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3 Ways to Build a Beautiful California Friendly Garden

Autumn is the perfect season to start a California Friendly garden. The soil is still warm, which helps the root system of young plants grow healthy and strong, and the outdoor temperature turns cooler, putting less stress on the new plantings. Even better, fall is water-wise—shorter days, milder temperatures, and the occasional rain shower means you won’t need to water as often!

But the best reason to go California Friendly is the garden itself. From monkey flower and hummingbird trumpets to sea pinks and sundrops, Southern California has no shortage of native plants to keep your garden gorgeous all year round. Far less thirsty than many exotic varieties, those local beauties need minimal irrigation—a huge help in reducing your water use and doing your part to deal with the drought.

Planting California Friendly helps preserve biodiversity in Southern California by providing food for our local birds and bugs. And because California Friendly plants have naturally more resistant to local pests, you can cut way back on pesticides. That saves you money and prevents pesticide-laced runoff from washing into storm drains and ending up in our local creeks, rivers and the ocean.

So dust off your gardening gloves and get planting.

Here, three tips to help your garden grow:

  • Know your options. From low-light loving Douglas Iris to gorgeous ground covers like Pigeon Point, there’s a native plant to fit all your needs. The County and many OC Cities offer classes, valuable advice, and can point you to nurseries to find the right California Friendly plant for you. Jump on over to the events page to learn more.
  • Forget the fertilizer. In many cases, a layer of mulch will do the trick when it comes to keeping soil healthy in your California Friendly garden. By adding fertilizer to the mix, you run the risk of overnourishing plants and ultimately cutting their lifespan short. Plus, snubbing chemical fertilizer is another great way to curb stormwater runoff and protect our local waterways.
  • Be patient. Established California Friendly plants tend to be drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, but young plants need extra attention for the first year or two. Gardeners actually have a saying about California Friendly plants: The first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap. Consult a nursery or plant-savvy source to find out how frequently to water and learn ways to protect the newbies.

Want an answer to a specific question or even more detailed information? Feel free to reach out directly to the Master Gardeners Hotline by clicking the button below!

UCCE Master Gardeners Hotline

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