Tag Archives: drought tolerant

Compact Strawberry Tree

14 Apr

Compact Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’), evergreen tree or shrub to 8-12 ft. in height, single or multi-trunked, clusters of white flowers fall and winter, large orange/red/yellow fruit, full sun to part shade, drought tolerant, prune to expose interesting bark, deer resistant, resistant to oak root fungus.

All have ornamental bark, clusters of little urn-shaped flowers, decorative edible fruit, handsome foliage.

Provide good drainage, especially if plant receives regular water.

Thin growth of all types as needed.

Arbutus unedo

Arbutus unedo

Slow to moderate growth to 8–35 ft.with equal spread. Normally has basal suckers, stem sprouts.

Can thin branches to make open-crowned tree, or plant several and leave unpruned to make screen. Trunk and branches have rich red-brown, shredding bark; tend to become twisted and gnarled in age.

Dark green, handsome, red-stemmed leaves are oblong and 2–3 in. long. Clusters of small white or greenish white, urn-shaped flowers and round, 3/4 in. fruit, yellow (young) and red (mature), like strawberries in texture, appear at the same time in fall and winter; fruit is edible but usually mealy and bland in flavor. Individual plants may produce tasty fruit.


The plant will seldom exceed 10 ft. high

True Myrtle

14 Apr

True Myrtle (Myrtus communis), evergreen shrub or tree, moderate growth to 5-6 ft. in height, taller when grown as a tree, 4-5 ft. spread, sweet scented white flowers in summer, foliage is aromatic when bruised, full sun to part shade, drought tolerant, deer resistant.

From the Mediterranean. Rounded plant is bulky and dense but has fine-textured foliage. Reaches 5 to 6 ft. high and 4 to 5 ft.wide (as much as 15 ft. by 20 ft. in old age). Glossy bright green leaves are pointed, 2 in. long, pleasantly aromatic when bruised or brushed against. White, sweet-scented, 3/4-in. flowers with many stamens bloom in summer followed by bluish black, 1/2-in. berries.

Takes any soil, but good drainage is essential.

Makes a good informal hedge or screen, requiring little or no pruning; as a specimen shrub, it can be selectively pruned to reveal limb structure. Withstands shearing into formal hedges and topiary.


Australian Fuchsia

14 Apr

Australian Fuchsia (Correa), evergreen shrub, moderate growth to 2-4 ft. in height, 2-3 ft. spread or wider depending on variety, fuchsia-like flowers in pink, white, red, orange and carmine rose, full sun to part shade, tolerates some drought, deer resistant, long blooming.

These Australian natives may resemble fuchsia in their flower form, but in all other ways they are far from fuchsialike. Plants range from low growing to tall, are usually dense and spreading. Roundish, 1-in. leaves, densely felted underneath; gray or gray-green color contrasts subtly with other grays, distinctly with dark greens. All are valued for their long flowering season, usually late fall into spring. Small (1/2 to 3/4-in.) flowers hang from branches like little bells; they are individually handsome but not showy. Need fast drainage; do well in poor, rocky soil. Easy to kill with kindness (overwatering, overfertilizing). Should not get reflected heat from wall or pavement. Use as ground cover on banks or slopes. Attractive in large pots placed where flowers can be enjoyed close up.

Correa pulchella
Grows 2 to 2 1/2 ft. high, spreading as wide as 8 ft. Leaves green above, gray-green below; flower color ranges from light pink to reddish orange. Most widely grown correa in Northern California.

‘Dusky Bells’ (‘Carmine Bells’)
Low growing (2 to 2 1/2 ft.), spreading as wide as 8 ft. Deep red flowers.


Bush Germander

13 Apr

Bush Germander (Teucrium fruticans ‘Compacta’), evergreen shrub, upright to rounded growth to 2-3 ft. in height with equal spread, spikes of 2/4 inch lavender-blue flowers most of the year, gray-green leaves, full sun to part shade, drought tolerant, likes poor soil, deer resistant.


Mediterranean natives with aromatic foliage and whorls of little flowers. These are tough plants that endure poor, rocky soils; they can’t stand wet or poorly drained soils but will tolerate regular watering where drainage is good.

Teucrium fruticans 

Loose, silvery stemmed plant to 4–8 ft. tall and wide (or wider). Gray-green, 1 1/4-in.-long leaves have silvery white undersides, giving plant an overall silvery gray appearance. Blooms almost year-round, bearing lavender-blue flower spikes at branch ends. Thin and cut back before spring growth begins.


7 Apr

Pincushion (Leucospernum), evergreen shrub, 4-8 ft. tall, flowers throughout the year depending on species, sun, drought tolerant, deer resistant. Leucospernum catherinae grows 5-7 ft. tall and wide, with grey green leaves and striking tangerine-orange flowers. ‘Tango’ grows slowly to 5-6 ft., with dark green leaves and red/orange flowers.

Mexican Bush Lobelia

26 Mar

Mexican Bush Lobelia (Lobelia laxiflora), sprawling perennial with fast growth to 2-3 ft. in height, 4-6 ft. across, colorful tubular flowers are orange/red with yellow tips, prolific bloom spring through summer, full sun, drought tolerant, attracts hummingbirds.

Lobelia laxiflora – Branches with narrow green leaves and red stems arise from underground rhizomes that spread outward, allowing a single plant to form a dense groundcover to 18 inches tall by many feet wide. At the tip of each stem are borne the 2 inch long bi-colored flowers, yellow on the inside with red on the outside. In Santa Barbara this plant is nearly always in bloom, with a peak bloom period in summer. Plant in full sun to light shade. Can tolerate little water but also grows well in moist soils where it can prove to be somewhat invasive. It is hardy to about 15 degrees F. The genus is named for Mathias de L’Obel (latinized to Matthaeus Lobelius) (1538 –1616), a Belgian botanist and physician to the royal families of the Netherlands. Native to Arizona, Mexico and Central America.


Silver Carpet

25 Mar

Silver Carpet (Dymondia margaretae), ground hugging perennial 1-3 in. in height, silvery foliage and small yellow daisy-like flowers in summer, drought resistant, likes full sun, tolerates some foot traffic, great between stepping stones.

This popular ground cover is native to South Africa. Forms a tight mat 2 to 3 in. high, spreading slowly by offsets to 20 in. wide. Narrow (1/8-in.), evergreen leaves are 2 to 3 in. long, deep grayish green above, rolled in at the edges to show cottony white undersides. Summer flowers are yellow, 1 to 1 1/2 -in.-wide daisies half-buried in the foliage. Deep roots give established plants considerable drought tolerance, but they’ll spread faster if watered. Used between paving blocks and stepping-stones, in rock gardens; can take light foot traffic.

Kangaroo Paw

21 Mar

Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos), evergreen, stiff upright growth to 2-3 ft., tall branched stems bear tubular hairy flowers in red, orange, pink,  green or yellow spring through fall, full sun, any soil, draught tolerant, attracts hummingbirds.

The genus is native to the southwestern region of Australia. There are 2 groups of species, one tall with branched stems, and the other low in habit and unbranched. The unique, fuzzy flowers often last 1-2 months, making them a great choice for sunny borders and perennial beds.

Thick rootstocks send up fans of dark green, swordlike leaves and spikes bearing fuzzy, tubular flowers in red, purple, green, or yellow. The striking blooms are curved at the tips like kangaroo paws (tips are split into six segments). Plants bloom from late spring to fall if spent flowering spikes are cut to the ground. Good cut flowers. Grow in light sandy soil or heavier soil amended to improve drainage. Control snails and slugs.

Anigozanthos hybrids

Kangaroo paws hybridize freely in nature and in cultivation. The following areamong the many superior garden plants that have been developed. Foliage clumps range from a foot across (for most dwarf varieties) to about 3 ft. wide; the smaller types make good container subjects.

‘Big Red’. Extra-large brightred blossoms top 3–4-ft.-tallstems.

Bush Gems series. These were bred to resist the leaf and root diseases that afflict kangaroo paws. Two of the best are 2 1/2–3-ft., easy-to-grow ‘Bush Gold’, which bears clear lemon yellow flowers above lime green leaves over a long bloom season, and 1 1/2–2 1/2-ft. ‘Bush Ranger’, a long-lived variety with clear red blooms. Other good varieties include ‘Bush Baby’, with flowers blending red, orange, and yellow on 1 1/2-ft. stems; ‘Bush Emerald’, bearing surprising green flowers with contrasting yellow throats and brilliant orange anthers on 2–2 1/2-ft. stems; ‘Bush Lantern’, a bright yellow dwarf 1–2 ft. tall; and ‘Bush Pearl’, with bubblegum pink blossoms on 2-ft. stems.

‘Harmony’. Yellow flowers on tall (4–6 ft.) stems clothed with bright red hairs.

‘Pink Joey’. Silvery pink flowerson stems 1–3 ft. high.

Cone Bush/Tulip Bush

19 Mar

Cone Bush/Tulip Bush (Leucadendron), evergreen shrub, to 6 ft. in height, upright, vase-shaped growth habit, colorful leaf-like flower bracts and cones range from bright red to yellow, foliage color ranges from gray-green to variegated and burgundy tinged, full sun, tolerates wind and salt air, drought and deer resistant, does not like rich soil, excellent screen or foliage plant.

South African native related to Protea. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. Inflorescences form at stem tips. In some shrubby species, conelike male flower clusters sit above showy colored bracts and have the look of giant daisies. Those of Leucadendron discolor and L. tinctum make striking cut flowers that dry well. Female flower clusters are less showy and develop into conelike seed clusters.

 ‘Safari Sunset’

This variety is vigorous and upright, 8 to 10 ft. tall and 6 to 8 ft. wide, with intensely red bracts in summer that fade to light yellow in the center by late winter; tolerant of frost and clay soils.

‘Safari Sunshine’

Grows 4 to 5 ft. tall and wide. Rich red bracts in late winter and spring. Leaves are heavily variegated in pink and creamy white.


Creeping Berry

19 Mar

Creeping Berry (Rubus pentalobus), evergreen shrub, slow to moderate growth to 12 in. in height with 3-4 ft. spread, creeping stems create a mat-like cover, white, star-shaped flowers, very dense, heavily wrinkled, glossy dark green leaves, sun to light shade, drought resistant, deer resistant, occasionally tip branches to create denser mat, good cascading over walls.

Rubus Pentalobus is an indestructible groundcover having three to five mallow-like lobed leaves that are heavily textured. The thick, neatly rounded leaves are emerald on the upper surface and gray beneath. White flowers are produced sporadically in early summer. Flowers are followed in fall by visually attractive golden fruits which although edible have little taste, and so may be left to wildlife. The undersides of the leaves turn bronzy in fall with the color persisting all winter.

This prostrate evergreen species groundcover should be grown in moderately fertile, well- drained soil in full sun or part shade. It is drought tolerant after establishment.

Although it is considered low maintenance, it spreads quickly and may need to be cut back if it outgrows its allotted garden space. It also roots along the stems, making propagation easy. This groundcover is impervious to weeds.

It produces a mass of richly textured leaves, making it an attractive groundcover for formal areas, rock gardens, or woodland beds. It is excellent under groves of birches or other groupings of trees.





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