Top 4 Native Plants for the Southern California Garden

By Huntington Ranch Garden apprentice, Ellen Herra


Of the many wonderful native plants grown at The Huntington, four stand out as favorites for the drought-conscious home gardener­. Coyote Brush, California Buckwheat, Salvias, and the Coastal Sunflower create lush foliage and blooms that can handle the richer soils and supplemental watering of a cultivated landscape.


Baccharis pilularis, commonly known as Coyote Brush, is a hardy and vibrant plant whose inconspicuous flowers bloom from August to December providing a late season food source for insect pollinators.


Eriogonum fasciculatum, or California Buckwheat, is a Huntington Ranch Garden favorite and can be grown in a drought tolerant area of the garden or near irrigated plants. If it receives supplemental water during the summer, it will look lush with green leaves and white flower stalks that later dry to a deep rusty brown.


Salvias are another variety of California native plants that can be used to add beautiful and beneficial flowers to your garden. Their spear-like flowers stalks are visited by pollinating insects and hummingbirds while their fragrant leaves can be used for culinary purposes. Try the prostrate ‘Bee’s Bliss’ and Salvia clevelandii ‘Winifred Gilman’ hybrids.


Encelia californica, or the California Coastal Sunflower, can handle full to part sun and is more tolerant of summer watering than many Southern California native plant species. Its bright yellow flowers will have your garden buzzing with life and color.


From left to right: Coyote Brush, California Buckwheat, Salvias, California Coastal Sunflower.

From left to right: Coyote Brush, California Buckwheat, Salvias, California Coastal Sunflower.

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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