Water Smart Plant Picker

Water conservation is an essential consideration when designing and managing Sonoma and Marin County landscapes. Our area enjoys a Mediterranean climate characterized by wet winters and long, dry summers with little rainfall. Plants that are suited or adapted to local conditions not only use less water but generally grow more successfully and robustly, with fewer insect and disease problems. They ultimately create a healthier, more beautiful and more sustainable landscape.

Below is a hand selected plant list for Sonoma and Marin counties that displays mostly native species that will thrive in our climate. You can search, filter and save specific plants. A login (Facebook or Email) is required to save a plant list. No account is needed to copy and share links to individual plants.

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Yucca spp


Evergreen shrubs and perennials that grow over much of North America and feature sword-shaped leaves. Yuccas typically produce flowers on tall stalks in spring. Some yuccas are stemless while others have trunks and grow to tree size.

Examples: Banana yucca (Y. baccata, 3-4’ x 4-5’) eventually forms a short trunk. Adam’s needle (Y. filamentosa, 2-3’ x 4’) has loose fibers at the edge of leaves. Others are Spanish dagger (Y. gloriosa, 10’ x 8’), beaked yucca (Y. rostrata, 12-15’), and our Lord’s candle (Y. whipplei, 2-4’ x 3-6’), native to Southern California and Baja California.

  • Water: Very LowLow
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Leaf Color: Blue GreenGray Green
  • Flower Color: White
  • Blooming Season (s): Spring
  • Featured On A Local List? : Garden SenseLandscape Templates

Zauschneria [Epilobium] spp

California Fuchsia

Group of highly variable, semi-evergreen subshrubs and herbaceous perennials distributed over a wide geographic area, including California. Epilobiums bloom in late summer with tubular flowers providing a food source for hummingbirds migrating south and are also attractive to bees and butterflies. Epilobiums range from low-growing groundcovers to upright plants of several feet. Flower colors include orange-red, white, pink, and salmon. Most can be pruned back in late autumn to maintain a more compact form and be rejuvenated for the following year.

Low-growing examples: E. ‘Schieffelin’s Choice’; E. canum ‘Calistoga’, a selection from Phil Van Soelen from California Flora Nursery from the Palisades east of Calistoga; E. canum ‘Cloverdale’, a selection from U.C. Santa Cruz Arboretum from along the Russian River north of Cloverdale with exceptionally orange flowers; E. c. ‘Everett’s Choice’, E. c. ‘Summer Snow’ with white flowers, and E. septentrionale ‘Select Mattole’, a somewhat redder flowering selection that is more shade-tolerant.

Upright examples: E. c. ‘Bowman’s Hybrid’ (2-3’), E. c. ‘Catalina’ (3-4’), E. c. ‘Liz’s Choice’ (3’) selected by Milo Baker Chapter CNPS Fellow Liz Parsons, E. c. ‘Marin Pink’ (2’) with pink flowers.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Gray GreenGreen
  • Flower Color: OrangePinkRedWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): Fall
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Featured On A Local List? : Garden SenseLandscape TemplatesMMWDSCLLLSonoma Super Star