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More great, reliable plants for California landscapes

Here are a few more of my favorite plants, easy, reliable, and striking, and different than the usuals out there.

Tree Dahlia

Tree Dahlias grow 10′ tall in one season and bloom late in the fall.  Sometimes an October storm will knock off the blossoms.  But you don’t have to grow this Dahlia for the flowers.  The exotic tropical looking foliage will be a show stopper.  Cut to the ground in winter, it grows fast as soon as the earth begins to warm in the spring.  Comes in white, and rarely as a double flower.  Takes full sun and low water.  Forms a fantastically large tuber.

Heuchera 'Wendy'

My favorites of plants.  Heuchera ‘Wendy’ was pioneered by Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden, a cross between our native Heuchera maxima and Heuchera sanguinea.  I feel that ‘Wendy’ is the most spectacular of the cultivars (there are several out there).  Flowers are light pink-peach, very tall, and bloom endlessly and profusely.  The plant is tough like our native Heuchera, taking low water, dappled shade.  Put this in one of your more difficult dry shade spots and let it sing.

Anthriscus Ravenswing

This plant is actually a Chervil.  A low plant for shade and average water, it provides striking contrast in your combinations.  Difficult to find but very easy to grow.


Wow, I love this plant.  Obviously drought tolerant, people will gawk.  Its large, bold leaves offset pinks and purples for contrast.  The thistle purple flowers in the late summer I feel take away from what I grow this for–the leaf structure.  If you let it, it will reseed generously and you will have these as long as you want.  Just transplant the seedlings where you want them and give away the extras to friends.

Crocosmia hybrids

Crocosmias are such underused bulbs.  They are heat loving, low water, summer blooming stunning flowers.  ‘Emily McKenzie’ is one of my favorites, with the double advantage of smoky foliage.  And they multiply, like bulbs do, easily.  They bloom late summer for a long time.

Epilobium californica and hybrids

These are still Zauschnerias to me, but the splitters long ago put them into the Genus Epilobium.  A wonderful California native, they bloom in the fall and are either no water or low water.  They come in different heights (6″ to 36″), some have grey foliage, and are a magnet for hummingbirds.  Can’t be beat.

3 Responses

  1. The colors! I didn’t realize it but I have been starving for the colors.


  2. Hey leslie! neat plants! any ideas for Iowa? John


  3. Sorry, Iowa is out of my league. But you can replant your lawn with native grasses and wildflowers. Doesn’t buffalo grass work out there?


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