Plant Feature: Attracts Butterflies


Genus: Aeonium

Succulents grown for distinctive rosette forms topping spikes that range in height. There is also a wide variety of foliage colors available including vibrant yellow-green shades, muted gray-greens, deep blackish purples and some are green in center with red edges. Aeonium are related to and at times mistaken for echeverias. Aeonium do well in partial and full sun but can suffer from foliage burn under harshest condition. The plants are only moderately drought and frost tolerant. New plants can be easily propagated from cuttings.


Genus: Agapanthus

Spikes of flowers in mid-spring offer dramatic forms that resemble fireworks. The foliage retains a glossy appearance with little upkeep and water throughout the season. In some areas, blue agapanthus are so heavily used along highways that home gardeners eschew them as too common. In these cases, dwarf plants and those with white, dark purple or pink flowers bring an unexpected look. Agapanthus do well in partial shade to full sun in all but the hottest summer gardens.


Genus: Allium

This flowering bulb produces starburst blooms on long stems. Primary allium variations are color, bloom size and height. Most varieties do well in sunny locations and have light water needs. Alliums work well in mixed borders and the globe forms serve as a visual contrast.


Genus: Calandrinia Spectabilis

These lovely succulents feature gray green foliage that spreads horizontally in low rosette shaped mounds. The spring flowers appear at the top of slender two foot stems. Each stem produces multiple flowers for a long blooming season. The flowers are an eye-catching electric pink. The plants can take full sun in most gardens. Calandrinia are very hardy once established. New plants can be propagated from cuttings.

California Lilac

Genus: Ceanothus

These evergreen shrubs are native to California and tolerant of very little water in the summer. They work well in gardens as hedges and as a backdrop to lower plantings. California lilacs have small clusters of fragrant and attractive flowers in the spring. California lilacs can become quite large, growing to the height of a tree and expanding to a girth of five feet. Avoid planting California Lilac if you have a problem with deer.


Genus: Cosmos

These perennials are are often grown as annuals. Their white, yellow-orange, pink and fuchsia blooms have simple symmetrical daisy-like blooms that bring color to late summer gardens and fall gardens. White cosmos flowers are a bright and clear in color. The plants have airy fern like foliage. The plants can take the heat and do well in full sun. While the plants can manage with little water, blooming and overall appearance is best when with regular watering. Cosmos can reach 5′ in height. Mature plants benefit from support.


Genus: Dymondia Margaretae

This evergreen ground cover is sometimes called Silver Carpet or Mini-Gazania. The top of the individual leaves are green while the undersides are silvery in color. In full sun and during periods of drought, the leaves curl to show silver edges. The plant does well in dry areas, grows flat and it can hold up to some foot traffic making it suitable for use as a lawn replacement or in between paving stones. The plants have small unspectacular yellow flowers in early summer.


Genus: Lantana

The trailing growth habit makes this flowering shrub appropriate for use as a ground cover while some variations are more upright. The fragrant blooms attract butterflies. Lantana blooms repeatedly with more abundant blooms when planted in full sun. Consideration should be given to lantana placement in the gardenscape as it can become invasive.


Genus: Lavende

This fragrant shrub is found with many variations. Variations can be selected for the color of flowers, foliage and growing habit including some with more compact forms. Lavender flowers grow on spikes which attract bees. The flowers are often used in dried arrangements and the buds can be incorporated into sachets. Some gardeners prefer to replace lavender plants every few years as than can become rangy.


Genus: Arctostaphylos

As an evergreen California native plant with strong visual interest, it is unfortunate that Manzanitas are not used more frequently in our gardenscapes. Manzanitas can be grown either as a shrubs or small trees. The twisting growth habit and distinctive red color of the limbs makes Manzanita excellent focal points. The plants attract butterflies and birds (including hummingbirds). Manzanita look great in rock gardens and do very well with little water once established. California gardeners will want to consider a variety that does well with local soil conditions.