Water-Wise Plants

Below you will find some lovely pictures of water-wise plants that do well in our area.  

This is not, by any measure, a complete list.  To find some helpful plant lists,

please click on the following links:

California Native Plant Society's Plant Database

UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars

San Jose Water Company's Water-Wise Plant Database


Santa Clara Valley Water District's Approved Plant List


PlantRight Guide to Better Plants


Allium (wild onion)

This water-wise beauty flowers in spring or early summer.  Full sun to part shade, good drainage, dry summer dormancy.  Some are California natives.  


This perennial (pictured: California aster) like full sun to part shade, and is attractive to pollinators.  Native to coastal California, they will go dormant in the summer and return with winter rains.    


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Ceanothus (wild lilac)

This evergreen shrub is native to western North America, with some being native to California.  They bloom in spring, like excellent drainage and sun to part shade.  They also need little to no summer water.  


Linum (blue flax)

Very drought tolerant, this California native likes full sun and good drainage.  


Eriogonum (wild buckwheat)

As you can see by this picture, buckwheat attracts pollinators.  Buckwheat, a perennial, likes full sun, good drainage and occasional water.  Native to the western United States.   

Fremontodendron (flannel bush)

Native to California, this drought-tolerant shrub flowers in the spring, likes full sun, excellent drainage and little water.


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Pictured is five-spot, a California native.  These annuals will flower in spring, and like sun or part-shade and good drainage.  


Pictured is bird's eye, a western U.S. native.  These annuals will flower in spring to summer, like full sun, good drainage and occasional water.  

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Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy)

California's beautiful state flower, it likes full sun, good drainage and no water.  

Achillea (yarrow)

Although not a California native, yarrow is a perennial that thrives in hot, dry climates.  It likes full sun, good drainage, occasional water and is attractive to pollinators.  


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Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon)

Native to California, this large shrub will sport clusters of white flowers in the early summer, turning to red berries in the fall and winter.  Enjoys full sun to part shade and little to no water.     

Stylomecon heterophylla (wind poppy)

A California native, the wind poppy blooms in spring to early summer.  Likes full sun to light shade, occasional water and excellent drainage.  Attractive to pollinators.     

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Eriogonum (wild buckwheat)

This shrubby perennial loves full sun and good drainage, with little water.  Loved by pollinators, it tolerates heat and drought nicely, as it's a native to the western U.S.     

Epilobium (California fuschia)

This perennial has gray-green leaves and colorful orange to red flowers in the summer and fall.  Enjoys full sun to part shade, good drainage and little water.  Hummingbirds, bees and butterflies are all visitors, it's native to western North America.  

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Sambucus mexicana (Mexican or blue elderberry)

Native to western North America, the elderberry is a fast-growing shrub or tree, with flowers in the spring turning to berries.  This plant enjoys full sun to light shade, and occasional to no water.  Birds are regular visitors.  


This annual has showy flowers in late spring to early summer, and enjoys full sun to part shade, good drainage and little to no water.  Native to western North America.   

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Asclepias (milkweed, butterfly weed)

Loved by butterflies, this perennial blooms in spring or summer and likes full sun, good drainage and occasional water.  Native to western North America, including California.   

Trichostema lanatum (wooly blue curls)

This evergreen shrub enjoys full sun, excellent drainage and no summer water.   

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