Resources

Here are some resources for pollinator-friendly, drought-tolerant native plants:

Zones

Most gardening books, catalogs, seed packets, and plant tags refer to plant hardiness zone, climate zone, or growing zone. In California, the most commonly used plant hardiness systems are:

Location Sunset Zone USDA Zone
Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy, and Hollister 14 9b-10a
Aromas, Prunedale 16 9b
Salinas, Soledad 15 9b

 

Things To Consider

  • It’s Not a Crime To Add Non-Natives
  • Think Long Term
  • Remember the Seasons
  • Maintenance
  • Keep It Real

Sweet Acacia  (Acacia farnesiana)

Importance to Bees: Moderate
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Tree, Native
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Open, Mounding, Low-branching
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water Needs: Low
Height: 20 ft. – 25 ft.
Width: 20 ft. – 25 ft.

Coast Oak  (Quercus agrifolia)

Importance to Bees: Moderate
Food Source: Pollen
Plant Type: Tree, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Low-branching, Dense
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Insignificant
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 25 ft. – 45 ft.
Width: 30 ft. – 40 ft.

Yankee Point Wild Lilac (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus ‘Yankee Point’)

Importance to Bees: Moderate
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Arching
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Blue
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 2 ft. – 3 ft.
Width: 10 ft. – 12 ft.

Bottlebrush (Callistemon)

Importance to Bees: Moderate
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Tree or Shrub, Non-Native
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Spring and Summer
Flower Color: Red
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Frost, Aridity, All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 20 ft. – 25 ft.
Width: Depends on Training

Coffeeberry (Frangula californica)

Importance to Bees: Moderate
Food Source: Nectar
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading, Mounding
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Insignificant, Green
Flower Season: Spring
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 8 ft. – 10 ft.
Width: 8 ft. – 10 ft.

California buckwheat  (Eriogonum fasciculatum)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: Nectar
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Dense
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Pink, White
Flower Season: Spring and Summer
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water Need: Low
Height: 2 ft. – 4 ft.
Width:  3 ft. – 6 ft.

Toyon  (Heteromeles arbutifolia)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Height: 12 ft. – 25 ft.
Width: 12 ft. – 18 ft.

Cleveland Sage  (Salvia Clevelandii)

Importance to Bees: Moderate
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Summer
Flower Color: purple
Soil Adaptations: Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 3 ft.
Width: 3 ft. – 5 ft.

Manzanita  (Arctostaphylos)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading, Mounding
Foliage Color: Pale green, Blue green
Flower Color: Pink, White
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 3 ft. – 4 ft.
Width: 5 ft. – 6 ft.

Deer Grass  (Muhlenbergia rigens)

Plant Type: Grass, Native
Foliage Character: Semi-deciduous
Habit: Robust, Mounding, Arching
Growth Rate: Fast
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Cream
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. – 4′ (to 5′ with flowers)
Width: 4 ft. – 5 ft. (to 6 ft. with flowers)

Ashyleaf Buckwheat  (Eriogonum cinereum)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Foliage Color: Gray green
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Clay soil
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. – 5 ft.
Width: 4 ft. – 6 ft.

Rosemary  (Salvia rosmarinus)

Importance to Bees: Minor
Food Source: Nectar
Plant Type: Shrub, Non-Native
Foliage: Evergreen
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Spring - Fall
Flower Color: blue
Soil Adaptations
: Well Drained
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 3 ft – 6 ft

.

Russian Sage  (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Importance to Bees: Minor
Food Source: Nectar
Plant Type: Herbaceous Perrenial
Flower Season: Summer, Fall
Flower Color: blue
Soil Adaptations: Variable
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 2 ft – 4 ft
Width: 3 ft – 3 ft

.

Mustard / Rapeseed  (Brassica napus)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Weed, Non-Native
By-Product: Canola Oil
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color: Yellow
Soil Adaptations
: Clay or Whatever
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height:  Up to 3 ft.

.

Lacy Phacelia  (PhaceliaTanacetifolia)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: Nectar
Plant Type: Flower, Non-Native
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color: blue/purple
Soil Adaptations
: Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 2 ft.
Highly Invasive

California Poppy  (Eschscholzia californica)

Importance to Bees: Minor
Food Source: Pollen
Plant Type: Flower, State Flower
Habit: Anywhere
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color:
orange
Soil Adaptations
: Whatever
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Highly Invasive

Purple Coneflower  (Echinacea purpurea)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: All Day Nectar
Plant Type: Flower, Native
Habit: Anywhere
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color: pink/purple
Soil Adaptations
: Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low

Indian Blanket Flower  (Gailliardia)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: Nectar
Plant Type: Flower, Sunflower Family
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Summer
Flower Color: red/orange
Soil Adaptations
: Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 2 ft.

Sunflower Red Sun  (Tithonia rotundifolia)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Flower
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Summer
Flower Color: yellow/orange
Soil Adaptations
: Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 5 ft. – 8 ft.

Coreopsis  

Importance to Bees: Minor
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Flower, Sunflower Family
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Summer
Flower Color: yellow
Soil Adaptations
: Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 18 in. to 24 in.

Coulter’s Matilija Poppy  (Romneya coulteri)

Importance to Bees: Minor
Food Source: Nectar and Pollen
Plant Type: Shrub, Non-Native
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Spring, Summer
Flower Color: white
Soil Adaptations
: Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 6 ft – 8 ft
Width: 6 ft – 8 ft.
Invasive and Toxic to Livestock

Yarrow  (Achillea)

Importance to Bees and Pollinators: Major
Food Source: Nectar, pollen
Plant Type: Herb, Native
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Spring - Fall
Flower Color: white, yellow, gold, pink, or red
Soil Adaptations
: Garden
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Medium
Height: 2 ft – 3 ft

Borage  (Borago officinalis)

Importance to Bees: Major
Food Source: Nectar
Plant Type: Herb, Non-Native
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Spring - Fall
Flower Color: blue/purple
Soil Adaptations
: Garden
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 2 ft – 3 ft

Australian Fuschia  (Corea alba)

Importance to Bees: Major
Wildlife: Beneficials, Butterflies, Other birds
Plant Type: Bush
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Spring - Fall
Flower Color: white
Exposure Adaptations: Low to half sun, shade
Water needs: Low
Height: 8 ft
Deer resistant, evergreen
UC Master Gardeners

Spanish Lavender  (Lavandula stoechas 'Otto Quast')

Importance to Bees: Major
Wildlife: Beneficials, Bees, Butterflies
Plant Type: Bush
Habit: Open
Flower Season: Spring - Fall
Flower Color: purple
Exposure Adaptations: Full sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 1 - 2ft
Deer resistant, evergreen
UC Master Gardeners

Rose 'Happenstance'  (Rosa 'Happenstance')

Importance to Bees: Major
Wildlife: Beneficials, Bees
Flower Season: Spring - Fall
Flower Color: Light yellow to white
Exposure Adaptations: Full sun
Water needs: Low
Height: 3 ft. tall and wide with regular pruning
UC Master Gardeners

Butterfly Rose (Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis')

Importance to Bees: Major
Wildlife: Beneficials, Bees
Flower Season: Summer
Flower Color: Opens orange then turns pink and finally maroon as it ages
Exposure Adaptations: Full to half sun
Water needs: Low
Size:8 ft. to 10 ft. tall and wide
UC Master Gardeners

Partridge Feather  (Tanacetum densum amani)

Importance to Bees: Major
Wildlife: Beneficials, Bees
Plant Type: Groundcover
Flower Season: Summer
Flower Color: Yellow
Exposure Adaptations: Full to half sun
Water needs: Low - moderate
Size: 6 - 8 in. high, spreading slowly to make a mat about 1 1/2 ft. wide
UC Master Gardeners

Thyme  (Thymus vulgaris)

Importance to Bees: Moderate
Wildlife: Beneficials, Deer Resistant
Plant Type: Groundcover
Flower Season: Summer
Flower Color: White
Exposure Adaptations: Full to half sun
Water needs: Low - moderate
Size: 3 in. high and 3 ft. wide
UC Master Gardeners

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