Looking to add some color and bold foliage to your yard? Native plants are a great choice for anyone. Once established, native plants are more drought tolerant, thus saving you water while beautifying your landscape.


Going native is one of the easiest, prettiest, and most effective methods to save water. Native plants have adapted to semi-arid conditions, and have developed defense mechanisms that allow them to resist garden pests. Fewer pests means less temptation to use pesticides and less damage to the ecosystem. Native plants also require less fertilizing, cultivating and irrigation. A win-win situation all the way around.


When thinking of semi-arid weather conditions, one’s mind often goes to succulents. A mixture of aeonium, agave, aloe, and hens-and-chickens is a good beginning. However, we suggest mixing it up with some ground cover such as ice plant, trailing lantana, sedums and stonecrops, woolly thyme, and of course one of the myriad varieties of rosemary, and you’ve added color, texture and scent. But this is just the beginning!


For the garden structures, use a bougainvillea vine, or a yellow orchid vine. Height and color can be added to your gardens with perennial lavender species, salvias, penstemons, California sunflowers, and Peruvian verbena.

California Sunflowers

Let’s frame the basic garden layout we’ve set out above with some ornamental grasses, and grass-like plants. Try the New Zealand Cabbage Tree, mixed with Red Fountain Grass and Pink Muhly Grass. Next, shrubs for more height and privacy. The natives Manzanita, California lilac, Western redbud and Oregon grape, along with Common Myrtle and Coastal rosemary are eager examples of just how varied a water-wise garden can be.

Red Fountain Grass


If you’re a tree lover, consider some of these drought-tolerant trees. The Australian willow, the Crape Myrtle, the Sweet Bay Magnolia, the Chinese Pistache and Coast Live Oak are all fine additions to the water-wise garden.

Sweet Bay Magnolia

We hope we’ve gotten you thinking about choosing California natives. You’ll see the positive results of incorporating water-smart plants in your garden when you receive your water bill, and when you realize that beauty need not be strictly traditional. For further answers to your questions, visit our garden pros at Grangetto's Farm & Garden, located in Escondido, Encinitas, Fallbrook and Valley Center.

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