Selecting the Right Plants
The good news is there are 1,000’s of different kinds of
beautiful plants that thrive in our semi-arid climate.
The bad news is there are 1,000’s of different kinds of beautiful plants that thrive in our semi-arid climate!
To help you narrow your choices, we assembled our favorite plant lists. Plants shown on these lists are eligible for inclusion in your L2G landscape.
Did You Use One of Our Free Designs?
For our free landscape designs, click here. Then look for the recommended plant list that comes with each design.
Top 40 L2G Plants
It turns out that many of our successful L2G projects used the same plants. Why? Because the plants tend to be beautiful, hardy, easy to find at nurseries and are not very expensive. For a list of top 40 plants, click here.
Water Department’s Demonstration Garden
You are invited to drop by our drought-tolerant demonstration garden, located at 1800 E Wardlow Road, LB 90807, where you’ll find a tremendous variety of beautiful plants.
On-line, Searchable Plant Databases
Here are a few of our favorite searchable drought-tolerant plant databases.
- LA Coastal Gardens plant list where you can save your favorite plants list
- BeWaterWise.com has a couple of very useful sites:
- California natives from Tree of Life Nursery
- California natives from Las Pilitas Nursery searchable database
- California natives from Theodore Payne Foundation, search by plant or by the type of garden you would like to create (Hummingbird garden, seasonal blooms, etc.)
Visit Your Local Nurseries
Local nurseries are a great place to see the live plants. Click here for a list of our partnering local nurseries offering discounts to approved Lawn to Garden participants.
Choosing the right plants will be one of the toughest decisions you make. There are almost too many potential factors to consider. This is where spending time at nurseries, on the internet, and observing what grows well in your neighborhood will really pay off.
When selecting plants for your garden, it is important to (1) understand the characteristics (such as the amount of sunlight) of the location to determine what plants are suited for that area and (2) understand the water needs of existing plants in that location – to make sure your additions can be placed on the same watering cycle.
Some important things to consider:
- If you have clay soil, certain plants may never do well
- Whether the garden is predominantly in sun or shade
- How hardy do the plants have to be (do you have a green thumb, or should the plants be nearly indestructible?)
- Are you looking to create a garden of a certain theme, such as a hummingbird or butterfly garden, or succulent garden, or capture a southwestern U.S. style or casual coastal?
- Do the colors or plants need to complement your home’s design or exterior paint?
- Color of foliage and color of blooms and time of year of the blooms
- How tall and wide should plants be when mature (usually taller as you get close to tall structures such as the house, smaller as you get closer to smaller “structures” such as sidewalks and walkways)?
- How much variety or uniformity of color, size and shape are you looking for?
- Are the plants evergreen or deciduous?
- Can you benefit from deciduous trees near south-facing walls, which help warm the house in the winter and keep it cool in the summer?
- Do the plants attract critters you might not like, such as bees?
- Are members of your family allergic to certain plants?
- Can plants you’re considering be toxic to kids or pets?
- Avoid invasive plants
California Natives Links: