Over the past few years, California has been dealt its share of drought. With scarce water and the beautiful sun beaming down during daylight hours, yards and gardens have been at a bit of a disadvantage. To keep your yard from looking like Death Valley, drought tolerant plants are an ideal alternative to those testy patches of grass and wilting water-sensitive plants. But that doesn’t mean you’re limited to a few brambly bushes and various cacti. Here we’ll take a quick nature walk through many drought-tolerant plants that you can use to grow a beautiful, water-wise garden that will hold up under the San Diego sun.
Rockrose – This special shrub has yellow, pink, or white flowers that open up in the morning, and then lose their petals throughout the day, only to replenish them on the next.
Rosemary – Both lush and fragrant, rosemary can not only decorate your garden, but its fragrant and flavorful leaves can decorate your dinner as well.
Manzanita – Manzanitas have clusters of small flowers that can bring hummingbirds, butterflies, and more to your garden.
Kangaroo Paw – This plant has tube-like flowers that grow dense hairs, looking similar to the paw of the kangaroo it is named after.
Sunflower – An obvious choice for sunny San Diego, sunflowers are beautiful, drought-resistant, and enjoyed by many.
Spanish Lavender – This plant is both hardy and adorable, producing flowers that look like purple pineapples with small bunny ears on top.
Succulents and Vines
Bougainvillea – This vine can be found blanketing the restaurants in Old Town and adorning many San Diego yards. The bougainvillea has terminating leaves that take on the appearance of flowers as they change color.
Aloe – A fan favorite among sunbathers, aloe is a beautiful plant whose leaves can double as a sunburn salve.
Hens-and-Chicks – These small succulents grow close to the ground in a rosette shape, banding together in clusters and producing many offshoots.
Silver Carpet – This non-flowering groundcover has soft, silvery, velvety leaves that make a great garden blanket.
Carmel Creeper – The Carmel Creeper is a popular spreading shrub with bright green oval leaves and tiny light blue flowers.
Elijah Blue Fescue – This plant comes as an adorable little blue ball of spiky grass, perfect for decorating a yard.
New Zealand Flax – These bundles are large, strap-leafed bundles of bold, grassy fronds.
Pink Muhly Grass – This grass produces beautiful light pink tufts that are reminiscent of cotton candy.
Strawberry Tree – The strawberry tree has gorgeous, large wide leaves and even produces edible fruit.
Chitalpa – The Chitalpa tree was bred to be hardy and produces large, beautiful blooms.
Fruitless Olive – This gorgeous and resilient ornamental tree does not produce flowers, and therefore does not contribute to pollen allergies.
This is only a small sampling of water-wise plants you can use in your yard and garden. Check out this handy guide from the San Diego County Water Authority for more information.