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Ok here are some of the native plants that you should have luck with in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys. These plants probably will make it with a little extra winter water if your rainfall drops below 15 inches, or you do not have a neighbor that waters. In town, with all the sod lawns, your plants should do fine after the first summer with nothing more than hosing the foliage off occasionally to remove smog.
Do not use drip irrigation! Your soils are high in salts and drip makes it much worse and drowns most native plants.
Mulch! Use either rock, shredded cedar or shredded redwood mulch. That also helps with the salt problem and also helps maintain moisture.
Do not amend the soil. These are not veggies.
Do not fertilize, your soils are already too fertile for most native plants.
There are a lot of other native plants that will work in your area, try mynativeplants.com for more.
Pale swallowtail on a Western Redbud - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos manzanita x densiflora, Austin Griffith's Manzanita grows to about 10 feet by 10  feet. - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos Austin Griffith's Manzanita
Harmony manzanita makes a nice knee high ground cover. - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos densiflora Harmony  Manzanita
The new growth of Sunset manzanita can be amazingly colorizing in a landscape.  - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos Sunset Manzanita
Ceanothus Joyce Coulter in a San Francisco garden. - grid24_12
Ceanothus Joyce Coulter
Ceanothus Mills Glory as groundcover - grid24_12
Ceanothus Mills Glory
Ray Hartman Ceanothus in full bloom. These plants were 12-15 foot tall and 15 foot wide. with no water in Atascadero. A Great big hedge. - grid24_12
Ceanothus Ray Hartman
Cercidium floridum, Palo Verde, sometimes called Blue Palo Verde. Without the flowers this native has a blue smoky silhouette. One of the few plants with any height out in the desert.   - grid24_12
Cercidium floridum, Palo Verde
Western Redbud flowers. - grid24_12
Cercis occidentalis, Redbud
This is a young Mountain Mahogany after a couple of years with no water. It is mixed in with Trichostema and Chamise here. But nearby it's mixed with scrub oak and Pitcher sage. - grid24_12
Mountain Mahogany
The lovely orchid-like, pink flowers and beige flower buds of Chilopsis linearis, Desert Willow, at Santa Margarita, California.  - grid24_12
Chilopsis linearis, Desert Willow
Diplacus longiflorus is sometimes called Mimulus aurantiacus, which is what they call almost all the monkey flowers. It's like everyone is Bob and Mary. - grid24_12
Diplacus longiflorus, Southern Monkey Flower
These buckwheats appeared to be growing quite well off of rainfall south of Lemore along Hwy 41. The only non-watered things other than tumbleweeds that were alive. - grid24_12
Eriogonum fasciculatum foliolosum, California Buckwheat
'Hollywood Flame' California Fuchsia with a deer grass behind it. - grid24_12

Muhlenbergia rigens, Deer Grass
Penstemon Margarita BOP pushed up against a rock. Native plants can be very pretty. - grid24_12
Penstemon Margarita BOP
Penstemon spectablis, Showy Monkey flower with an Anna Hummingbird. Hard to beleive this used to be common in the Santa Monica Mtns, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Eagle Rock  and most of Southern California. - grid24_12
Penstemon spectabilis, Showy Penstemon
Prosopis pubescens Screwbean Mesquite - grid24_12
Prosopis pubescens, Screwbean Mesquite
Tranquil Margarita is a beautiful coffee berry that looks very clean and neat in the ground. Wonderful for a small, 5 ft. hedge. - grid24_12
Rhamnus californica, Coffeeberry(all forms)
Salvia brandegei with Penstemon spectablis - grid24_12
Salvia brandegei, Brandegees Sage
Salvia Pozo Blue in an overwatered flower bed in Bakersfield. This sage will grow in most of California. - grid24_12
Salvia Pozo Blue
Front to back, Salvia Dara's Choice, Salvia Pt. Sal, Salvia Vicki Romo, Fremontia Pacific Sunset. The 'dead trees are Sycamores that defoliated because of late frost and a wet spring. There is no irrigation system here. In most of California you can have a native garden with little irrigation. - grid24_12
Salvia Pt. Sal
Salvia Vicki Romo sage flowers  are big and bold   - grid24_12
Salvia Vicki Romo
Sisyrinchium bellum, Blue-Eyed Grass - grid24_12
Sisyrinchium bellum, Blue-Eyed Grass
Desert Mallow and Ceanotus - grid24_12
Sphaeralcea ambigua, Desert Mallow
Zauschneria latifolia johnstonii, Aster chilensis and Chrysothamnus nauseosus all flower in late fall.
 - grid24_12
Zauschneria latifolia johnstonii, Bush California Fuchsia
California Fuchsia, Zauschneria californica mexicana ( or Epilobium cana) - grid24_12
Zauschneria californica mexicana
California fuchsia works well in California gardens from San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and into Fresno. - grid24_12
California fuchsia (other red ones will work)
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Edited on Dec 16, 2012. Authors:
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