Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
Fri. & Sat. from 9am-4pm
8331 Nelson Way
Escondido, CA 92026
Tues. to Sat. from 9am-4pm

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

When to plant California native plants.

In years like 2013, if you have the water, plant from about December to February in the hot interior, plant all year in the rest of the state, particularly if you're replacing a lawn or something else that needs a lot of water. If you're replacing the lawn you're going to save a lot of water in just a few months so do not feel guilty about using that water for change.

New plantings need to be watered once a week for the first season in a dry year like 2013. So as long as you can do that, you can replace that dead looking non-native landscape.

In a normal year,,in a regular lot in town, or with water for the first few months, all year planting is no problem as long as you plant each section at the same time. You may not want to keep digging holes and watering, in  plantings older than a couple of years.

We've normally lost less than 10% of our plants planting in spring-summer, even when it is 110 F., but YOU HAVE TO WATER once a week or so to a depth of at least a foot, preferably 18 inches, and then let the top 1/2 inch dry between waterings. If we have another year like 2013, you have to water the newer plantings once a week all year.

We've been zinged with fall planting because the plants go into winter, growing, instead of hardening off. We also can have an extended fall with hot dry temperatures and the plants die of desiccation (the site is drier then than in midsummer).

Winter planting in a cold winter climate(below 12 F) can be very risky. It takes a few weeks for the plants to harden off, and the plants do not have this time if you plant in the winter. If the plants are dormant or allowed to harden off, i.e., being grown in an equally cold climate, winter planting is easy. Do not worry unless your area gets below 15 F (-10 C) with no snow. AND, the soil is easy to dig in!

Both the higher temperatures and longer days of early summer have been shown to increase growth of some symbiotic microorganisms while others have adapted to cool moist soils. If the site is a highly stressed restoration site that is getting no water you are forced to do a midwinter planting. In coastal or mild climates early winter planting is preferred, as soon as the ground is moist from rains. If water is available for even two waterings and winter gets below 20 F, on most sites March-April planting is preferred. (Back east that may be May.)

In most of California fall planting is the least desirable. This is because the microorganisms and the plants are at their weakest (the site is dormant), soil moisture levels are at their lowest, and the stupid critters eat anything that has green on it. These site conditions will draw from the plant rather than support it.


Location
Spring(March-May)
Summer(June-Aug)
Fall(Sept-Dec)
Winter(Dec-Feb)


Coastal Bluff with Eriophyllum staechadifolium artemisiaefolium,  Yellow Yarrow - grid24_6
When to plant in Coastal California, where overcast in summer and lows in the 20's in winter.
Great planting time, enjoyable, plants need to be watered 3-5 times after planting and then they can generally make it through summer 'normal' losses @5%
good planting time, water the area to be planted well, a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer this becomes a poor planting time unless you're willing to build a fort) 'normal' losses @7%
good planting time, water the area to be planted well, a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer this becomes a BAD planting time unless you're willing to build a fort and guard it) 'normal' losses @8%
Great planting time 'normal' losses less than 5%

Field Lupines in a Central oak Woodland - grid24_6
When to plant in Inner coast ranges, inner valleys of Sierra Nevada Mountains.
good planting time, enjoyable, plants need to be watered 3-5 times after planting and then they can generally make it through summer 'normal' losses @7%
good planting time, water the area to be planted well a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer this becomes a poor planting time unless you're willing to build a fort) 'normal' losses @10%
sucks, ground is dust, you plant, the plant wilts, water, water, water, the plants push new growth and then freeze (if the critters don't eat them first) losses range from 30% to 100% This climate separates the gardeners from the pretenders.
Great planting time 'normal' losses less than 5% as long as the grower is supplying hardy stock , wait until about the 3rd rain and the soil will be diggable

This area of the San Joaquin Valley used to have blue oaks, cactus and TONS of poppies. - grid24_6
When to plant in the San Joaquin Valley
good planting time, enjoyable, plants need to be watered @5 times after planting and then they can generally make it through summer 'normal' losses @8%
fair planting time, water the area to be planted well a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer this becomes a poor planting time unless you're willing to build a fort) 'normal' losses @13%
good planting time, water the area to be planted well a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer this becomes a poor planting time unless you're willing to build a fort) 'normal' losses @10%
Great planting time 'normal' losses less than 5% as long as the grower is supplying hardy stock, wait until about the 3rdrain and the soil will be diggable

Yucca schidigera in a desert vista. - grid24_6
When to plant in Low Deserts
good planting time, enjoyable, plants need to be watered 1/week through the first summer 'normal' losses @5%
fair planting time, water the area to be planted well a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer this becomes a poor planting time unless you're willing to build a fort) 'normal' losses @15%
good planting time, water the area to be planted well a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer this becomes a poor planting time unless you're willing to build a fort) 'normal' losses @10%
Great planting time, water the area to be planted well a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer this becomes a poor planting time unless you're willing to build a fort) 'normal' losses @5%

Salvia dorrii, purple desert sage with a sea of butterflies. To bad the Joshua Trees will not support a hammock.  - grid24_6
When to plant in the High Deserts
good planting time, enjoyable, plants need to be watered 1/week after planting and then they can generally make it through summer, you can stop when they're growing vigorously 'normal' losses @7%
good planting time, water the area to be planted well a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer or antelope this becomes a poor planting time unless you're willing to build a fort) 'normal' losses @10%
sucks, you plant, the plants push new growth and then the frost turns them into frozen lettuce (if the critters don't eat them first) losses range from 10% to 90%
Great planting time 'normal' losses less than 5% as long as the grower is supplying hardy stock, wait until about the 3rd rain and the soil will be diggable

Adenostoma fasciculatum (Chamise or Greasewood), Prunus ilicifolia, Arctostaphylos viscida - grid24_6
When to plant up in the mountains from 3000-5000.
Great Planting, normal losses 5%
good planting time, enjoyable, plants need to be watered 1/week after planting and then they can generally make it through summer, you can stop when they're growing vigorously 'normal' losses @7%
good planting time, water the area to be planted well a week before you plant, water 1/week after you plant (if you have deer this becomes a poor planting time unless you're willing to build a fort) 'normal' losses @10%
Great planting time 'normal' losses less than 5% as long as the grower is supplying hardy stock, wait until about the 3rdrain and the soil will be diggable

Arctostaphylos patula, Greenleaf Manzanita at a higher elevation in the Sierras. When the get 3-5 meters of snow on them they lay low. - grid24_6
When to plant in the higher mountains, 5000+ ft.
Great Planting (as soon as the snow melts), normal losses 5%
good planting time, enjoyable, plants need to be watered 1/week after planting and then they can generally make it through summer, you can stop when they're growing vigorously 'normal' losses @5%
sucks, you plant, the plants push new growth and then freeze (if the critters don't eat them first) losses range from 10% to 40%
who's going to tunnel through the snow?
A home owner native garden at planting in Northern San Luis Obispo County, Atascadero/Paso Robles. - grid24_12
This was customer planted. Watering was done with a hose as needed. It's not so much as when, as how. When you water heavily at planting it seems to help a great deal.
A home owner planting after 4 years in Northern san Luis Obispo County, Atascadero/Paso Robles. - grid24_12
After 3 years and no irrigation system it looks pretty good. They put down a heavy layer of mulch and watered watered well when they planted. For more garden examples.
For more about planting.
For more about watering.
Drought tolerant plants.
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