Tag Archives: drought tolerant

Island Bush Poppy

28 May

Island Bush Poppy (Dendromecon harfordii), evergreen native shrub, fast growing to 15 ft., rounded growth habit, large 2-3 inch bright yellow poppy-like flowers bloom profusely in spring, sporadically thereafter, gray-green foliage, drought tolerant, sun.

This species is found on Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and Santa Catalina Islands off the coast of southern California. A wonderful native evergreen shrub clothed with glaucous-green oval leaves. An abundance of yellow (3 inches across) flowers cover the plant from spring into summer. Moderate growth rate reaching up to 10-15+ feet tall but typically grows to 6-10 feet by equal width. Situate in a location which receives full sun to part shade in well draining soil. Drought tolerant once established. Cold hardy to about 15-20° F.


Yellow Bush Snapdragon

28 May

Yellow Bush Snapdragon (Keckiella antirrhinoides) evergreen to deciduous shrub, 3-4 ft., red-yellow, 3-4 in. flowers spring/summer, sun to part shade, drought tolerant, attracts hummingbirds, bees and other wildlife, deer resistant.

Yellow Bush Snapdragon is athree foot or so perennial shrub that will go deciduous under drought stress. In most California gardens in late fall and early winter this pensteomon will be tacky, BUT, you get flowers in late Febuary or early March, a full month before most other plants. This bush penstemon has red-yellow, 3″ to 4″ flowers. Native to the interior areas of southern California, west of the mountains. This species likes part shade, tolerates full shade inland, full sun along the coast, good drainage, and little summer water (summer wash offs). It’s fairly deer proof if not overwatered. Keckiella antirrhinoides is cold tolerant to at least 0 degrees F. Hummingbirds visit it during flowering season. Although it’s summer deciduous with no water, Yellow Bush Snapdragon looks great in even 118 degree F weather when the foliage is washed off a few times during the dry season. For the month of June and into July this plant is beautiful. The fragrance of the flowers is wonderful.

Cape Mallow

28 May

Cape Mallow (Anisodontea x hypomandarum) evergreen shrub, fast growth to 4-6 ft. in height, stiff upright growth habit, small hibiscus like pink to deep burgundy flowers throughout the year, drought tolerant, needs little summer water, prune to shape.

Native to South Africa, with 1 1/2-in. bright green leaves. Fast-growing shrub with rounded growth. Small (1 1/2 -in.) lobed, leaves. Notable for profuse production of inch-wide, dark-veined, pink to purple dark-eyed blooms resembling miniature individual hollyhocks; flowers come throughout warm weather, year-round in mildest climates. Good for borders, large containers, natural landscapes. Works well with California native plantings.

Anisodontea is a genus in the Hibiscus family (Malvaceae) from South Africa. There are 20 species in the genus, many with horticultural value. They are generally dry growing shrubs with flowers of a shade of pink. The plants freely hybridize, creating new and noteworthy plants.

Anisodontea x hypomandarum
This is the most common Anisodontea in cultivation in California. It is a garden origin hybrid that is often misnamed in the nursery trade as Anisodontea capensis. The plant is a slender branched upright evergreen shrub to 6+ ft. tall by 4 ft. wide. The dark green 1 inch leaves are 3 – 5 lobed. Mallow-like 1 1/2 inch flowers are light pink streaked with magenta and appear nearly all year long. Although drought tolerant in southern California gardens, plants respond well to occasional watering, especially in well drained soils. Plant in full sun to bright shade.

Anisodontea julii
A upright growing shrub to 6 feet tall with velvety pubescent leaves palmately lobed 3-5 inch long leaves. The large dark pink flowers, to 3 inches across form at the branch tips. Anisodontea julii comes from mountainous regions (4,000-8,000 feet elevation) in Lasotho and South Africa. Although these areas have summer rainfall and A. julii it grows well in winter dry Cape Town, South Africa as well as in sunny Southern California. Plant in full sun to light shade in any soil and irrigate occasionally. Our plants are from seed received from Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden in South Africa. Frost hardiness underdermined as yet but as this plant comes from higher elevation inland South Africa it should prove fairly hardy.

Anisodontea scabrosa – False Mallow
This is small shrub, growing 2-3 feet tall and as wide, comes from the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. It has rounded 1 inch long three lobed leaves along arching branches. The clear pink 1 inch wide flowers can appear at any time but are most abundant early spring to early summer. Although from stream banks in its native habitat, False Mallow can tolerate moderately dry conditions; water occasionally to promote new growth and flowering. Plant in full sun to light shade in a wide range of soils. Will tolerate winter temperatures down to the high teens F.



24 May

Freesia (Tritonia), deciduous perennial from corms, very vertical clumping growth to 1-2 feet in height, naturalizes, wiry stems bare funnel-shaped flowers in red, coral, pink, and orange, full sun to part shade, drought tolerant when extablished, good cut flower.

Tritonia is a cormous genus in the Iridaceae family from southern Africa. Most of them are in the winter rainfall regions or areas with some rain year round, but there are summer rainfall species too. They occur in a variety of habitats: grassland in summer rainfall areas, renosterveld, karroid scrub, and fynbos in winter rainfall areas. There are 28 species. Tritonia is in the Croceae tribe and is very similar to Crocosmia and Ixia. Experience from one Northern California gardener who has very wet winters is that many of the species she grows are unhappy with these conditions and when they bloom late spring or early summer the leaves are unattractive and the flowers can be ruined by late rains. They might be happier in dryer climates and/or grown with more protection from the rain. Still in years when the weather suits them they are very attractive and can be grown in the ground. The leaves need to be cut off a ground level after they die back.

Hybrid Pink Bottlebrush

19 May

Hybrid Pink Bottlebrush (Callistemon ‘Perth Pink’) evergreen shrub 8-10 ft. in height with an equal spread, dense upright habit, blue green foliage, clear pink flowers throughout the year, heaviest in summer, full sun, drought tolerant, good as an espalier, attracts hummingbirds, deer resistant.

Fast growing, with colorful flowers carried in dense spikes or round clusters consisting mainly of long, bristle-like stamens—hence the common name “bottlebrush.” Attractive to hummingbirds. Flowers are followed by woody capsules that can last for years and may resemble rows of beads pressed into bark.

Some bottlebrushes are naturally dense and compact (making good informal hedges); others are sparse and open (can be pruned up to become small trees). Those with pliant branches can be grown as informal espaliers. Very little routine pruning is needed—just remove any weak or dead branches after bloom or before spring growth flush. Don’t cut into bare wood beyond leaves—plant may not send out new growth. Generally found in moist ground in their native Australia, they withstand waterlogged soil. Normally tolerant of saline or alkaline soils, they sometimes suffer from chlorosis. Often severely damaged at 20°F/–7°C.

Callistemon citrinus
From Australia. Most commonly grown bottlebrush; most tolerant of heat, cold, and poor soils. Massive shrub to 10–15 ft. tall and wide, but with staking and pruning in youth easily trained into narrowish, round-headed, 20–25-ft. tree. Nurseries offer it as shrub, espalier, or tree. Narrow, 3-in.-long leaves are coppery when new, maturing to vivid green. Bruised leaves smell lemony. Bright red, 6-in.-long brushes appear in waves throughout the year. There are also reddish purple forms that fade to lavender, and a pink variety.

Callistemon viminalis
Shrub or small tree with pendulous branches. Fast growing to 20–30 ft. tall, with 15-ft. spread. Leaves narrow, light green, 6 in. long. Bright red brushes appear from late spring into summer, scattered bloom rest of year. Not for windy, dry areas. As tree, needs staking, thinning to prevent tangled, top-heavy growth. Leaves tend to grow toward ends of long, hanging branches.


18 May

Valerian (Centranthus ruber) evergreen, rounded to spreading growth to 2-3 ht. in height, spikes of white, pink or red flowers spring/summer, bluish-green to gray-green narrow leaves, full sun, very drought tolerant, likes poor soil, good cut flower, reseeds.

This Mediterranean native is a weed in many parts of the West. Self sows prolifically, thanks to small dandelion-like parachutes on seeds. When used in fringe areas of garden, though, it’s hard to beat for long, showy bloom. Forms a bushy clump to 3 ft. high and wide, with bluish green, 4-in.-long leaves. Small (about 1 1/2-in.-wide) flowers, in dense terminal clusters in late spring, early summer. In cool-summer climates, blooms sporadically throughout summer, sometimes into fall. Typical colors range from deep crimson to pale pink. There is also a white flowered form. Plants grow in poor, dry soils and tolerate almost any condition except damp shade. Cut off old flowering stems to shape plants and prevent self seeding.


18 May

Stonecrop (Sedum), succulent looking perennial forming a thick carpet 2-4 inches thick, small flowers in spring, many colors, full sun to part shade, drought tolerant, deer resistant, attracts butterflies, good in rock gardens, cascades.

Native to many parts of the world. Some are quite hardy to cold, others fairly tender; some are tiny and trailing, others much larger and upright. Fleshy leaves are evergreen (unless otherwise noted) but highly variable in size, shape, and color. Typically small, star-shaped flowers, sometimes brightly colored, are usually borne in fairly large clusters.

Sedum album
Creeping plant grows to 2–6 in. high. Leaves to 1/2 in. long, light to medium green, sometimes red tinted.White or pinkish summer flowers. Plant 1– 1/2 ft. apart for ground cover. Roots from the smallest fragment; beware of planting it near choice, delicate rock garden plants.

Sedum morganianum

Sedum morganianum
Produces long, trailing stems that reach 3–4 ft. in 6 to 8 years. Thick, 3/4-in.-long, light gray-green leaves overlap each other along stems to form braided-looking “tails” less than 1 in. thick. Pink to deep red flowers may appear from spring to summer but are only rarely seen. Because of its long stems, this species is best grown in a hanging basket or wall pot; in mildest climates, try it spilling from top of a wall or in rock garden. Provide rich, fast-draining soil. Protect from wind and give partial shade.

Sedum sieboldii
Low-growing plant just 4 in. high, 8–12 in.wide, with spreading, trailing, unbranched stems to 8–9 in. long. Blue-gray leaves with red edges are carried in threes; they are nearly round, stalkless, toothed along upper half. Plant turns coppery red in fall, dies to ground in winter. Each stem bears a broad, dense, flat cluster of dusty pink flowers in autumn. Species and variety are beautiful in rock gardens, hanging baskets.

Sedum spathulifolium

Sedum spathulifolium
Spoonshaped, 1/2–1-in. blue-green leaves tinged with reddish purple are packed into rosettes on short, trailing stems. Light yellow flowers bloom in spring and summer. Use it as ground cover (set plants 1– 1/2 ft. apart), in rock garden. Very drought tolerant.

Sedum spectabile
To 1-1/2 ft. tall and wide, with upright or slightly spreading stems thickly clothed in blue-green, roundish, 3-in. leaves. Dense, 6-in.-wide, dome-shaped flower clusters appear atop stems in late summer and fall; they open pink, mature to dark brown seed heads that put on a long-lasting show. Dies to ground in winter. Full sun. Regular to moderate water.

Sedum spurium
Low-growing plant with trailing stems and dark green or bronze-tinted leaves just an inch or so long; spreads 2 ft. or wider. In summer, pink, purple, or white flowers appear in dense clusters at ends of 4–5-in. stems. For rock garden, pattern planting, ground cover.

Sedum telephium

Sedum telephium
To 2 ft. high, 1–2 ft. wide.  Resembles S. spectabilebut has gray-green, somewhat narrower leaves. Long-lasting floral display begins in late summer and fall; blossom clusters open purplish pink, age to brownish maroon. Plant dies to ground in winter.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
‘Autumn Joy’

Hybrid of S. telephium and S. spectabile. To 1–2 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide,with green leaves to 2–3 in. long and about as wide. Rounded clusters of blossoms are pink when they open in late summer or autumn, later age to coppery pink and finally to rust. Dies down in winter.

‘Vera Jameson’
Cross between S. telephium maximum‘Atropurpureum’ and S. ‘Ruby Glow’ (a low-growing hybrid with purple-gray leaves and ruby red flowers). To 8–12 in. high and about 1-1/2 ft. wide, with spreading purple stems clothed in pinkish purple leaves. Rose pink flowers in late summer, fall. Dies to ground in winter.