Today I am highlighting a few California native plants that provide a formal foundation for a home landscape. Planting a California native garden is a beautiful solution for the state’s water challenges because native plants reduce water consumption while also supporting nature.
If you have space in your home landscape, a Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) will provide a full canopy of shade while also supporting more species of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife than any other tree.
Coast Live Oaks can grow 40-feet-wide and 40-feet-tall, so be certain your garden has the space to support the tree when it reaches maturity.
These trees support many butterfly species, possibly as many as 122 species of butterflies and moths according to Calscape, including the California Sister butterfly shown below.
If your landscape is too small to host a native oak tree, consider a smaller native tree for habitat and beauty. The Toyon is an evergreen shrub/small tree that flowers in the springtime and produces bright red berries in the winter. Toyons grow from 8-feet-tall to 20-feet-tall, depending on the growing conditions.
Migrating birds feed on the Toyon’s red berries at Christmas time, and in the spring, butterflies feed on the nectar of the shrub’s white flowers.
The Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is a small ornamental native tree that grows 15-feet-tall and produces fragrant, pink flowers that hummingbirds love. This tree loses its leaves in the winter, but the showy flowers and delicate leaves make up for that through the spring and summer months.
I have highlighted just a few of the many lovely California native trees you can install to provide structure and elegance, as well as nature value, to your garden.
There are many other terrific California native trees beyond those highlighted here including Scrub Oaks, Englemann Oaks, California Sycamores, native Willows, and Elderberry trees. For more information, go to Calscape.org, type in your zip code, and search for native trees that grow in your area.
In the next blog post, I will feature small and medium-sized native shrubs that serve as companion plants to native trees.