. to 6 ft.

The butterflies flock to the small silvery pink flowers that cover the plant throughout the summer. Good for hedges and along fences. Hardy to 10°F.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get back to posting some cactus and some succulents on this here so-called Cactus Blog. Who knows!

California Native Plants17 Jun 2013 01:31 pm

Lotus crassifolius v. otayensis is the California native lotus that comes from Otay Mountain.

lotus_crassifolius_otayensis4

Lotus crassifolius var. otayensis
Otay Mountain Lotus

California
Herbaceous perennial

Sun: Moderate to Full
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: 3 feet

Furry grey upright stems, clusters of purple and white pea-sized flowers in spring, grey-green oblong leaves. Endemic to California.

They sure do look like pea flowers. I wonder if this is in the pea family?

It is! It is in the Pea Family – Fabaceae.

Did I forget to mention that Otay Mtn. is in San Diego County? Sounds like a desert down there.

California Native Plants01 Jun 2013 06:23 am

Did you know that there were plants in bloom this weekend? Maybe you thought they would all wilt in this heat, but No! Beautiful flowers popping up all over! And not just from the cactus. Although, especially from the cactus this weekend. Cactus flowers like the heat. But wait, this isn’t a post about cactus flowers. This is a post about California Native Perennials. Wildflowers! First up…. Fleabane!

Erigeron glaucus

Erigeron glaucus
Seaside Daisy, Fleabane

N. California Coastal Natuve
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Sun
Water: Moderate
Size: 6-12″
Clay tolerant, found on clay coastal bluffs. A great butterfly plant, mixes well with coastal sages and monkey flowers. Lavender flowers spring through summer when it could use a little extra water. Hardy to 20F.

Salvia Winifred Gilman

Salvia “Winifred Gilman”
Musk Sage

California Native
Evergreen perennial/shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 3 to 4 ft.

Fragrant grey-green leaves. Strongly fragrant whorls of lavender blue flowers. Deer resistant, attracts butterflies. Hardy to 10F.

California Native Plants25 May 2013 08:42 am

Sisyrinchium bellum is a local favorite, Native to California, blue-eyed grass. We have a whole bunch of cultivars of this exact species out right now.

Sisyrinchium Rocky Point

Sisyrinchium “Rocky Point”

Sisyrinchium Quaint and Queer

Sisyrinchium “Quaint and Queer”

Sisyrinchium Waynes Dwarf

Sisyrinchium “Wayne’s Dwarf”

Sisyrinchium Nanum

Sisyrinchium “Nanum”

Plus we now have one new non-native Sisyrinchium available and it is much bigger, and more iris-like.

Sisyrinchium Aunt May

Sisyrinchium “Aunt May”

That’s a lot of Sisyrinchiums. But wait! Here’s another and it’s another native, a local native!

Sisyrinchium californicum

Sisyrinchium californicum

Sweet!

California Native Plants18 May 2013 10:25 am

We have a lot of native, and native-hybrids out in full bloom this weekend. Pictures ensue.

Gaura Passionate Rainbow

Beeblossom

Gaura lindheimeri “Passionate Rainbow” is a compact version of this ever-scrabbly wildflower. It also has very good color not just in the flowers but in the foliage too. I love colorful foliage!

Iris PCH

Iris PCH – we have only a few more still in bloom. Like this very deeply colored blue hybrid.

Eriophyllum Siskiyou

Wooly Sunflower

Eriophyllum “Siskiyou” works well in your garden. They are in full bloom right now and will rebloom throughout the year anyway, just not quite as full as this.

Solanum Indian Grey

Blue Witch

Solanum “Indian’s Grey” is one of our favorite blue-flowered native perennials in the deadly nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Solanum Spring Frost

White Witch

Solanum “Spring Frost” is one of our favorite white-flowered native perennials in the deadly nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Achillea kelleri

Achillea x kelleri is a stunning white addition to all your very colorful yarrows. These are really stunning. You should come see them in person, along with the yellow and red yarrows currently in bloom too. I highly recommend this hybrid for planting in your mom’s garden when you help her out next weekend. She will thank you.

California Native Plants&Questions&Science18 May 2013 09:40 am

A redacted letter from a concerned citizen:

Cactus Jungle:

You have on your list Fouquieria xxxx from California, this incorrect (sic)….. Fouquieria splendens is the only one that grows in the United States, all the others grow in Mexico and Baja. Your Fouquieria xxxx looks more like Fouquieria xxxx from Baja….. Do you have any more information on your plant? I have grown all of the known Fouquieria’s (sic) and have been in Mexico many times studying and collecting them.

Mxxx

Mxxx,
Thank you for your concerns. The word “California” can refer to the current political boundaries of the state formerly governed by Arnold Schwartzenegger, or they can refer to the ecological and geological physical area (among other options). We prefer to include plants native to Baja California as part of the ecological area of California.

Thank you,
Peter

Editors Note: Science!

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