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Monday - May 11, 2009

From: West Covina, CA
Region: California
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Landscape color for Rialto, CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My sister-in-law lives in Rialto CA near the base of the San Bernardino Mt ranges and it gets very windy out there. She and I were trying to figure out the best native plants for her area. Her home faces north and catches the wind head on. Any suggestions to bring color to her landscape?


The best thing to do is go to Recommended Species, click on Southern California on the map, and then Narrow Your Search to the types of plants you want. For instance, you could pick "herbs" (herbaceous flowering plants) under Habit, "perennial" under duration, "sun" (6 or more hours of sun daily) for Light Requirements, and indicate the soil moisture, for instance "dry." You can repeat the same sequence to find shrubs and trees, even grasses, for the area. You follow each plant link to the webpage on that specific plant, and find out when it blooms (if it does), what colors, and how delicate or sturdy it is reported to be. We will demonstrate the process with some suggested plants. Since we don't know what your sunlight situation is, or the moisture of your soil, we will choose some from each category with "sun or part shade" as requirements, and dry soil. You can then go back, repeat the process but insert your own specifications and see what you can find. In other words, you will have a tailor-made plant list for your conditions. Here is our "practice list."

Perennial flowering plants

Lupinus polyphyllus (bigleaf lupine) - 3 to 5 ft. tall, blooms pink, blue, purple in May, sun or part shade, dry soil

Nolina parryi (Parry's beargrass) - 18 to 30 inches tall, blooms white April to June, sun, dry soil

Penstemon centranthifolius (scarlet bugler) - to 3 ft. tall, blooms red April to July, sun, dry soil

Sphaeralcea ambigua (desert globemallow) - 1 to 3 ft. tall, blooms orange February to November, low water use, sun


Arctostaphylos hookeri (Hooker's manzanita) - 2 to 4 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms white, pink February to April, sun or part shade, moist or dry soil

Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush) - to 9 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms yellow in June, medum water use, sun

Ceanothus leucodermis (chaparral whitethorn) - 4 to 8 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms white, blue April to June, sun, dry soil

Gaultheria shallon (salal) - 1 to 4 ft., evergreen, blooms white, pink April to July, high water use, sun, part shade


Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) - 15 to 30 ft., deciduous, blooms white, pink, purple April to September, low water use, sun

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) - 10 to 20 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms pink, purple March and April, medium water use, sun, part shade

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (birchleaf mountain mahogany) - 8 to 20 ft. tall, semi-evergreen, blooms yellow April and May, low water use, sun

Fraxinus velutina (velvet ash) - to 40 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms yellow April and May, low water use, sun


Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) - 2 to 3 ft. tall, medium water use, sun, part shade

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass) - 3 to 6 ft., low water use, sun

Scleropogon brevifolius (burrograss) - to 9 inches tall, low water use, sun

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) - 18 to 24 inches, low water use, sun, part shade

Lupinus polyphyllus

Nolina parryi

Penstemon centranthifolius

Sphaeralcea ambigua

Arctostaphylos hookeri

Artemisia tridentata

Ceanothus leucodermis

Gaultheria shallon

Chilopsis linearis

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

Fraxinus velutina

Bouteloua curtipendula

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Scleropogon brevifolius

Schizachyrium scoparium





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