Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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

Drought tolerant native plants for the Los Angeles Basin.

In the 1500's California went through an 80 year drought. During the winter there were blizzards in Central California, the Salinas river froze solid where it flowed into the Monterey Bay. During the summer there was no humidity, no rain, and temperatures in the hundreds for many months. During one year in the 1840's there was no measurable rain in Santa Barbara. (The highest measured rainfall in an hour also was in Southern California, 11 inches in an hour) The same native plants that lived through that are still on the hillsides of California. California native plants that do not normally live in the creeks and ponds are very drought tolerant.
The best way to find your plant is to check and do not water at all. But if you want a simple list of drought tolerant plants that can work for your garden here are some for the Los Angeles Basin.

If you want to see what you're missing in the Los Angeles area, find an early 1940's Republic western like Sheriff of Sundown, with Allan Lane. They were largely filmed in Chatsworth. By the 1950's you could see the weeds had replaced much of the vegetation.

Pigeon Point on an installation in Malibu, no irrigation. You really do not need much irrigation. This was a full blown Coastal Commission mitigation we did and they included it on their tour. - grid24_12
This is an old photo of an installation in Malibu that we had to get past the Coastal Commission. They gave us some grief about it as they wanted all the stuff the fire department wanted removed. LA County fire seems to in a state of non-reality. Coastal commission ended up being fine to work with and used our planting as demonstration garden. The rules were, native in the area, and no water for at least 3 years. So we planted it with no water, period.
Adenostoma fasciculatum Prostrate Chamise - grid24_6
Adenostoma fasciculatum Prostrate Chamise Prostrate Chamise
A dwarf Chamise that stay smaller than the regular variety.
Artemisia ludoviciana,  White Sagebrush leaves - grid24_6
Artemisia ludoviciana White Sagebrush is a rhizomatous perennial native from Baja to Ontario Canada and down to Arkansas.
Pozo Surf or Parking Strip without water for years, about at about 8 years old. It seems to grow about 60 cm, 25-30 inches high and 6 ft., 2 meters  wide. The customers in San Diego love this plant. - grid24_12

Baccharis pilularis consanguinea, Pozo Surf Lowly Coyote brush is an attempt to develop some Southern California forms of native plants.
Christmas berry or Toyon with berries is what Hollywood was named after. Toyon will grow in most of Los Angeles with no water after first year. - grid24_6
Heteromeles arbutifolia Toyon or as it's sometimes called, Christmas Berry, or Hollywood.
Silver Bush Lupine, Lupinus albifrons - grid24_6
Lupinus albifrons, Silver Bush Lupine is a 3-5' perennial with flowers 3" blue spikes on a white-silver bush.
Western Bluebird on Mahonia nevinii, (syn. Berberis nevinii) Nevin's Barberry berries. - grid24_6
Mahonia nevinii Nevin's Barberry is an evergreen shrub that grows slowly to 5 feet then can slowly become a slightly larger tree-shrub.
Lepechinia fragrans, Island Pitcher Sage grows on the island and from Ventura, through Los Angeles into the San Gabriel Mountains.  - grid24_6
Lepechinia fragrans, Wallace's Pitcher Plant
An evergreen perennial shrub like Lepechinia calycina but flower is pink and leaves a little fuzzier.
Mirabilis californica, wishbone flower. - grid24_6
Mirabilis californica Wishbone Bush is a trailing to ascending perennial sub-shrub with many stems arising from base, pretty, rose-pink flowers, undergoes dormancy after flowering.
The Pale Swallowtail butterfly loves Monardella villosa, Coyote Mint.  - grid24_12
Monardella villosa Coyote Mintis a two-foot-high perennial with gray-green leaves and light purple clusters of flowers in summer. This Monardella is native to the California coast ranges. This coyote mint likes part ...
Ripe fruit on the Hollyleaf  Cherry, Prunus ilicifolia - grid24_6

Prunus ilicifolia Holly-Leafed Cherry is an evergreen shrub to tree.
Rhus ovata, Sugar Bush in the garden. What a great hedge plant. Although it is sometimes called flammable, it is less flammable than most commonly watered garden shrubs, and it needs no water in most of Southern California, in particular Los Angeles. - grid24_6
Rhus ovata Sugar Bush
Rhus ovata, Sugar Bush is an eight foot evergreen shrub that can grow to twelve feet.
Ribes specosum, Fuchsia flowered Gooseberry,  in flower with Anna Hummingbird up in left corner - grid24_6
Ribes speciosum Fuchsia-Flowering Gooseberry
Fuchsia flowering or fuchsia flowering gooseberry is a four foot nearly evergreen shrub with red fuchsia-like flowers in Jan.-May.
Sisyrinchium bellum, Blue-Eyed Grass flowers are lavender blue. - grid24_6
Sisyrinchium bellum Blue-Eyed Grass is a 1 foot tall perennial with 1 inch blue flowers in Jan.-June. It has small, iris-like leaves. It is widely distributed in California on open, grassy slopes.
Venegasia carpesioides, Canyon Sunflower can be found on the north slopes and peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains and throughout greater Los Angeles. - grid24_6
Venegasia carpesioides, Canyon Sunflower grows on north slopes among rocks.
California fuchsia works well in California gardens from San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and into Fresno. - grid24_6
California Fuchsia, Zauschneria or Epilobium
is loved by hummingbirds, butterflies and people.
Bert filming Los Angeles Basin from the Santa Susana Mts.. - grid24_6
Where's baldo?

Native plants are lacking in most of the Los Angeles basin. The few that are left are being burned and fire prone weeds replacing them.

A seasonally dry creek in Hahamongna between Pasadena, La Canada and Altadena