Sun: Full to Partial Sun Water: Low Size: 12″h, spreads 3ft. wide
Pretty whitish to grey-green woolly leaves with stunning displays of yellow daisy flowers throughout the spring. Tidy and low-growing groundcover, blooms pop up to 12″h. Cut back after blooming. Hardy to 15F.
Solanum umbelliferum “Indian’s Grey” is unquestionably (don’t you question me….) the prettiest of the native Solanums, although this closeup of the flower is a bit more graphic than a whole plant covered in these little blooms. It’s poisonous, and it’s low and shrubby too. The flowers will last for a very long time if you give the plant a little bit of water throughout the summer, otherwise it will stop blooming and go dormant instead. I recommend you cut it back in fall after it has finished its last little blooms. New growth through the winter will culminate in the pretty little flowers in the spring.
These are called bushes, and yet they can easily get 20ft. tall.
Fremontodendron “Pacific Sunset”
Fremontodendron “San Gabriel”
Fremontodendron “California Glory”
I don’t know if there’s a whole lot of difference here. Some slight variations in flower color and leaf shape. But these are all in the 10-20ft. tall range. “Pacific Sunset” is maybe the tallest of the 3 and can get over 20ft. on a good day.
Plant them out of the way of pedestrian traffic since they can cause a reaction if you rub them the wrong way.
Our favorite of the California native grapes. Great color, tasty fruit, easy to grow. They will grow 10 to 20 ft. vines once mature that will cover an arbor pretty early in the summer and help keep all that hot, messy sunshine off your patio, but then will die back in the winter allowing all the warm comfy sun to reach into your living room through the windows and onto your sofa where you are relaxing with a cup of hot steaming joe.
The Beavertail Cactus is native to California and Arizona, and into Northern Mexico and Southern Utah a bit too. The local populations are varied, and indeed the plants that are descendent from the California populations from the Mojave are not particularly hardy in Berkeley. The Mojave is a very dry desert. So after giving up on a number of plants years ago, we finally have some sourced from Arizona stock, and they are doing better, thank you very much.
These are a shrubby prickly pear, low growing – less than 2 ft. tall generally. The blue-green pads can often turn a bit purplish in the winter. And just so you know, these are generally spineless. Though they do have glochids, which are the tiny little hooked spines, so there.
Yesterday’s Spiny Gooseberry was the most unusual California Native Ribes we’ve had this year, but today…
Ribes sanguineum ‘Spring Showers’ is much more popular, what with these dripping with pink happiness for months on end throughout the spring and then following up with delicious berries. Of course these are also quite hardy – 10F is pretty good. It will get 6ft to 8ft. and in unusual circumstances maybe a touch taller. Hummingbirds flock to it.
Plus, it’s clay-soils tolerant, and can be grown under native oaks.
This plant is amazing, and yet we haven’t sold any. Look at these flowers! Look at those fresh green leaves! And the spines, too! You love it, everyone who has ever walked this earth loves it, and yet….
Let me tell you some more about it, and then maybe I can convince you that your garden also needs one. It’s native throughout Northern California, as far south as Napa County. Chaparral as high up as 7000ft. (And that is high up) so that means its going to be pretty cold tolerant. How hardy? 20F? 10F? How about 0F! Yes!
Spiny and moderate-sized – it will get 4ft. tall and maybe 6 ft. across if you let it go wild, which you don’t have to since the branches are not particularly hardwood, just get your gloved arm through those spines and clip away to shape them, preferably in late fall.
Still not convinced? How about another picture.
My god that’s amazing. And they really do look like that in person.
Some more good info for your personal files: Deer resistant! Edible fruit – the native wildlife will thank you for the treats. Care must be taken since they are a host for Rust, so watch for fungus.
I feel like I featured this one on the blog recently. Should I go ahead and do a search? Obviously not since I’ve already gotten this far in the post and finding out that I did already post this plant recently would only piss me off.
Anyway its a low growing California native perennial that will bloom for the entire spring season and again occasionally in the summer if you water it.
Poisonous of course, being a Solanum, i.e. in the Nightshade family, so enjoy the flowers but don’t eat the leaves. I don’t know about any berries, but in general stay away from all parts of Nightshades except for tomatoes and other edible Nightshade family fruits.
It’s been 7 years since we’ve featured this plant at the Cactus Jungle. You can see the older photo from 2005 if you click the link above. So much has changed in 7 years. Including my name. You can now call me Bob.
Our first 4″ Achillea is in bloom for spring, and the cultivar is….
I always recommend mixing in some yarrow with native grasses. They disappear into a meadow look with their rich green foliage, easy to forget they’re there and then, boom… they bloom, and these very brightly colored sprays of small blooms pop up right above everything else. Nice!
This hybrid from native irises, probably including Iris inominata, is called “Pink Parfait”.
It’s compact and like other native irises it’s drought tolerant.
And what does that mean, anyway? Cause it’s certainly an iris which likes regular watering. Well… it doesn’t mean it likes to be dry. It means it can survive being dry. It can survive our very dry summers by going dormant and practically disappearing if you don’t water it. And that’s OK.