There are numerous advantages to growing native plants in your garden. They offer food and shelter to wildlife and help to maintain delicate ecosystems. You can find native plants that are hardy in any of California’s wide range of climates and are well adapted to surviving and thriving with native soils, pollinators, and pests.
Beyond all that, you can use native plants to meet certain needs or work with particular garden conditions. Check out the following native plant recommendations for water-wise gardens; rain gardens; container gardens; deer resistance; slope stabilization; and gardening in sun, shade, sandy soil, or clay soil.
For areas with higher average rainfall or gardens with poorly draining soil, look to the California native plants that are adapted to riparian (river-adjacent) or other wet environments, such as the following:
For container gardens, look for plants that offer bursts of colorful blooms or striking foliage that can look great in combination with other plants and that can handle the periods of dry soil that container-grown plants often have to endure. Here are a few to try:
Deer have particular feeding preferences, so to create a deer-resistant garden you need to install plants that have opposite characteristics. They prefer leaves that are tender, green, and juicy, so using native plants that are tough, prickly, spiny or fuzzy will usually deter them. They also tend to avoid plants that are toxic or that contain aromatic oils. Here are some of the native plants that deer are likely to leave alone:
When planting slopes, you need to consider both erosion control and fire resistance. Look for ground cover plants that are deep-rooted to hold onto the soil and low-growing so that winds are less able to whip up and spread higher flames in a fire. These native plants are good choices for dry, sunny slopes:
Sun and Soil Conditions
The following native plants are well adapted to particular sun and soil conditions.
For more information on selecting native plants for your California garden, check out the California Native Plant Society.