Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

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By an edhat reader

I was hoping to go to a local nursery today but most are closed so figure I'd ask the ol' hat. I'm looking to plant a lot of drought-tolerant and bee/butterfly/hummingbird friendly plants in my yard and wanted to speak to some local nursery people on what flowers, plants, and bushes are good options for the Santa Barbara climate.

So, now I'll ask the edhatters. What have you all planted in your yard that's doing well, easy to maintain, and loves this weather. I'm on AltaMesa for reference.

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a-1661714775 Aug 28, 2022 12:26 PM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

Sempervivum succulents. The name says it all about hardiness. Don't know what particular species I have, but they sprout long stems with delicate coral pink and yellow flowers that hummingbirds love.

Basicinfo805 Aug 28, 2022 02:30 PM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

Here’s a winner - Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ aka Mexican sage. It’s everywhere around SB and Goleta, uses minimal water, looks great, and regenerates from the ground up a couple times a year when you whack it back. Great plant. Check out West Covina nursery.

popcorn Aug 29, 2022 06:27 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has a wonderful nursery stocked with native plants + knowledgeable sales staff. Also, you might receive inspiration by taking a stroll around SBBG's beautifully maintained grounds, especially up the hill to the planting beds by the conservation center.

Snorky Aug 29, 2022 06:46 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

I use this site as a guide can be narrowed down to zip (although there seems like a lot of overlap in areas). There also is the 'advanced' search feature, to narrow down some size, color preferences. I also recommend some "inspiration" by visiting SB Botanic gardens.

Babycakes Aug 29, 2022 07:33 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

I've had really good luck with Foxtail Agave and African Iris. For both, dig a shallow hole, pop 'em in....bit of water, and that's it. I do not water them and they both thrive in lousy (really lousy) soil.

rocket Aug 29, 2022 08:13 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

I also live on the Mesa, I've had good luck with Marine Blue sage and Mesa Red sage. I did have several Mexican sage plants, but they got to be just too big, and it was a hassle to trim them back to the ground a few times a year, as you must do to keep them looking fresh. Lavender has been good. Oh, and Mexican Lobelia.

greytfull Aug 29, 2022 08:35 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

You don't have to sacrifice beauty for "drought-tolerant" and "water-wise". We share the same climate as the lush Mediterranean landscape. Santa Barbara and Tuscany share similar temperate zones. Santa Barbara is NOT Arizona. Planting random succulents in sandy soil raises the temperature. Using lantana, lavender, agapanthus, sea statice,(all cool purples), santolina (yellow blossoms), sunflowers, Snow-in-Summer, white blossoms) gazanias (many colors) will make a beautiful, natural, landscape. Stick a big African Blue Basil plant just for bees, and you're done!

edney Aug 29, 2022 08:44 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

Cistus in white and pink. Tough coastal (will handle the salt in the fog). Little water once established.
Cistus is not a native.
Most ceanothus will handle the salt air and low water. So will manzanita, salvia Allan Chickering and the like. These are natives.
Aloes and agaves will work. Not native

When thinking about natives already on the mesa, look at the wild native area along Las Positas from Elings to the beach. Not very promising for the home garden.
Its a mix of oaks, coyote bush, leymus, poison oak, a few sages and rhus

When it comes to natives

ZeroHawk Aug 29, 2022 08:49 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

sage, lavender, salvia varieties, lantana, palms.... La Nina is petering out and El Nino is starting to slowly form. Predicting winter 2023 will be a very very wet one.

sacjon Aug 29, 2022 08:53 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

Lion's Tail (leonotis leonurus) is an awesome one! Has beautiful and interesting orange flower spheres at the end of the green leafy stalks. Also, we love the micro salvias (hot lips, etc) for low lying shrubs/fillers. I use a plant identifier app to take photos of plants I like and then identify and get care info on them. Great app! PictureThis - Plant Identifier.

Lucky 777 Aug 29, 2022 10:15 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

I think the all purpose best advice is to take walks around your neighborhood and see what is growing successfully in your neighbors yards. I was told when I moved to the Alta Mesa neighborhood that we have the best dirt in all of Santa Barbara because it is the primordial swamp behind the sand dunes that are the elevated area that is the actual Mesa. And as you no doubt have noticed if you break off a tiny piece of a succulent and stick it in the ground you pretty much can grow it here.

chico berkeley Aug 29, 2022 10:26 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

Zero- Don't know where you heard that but all indicators say La Ninia with a majority of storms gong above California and targeting Oregon and Washington States.
Speaking of El Ninio, Our property in Joseph Or. got 6 weeks straight of big rain and snow April and May.
El Ninio here has a spring like that and I really hope I'm wrong about 2023 but forecasts are for most weather skipping Central/Southern California and going north.

mtndriver Aug 29, 2022 02:12 PM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

Second the suggestion to visit the Botanic Garden's nursery--people there very helpful and knowledgeable. And the demonstration garden there for home landscaping should give you lots of inspiration. Native plants can be beautiful year-round--manzanitas, ceanothus varieties, lots of salvias. Supplement natives with great Mediterranean choices like Arbutus unedo or various lavendars, as well as succulents, and you can have a gorgeous garden.

nevison Aug 31, 2022 07:48 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

Glad to see so many people recommending the Botanic Garden Nursery. Our staff are happy to help answer any questions that you have and work hard to supply appropriate plants year-round for landscapes with the largest selection of native plants on the Central Coast. Thanks for the love!

Eggs Ackley Sep 03, 2022 10:14 AM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

Try native plants loved by pollinators: Hummingbird sage, white and purple sage. Chaparral penstemon, heart leaved penstemon, chia sage, Silk Tassel, Elderberry, monkey flower, alum root/coral bells, toyon, ceanothus, manzanita, globe mallows, snowberry, evergreen currant/island perfume, golden currant, chaparral currant, California honeysuckle. Giant coreopsis for the adventurous.

swarfmaster Sep 05, 2022 01:04 PM
Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants?

talk to Mike Tully at Terra Sol. Things such as Aloes and Agaves, trees such as Brachychiton species lend an exotic flair to any garden. Our front garden has survived the past year with only one good watering in June.

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