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NEWS: Plant More Natives: Calflora

<< Rachel: plant name should be in italics>>Eriogonum umbellatum. Photo attribution: Walter Siegmund [CC BY-SA 3.0/)]

California Natives are drought–tolerant or low water plants. They are fire-resistant; encourage insects and wildlife; provide erosion control; and usually require minimal maintenance. What’s not to like? Yet finding the right native is not always easy. As with any landscape design, using natives requires matching the plants you love to the sun, soil, space, and drainage in your garden. The Calflora Database, which serves as a repository for information on California wild plants, was designed in part to assist gardeners with selecting the right native plants for their gardens. Here are some of the ways it can help:

Find Plant Characteristics

Use the Name Wizard on the home page to locate the plant, or plants, that interest you. Click on any of the results to see a list of plant characteristics including when it blooms, the soil it prefers, temperature tolerance, hardiness zone, and associated organisms such as bees and butterflies. If you do not know the name, you can search by a variety of general plant characteristics, including

  • Annual, perennial, biennial

  • Herb, grasslike, shrub, tree, fern, vine

  • Native or not native to California

Find Natives to Purchase for your Garden

The Planting Guide feature, available from the left hand menu bar on the home page, will take you to a map of California. Use the map to indicate where you live or where you want to plant. The application will then find all commercially available native plants appropriate to the elevation, climate, and soil of your chosen site. The results are divided up by lifeform: herbs, shrubs, grasses, etc.

Search for Natives Thriving Locally

Calflora also offers a What Grows Here? option that allows you to search for native plants in a particular area. Using the map provided, zoom in on a town or locality, e.g. San Diego, click on Layers at the top of the map, select zip code from the drop down menu, and then click on your zip code. The results will show you what grows locally.

This amazing database is provided to us by a non-profit organization. They have an app that will let you add your own observations to the database. Try out Calflora. You are sure to be impressed.

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