Planting in hot, dry Southern California can be intimidating for new gardeners. Much of a gardener’s success starts with selecting the optimal flowers and plants for their space. Choosing plants that will thrive in your conditions is vital for their survival. Read on for ideas on the best outdoor plants for Southern California!
Best Outdoor Plants for Southern California
Planting natural wildflowers is one of the best outdoor plants for Southern California. You can purchase wildflower seed mixes, which differ slightly each year, giving beautiful variety to your garden. These annuals are native to the area and grow effortlessly in natural conditions. Wildflowers are a wise starting point for a beginner gardener and a unique way to add many colors to a small space!
Poppies are the state flower, so no wonder they made the list of best outdoor plants for Southern California! This low-maintenance flower is undemanding to grow; just give it fertilized, well-drained soil. It is self-seeding, so when the blooms wilt in autumn, leave some around to ensure you have beautiful flowers next year.
3. Rose Buckwheat
Out of the various native California buckwheats, Rose Buckwheat, or Red Soba, is the most stunning. These bush-like plants grow shoots about 18-24 inches tall and end in beautiful pink flowers. Rose buckwheat also attracts beneficial insects, which can help your garden ecosystem immensely. This perennial is drought-tolerant and can be planted in rows for a unique aesthetic.
4. Flannel Bush
Is it a shrub? Or is it a tree? Flannel bush is a native California plant that can grow up to 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide within five years of planting. This fast-growing evergreen blooms large, abundant golden blossoms each spring. Flannel bush needs a sunny spot with well-draining soil to thrive and is best grown by a seasoned gardener. Selecting the perfect location is essential for flannel bush survival as its roots need to be able to access water, yet it is intolerant to summer watering.
The Santa Barbara Daisy is a beautiful addition to any garden. Don’t let its name fool you – this plant is a native of Mexico. However, it grows well in California and is particularly robust in coastal climates. This is because of its drought resistance and hardiness to cooler weather, down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. These tiny daisies are adorable, but plan to prune them – one plant can spread up to five feet!
6. California Lilacs
California lilacs start to show their buds in early spring, bursting into gorgeous blue flowers. These plants are not only a colorful addition to your garden in spring but stay evergreen throughout the year. Plus, their leaves are hardy, drought-resistant, and adapt well to extreme weather. On top of that, their flowers attract bees to help naturally pollinate your garden, and they smell divine!
Penstemons are bell-shaped flowers that grow vertically and densely, flowering from May to October. Penstemons are exceptionally hardy and thrive in full sun and light shade. They are self-seeding, which means you only have to cut them back a little bit at the end of autumn or early winter, and by spring you will have beautiful new flowers with literally no work!
8. Morning Glory
Morning Glory is a California native plant. However, this plant gets a bad reputation – often compared to its invasive sister, blue morning glory, and many people see it as a weed. It is a creeping plant that crawls over fences and retaining walls. However, you can use this to your advantage! Cover up that chain link fence or property line divider with Morning Glory. This beautiful shrub has a dense green bush-like appearance adorned by many white blooms and will add much-needed privacy!
Sage, also known as salvia, comes in numerous varieties. You can choose your salvia plant based on your needs, such as edible sage used in the kitchen or ornamental sage with decorative blooms. All types of sage have a beautiful purple color and intense fragrance that will leave your yard smelling delicious. It is drought and chill resistant and attracts pollinators to your garden.
10. California Wild Rose
Roses might be the most popular flower of all time, so it is only natural to want your fair share in your yard! You’re in luck – wild roses are one of the best outdoor plants for Southern California. The bush grows densely in a thicket, so it is excellent for planting around the perimeter of your yard for added privacy. Its fragrance is delightful, and its pink flowers bloom year round.
What Outdoor Plants Look Good All Year Round?
With so much time and money invested in your landscaping, you want to ensure your garden looks good year-round. While several plants on this list make that cut, there are notable other options. These include blue star juniper, bergenia, Japanese Pieris, golden creeping Jenny, classic boxwoods, or golden sword yucca.
What Flowers Bloom All Year Long in Southern California?
Flowers create natural points of interest, add pops of color, and attract beneficial insects. In sunny Southern California, several plants bloom year-round. Hibiscus, African violets, and petunias are ideal year-round flowers for a warm, dry climate. These flowers come in many colors, so you can mix and match them!
How Design Scapes Can Help
At Design Scapes, we know it can be challenging to know where to start with your landscaping or garden. But never fear – Design Scapes is here to help! Our years of experience in the landscaping business help us advise you on choosing the best outdoor plants for your Southern California home. Visit our website today to contact us or browse our landscaping services!