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Drought tolerant native plants for a San Luis Obispo area 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 native plants that can work for your San Luis Obispo garden here are a few of the hundreds you can choose from..
Acer macrophyllum, Big Leaf Maple with fall leaf color - grid24_12
Acer macrophyllum,  Big Leaf Maple
Harmony manzanita is  a selection of the Arctostaphylos densiflora. This is a truly California native plant. - grid24_12
Manzanitas are easy and lively in most Bay area gardens.
Asclepias fascicularis, Narrow-leaf milkweed with Swallowtail butterfly - grid24_12
Milkweeds can jazz up a native garden.
An old  unwatered  groundcover of Baccharis pilularis pilularis, Pigeon Point - grid24_12
Pigeon Point Dwarf Coyote bush can make the appearance of a lawn with no irrigation system.
Ceanothus Concha has many colors, shades, and  tones. Some years the plants are more reddish purple, some years bright blue, some years larger flowers, some years more smaller flowers. Always beautiful. - grid24_12
Ceanothus, California lilac is a show stopper.
Pale swallowtail on a Western Redbud - grid24_12
Cercis occidentalis Western Redbud
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
Monkey flowers for California gardens
Hummingbirds will love your flowers, and so will you.
California Buckwheat, Eriogonum fasciculatum foliolosum at Santa Margarita - grid24_12
Pictures and descriptions of California buckwheats
Eriophyllum confertiflorum, Golden Yarrow, makes the prettiest little burst of yellow from spring through early summer (depending on your location) in the dryland native garden throughout most of California. - grid24_12
Eriophyllum confertiflorum, GoldenYarrow
Grindelia stricta venulosa, this  Gum Plant makes a small ground cover on coastal bluffs. - grid24_12
Grindelia stricta venulosa Coastal Groundcover Gum Plant
is a great plant to mix with Baccharis Pigeon Point and Penstemon Margarita BOP t ...
Garrya elliptica 'James Roof' - Coast Silk Tassel, the male flowers, catkins, can be a foot long on an interesting bush that can be wonderful hedge.  - grid24_12
Garrya elliptica, Silk tassel
Climbing Penstemon, Heart leaved Keckiella, or Heartleaf Keckiella, Keckiella cordifolia  is hanging over our driveway and is native from about Santa Margarita  south to San Diego. This Native Penstemon was all over the north and east slopes of Los Angeles and parts of Southern California. A great addition to a native garden. - grid24_12
Keckiella cordifolia, Climbing Penstemon
Lepechinia calycina, California Pitcher Plant, has lovely cream flowers that are sometimes tinged with pink/lavender. - grid24_12
Lepechinia is a 5-8' tall and 3-6' wide evergreen perennial or shrub with white digitalis-like flowers in April to June.
The Pale Swallowtail butterfly loves Monardella villosa, Coyote Mint.  - grid24_12
Monardella villosa Coyote Mint is 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 ...
Muhlenbergia rigens,  Deer Grass, is shown here with flowering stalks on the edge of a garden path. This native grass has all sorts of uses. - grid24_12
Muhlenbergia rigens Deer Grass is a 3 foot perennial with 2 foot plumes rising above the plant. It looks like a small pampas grass but without the bad leaf cuts and the aggressive seeding.
Our Penstemon 'Margarita BOP' with a swallowtail butterfly - grid24_12
Penstemons for California gardens
California Penstemons that grow in DRY areas. These Penstemons will grow in California without much water.
White chaparral currant  - grid24_12
California ribes, gooseberries are spiny and currants are spineless with flower clusters.
Rhamnus californica Tranquil Margarita Tranquil Coffeeberry - grid24_12
Rhamnus californica Tranquil Margarita Coffeeberry was selected from a stand in the Lompoc area and is gorgeous.
hummingbird sage flower closeup - grid24_12
Sages, Salvias, photos, videos and descriptions of the plants native to California.
Yerba Buena, Satureja douglasii is a beautiful flat green ground cover that smells good and some use as tea. - grid24_12
Satureja douglasii Yerba Buena is a creeping flat perennial that can spread to 3' but is easily held to 1'. Yerba Buena is found in woods near the coast and coast ranges from Los Angeles to British Columbia.
Sisyrinchium bellum, Blue-Eyed Grass flowers are lavender blue. - grid24_12
Sisyrinchium bellum Blue-Eyed Grass is a 1 foot tall perennial.
Symphoricarpos albus laevigatus, Common Snowberry berries. - grid24_12
Symphoricarpos albus laevigatus Common Snowberry is a chin-high, deciduous shrub
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
This California fuchsia is a fire red thing with red Bert's Bluff flowers. Native plants are amazing! Naturally! This planting was in San Luis Obispo in heavy adobe soil. - grid24_12
California Fuchsia, Zauschneria or Epilobium is loved by hummingbirds, butterflies and people. California fuchsia plants grow will in most California gardens with no additional water.
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Edited on Jan 03, 2014. Authors:
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