Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

California Natives - Plant Like a Native

Use our natives to conserve water and create an attractive wild-life garden.  This makes perfect sense as the drought continues and we learn more about drought-resistant plants and better water-wise irrigation. The Fall is a great time to "go native" and make additions to your garden before projected El Nino rains arrive. California natives thrive in all of our natural habitats: dry, sunny, shade, as well as fast-draining soil, heavy clay or in between.  They also attract bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other beneficials, and mix well with nonnatives.  

Some native choices include our Thimbleberry, California Flannelbush, and Yarrow.  

Thimbleberry
Thimbleberry

California Flannelbush
California Flannelbush

"Rosea" Yarrow

Thimbleberry supports native pollinators like bees, birds and butterflies, has edible fruit that is fragrant, produces large flowers, and the stems have no prickles. California flannelbush has a leathery and fuzzy texture, and the large, long-lasting, yellow-to-orange flowers are showy.  They are easily sized or shaped by pruning, and tolerate dry, poor soils and warm sun. Yarrow has aromatic fern-like leaves that grow to about 6-8 inches, spread by rhizomes, and can substitute for lawn or make excellent ground cover. 

Have fun and go see some of our beautiful natives in bloom where they are flourishing in Marin at two of our Demonstration Gardens: Harvey's Garden (Blackie's Pasture) in Tiburon, and at Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael.  You will be inspired by the colors, shapes, and diversity of plants that are drought-tolerant, long-blooming, sun-loving, and deer-resistant. 

When adding natives to non-natives it's easy, see here.  You can also visit our UC Marin Master Gardener plant selection guide, here, for many examples of drought-tolerant plants.  

Webmaster Email: banielsen@ucanr.edu