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Our Favorite California Native Evergreens

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

When considering plants for a yard, we at Secret Garden Landscapes always love to incorporate lots of native plants. We especially love to incorporate California native evergreen plants as they help our yards look good even in wintertime (evergreen = leaves year-round). The evergreen plants listed below all provide important wildlife habitat but also are drought tolerant, easy to care for and have year-round appeal.

California Lilac (Ceanothus spp.)

Oh, California Lilac how much I love you! Seriously though, I really love using this plant as it is just so beautiful, hardy, and meant to grow in our area (Win-Win-Win). This brilliantly colorful California native has amazingly glossy green leaves that add so much richness in the wintertime and throughout the year. In addition, these plants are covered with an abundance of fragrant flowers (blue, purple, white depending on species) when they bloom. California lilacs bloom in the spring, summer, or fall (oftentimes 2x/year).

Manzanita (Arctostaphylus spp.)

Manzanita is another one my all-time favorites. The cinnamon-colored bark and small rounded leaves make it stunning at all times. The petite bell-shaped flowers bloom in the winter to early spring providing overwintering food for native wildlife. In the spring and summer these flowers turn to berries that feed the local bird populations.

Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum)

Sword ferns naturally grow as under-story plantings so they are perfect for adding color to otherwise dark areas of the yard. I especially love to use these under redwoods. Sword ferns need little water, minimal care and no trimming. Just plant it and enjoy its lushness throughout the year (Zone 9).

Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica)

This fast-growing evergreen shrub has small flowers that bloom in spring. In late spring, these blooms turn into berries that resemble those that are used to make your daily coffee. The berries are initially red but turn black as they ripen and become a bird favorite. This plant is great in that it can handle a wide range of soil and site conditions.

To learn more about the benefits/importance of including native plants check out our blog post "Our Yards Provide Us With an Immense Opportunity".

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