Drought tolerant plants for a  Downtown San Diego Garden.

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 www.mynativeplants.com 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 a few of the hundreds you can choose from.

Arctostaphylos glandulosa adamsii Laguna Manzanita flowers. - grid24_12
Manzanitas of Southern California
Artemisia californica, Canyon Gray Canyon, Grey Trailing Sagebrush - grid24_12
Artemisia californica Canyon Gray Trailing Sagebrush is an evergray shrub, 1ft high 4ft across. A gray groundcover that likes sun, good to fair drainage.
Asclepias fascicularis, Narrow-leaf milkweed with Swallowtail butterfly - grid24_12
Milkweeds can jazz up a native garden.
San Diego Mtn. Lilac, Ceanothus cyaneus grows well in coastal California in places like Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. - grid24_12
Southern California Lilacs, Ceanothus spp.
These Clematis were growing along the trail on top of Cuesta Ridge.climbing over Cercocarpus betuloides. - grid24_12
Clematis lasiantha, Pipestem Clematis
Here is a photo of an inflorescence of Comarostaphylis diversifolia, Summer Holly, with translucent urn-shaped flowers.  - grid24_12
Comarostaphylis diversifolia subsp. planifolia, Summer Holly
Cupressus forbesii, Tecate Cypress as a  hedge row. No water and the little trees look decent. Reports of 15 ft. in 3 years. - grid24_12
Cupressus forbesii Tecate Cypress
Tecate cypress is native to the southern California mountains looking down into Tijuana, Mexico.
Cliff buckwheat can be showy and hold it's flowers for months. - grid24_12
Eriogonum parvifolium, Cliff Buckwheat
A perennial, 2 ft. by 2 ft..
Lepechinia fragrans, Island Pitcher Sage grows on the island and from Ventura, through Los Angeles into the San Gabriel Mountains.  - grid24_12
Lepechinia fragrans, Fragrant Pitcher Sage
Malacothamnus densiflorus Many Flowered Bushmallow - grid24_12
Malacothamnus densiflorus Many Flowered Bushmallow
grows from San Diego up to the west slopes around Palm springs and west to Orange County.
Western Bluebird on Mahonia nevinii, (syn. Berberis nevinii) Nevin's Barberry berries. - grid24_12
Mahonia nevinii Nevin's Barberry is an evergreen shrub that grows slowly to 5 feet.
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
Rhus integrifolia, Lemonade Berry flower cluster. This is a great plant for coastal bluffs from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. In inner San Diego county it looks like a small oak tree with these flowers. - grid24_12
Rhus integrifolia, Leomonade Berry
A young Anna Hummingbird on Salvia Alpine, Cleveland Sage. Cleveland Sage is drought resistant and can look good with 7-8 inches of rainfall. Your native garden needs very little water in a drought  to  look and smell good. Tolerant of much abuse. - grid24_12
Sages, Salvias, photos, videos and descriptions of the plants native to California. 
Trichostema lanatum, Woolly Blue Curls used to grow native through the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Catalina Island, up through Thousand Oaks, Los Angeles, Riverside,  up to Monterey and south to San Diego.  - grid24_12
Trichostema lanatum, Woolly Blue Curls
California fuchsia works well in California gardens from San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and into Fresno. - grid24_12
California Fuchsia, Zauschneria or Epilobium is loved by hummingbirds, butterflies and people.
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Edited on Jan 17, 2013. Authors:
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