En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Water-wise plants for clay soil in southern California

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 26, 2013

From: Temecula, CA
Region: Select Region
Topic: Plant Lists, Drought Tolerant
Title: Water-wise plants for clay soil in southern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My yard is clay. I'm removing turf to put in water-wise plants and bushes. I need some low growing bushes and medium height bushes that will grow in clay and that will stay green in the summer. Hopefully there are some that flower and that attract butterflies. Thank you, Lilly

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita and Escondido has a guide to Easy Garden Design:  Dry Clay with an extensive list of plants.  Here are a few recommendations of various sizes:

Arctostaphylos manzanita (Whiteleaf manzanita) is evergreen and grows 6 to 12 feet in dry soils.

Artemisia californica (Coastal sagebrush) grows to 1 to 3 feet in dry poor soils and is evergreen.

Baccharis pilularis (Coyotebrush) grows in dry soils up to4 to 8 feet high and wide and is evergreen.

Dendromecon rigida (Tree poppy) is evergreen and grows 6 to 12 feet in dry rocky or clay soils.

Ephedra viridis (Mormon tea) is evergreen and grows to 3 feet in dry soils.

Penstemon heterophyllus (Bunchleaf penstemon) is a 1.5 feet evergreen that grows in dry soils.

Rhus integrifolia (Lemonade sumac) is evergreen and can grow to 8 feet.

Solanum umbelliferum (Bluewitch) is a rounded subshrub that grows 2 to 3 feet in dry soils.

Sphaeralcea ambigua (Desert globemallow) is a perennial that grows 1 to 3 feet.

You can check out the other plants on the list on their web page and in our Native Plant Database (search by scientific name).

 

From the Image Gallery


Bigberry manzanita
Arctostaphylos glauca

Coastal sagebrush
Artemisia californica

Coyotebrush
Baccharis pilularis

Tree poppy
Dendromecon rigida

Mormon tea
Ephedra viridis

Bunchleaf penstemon
Penstemon heterophyllus

Lemonade sumac
Rhus integrifolia

Bluewitch
Solanum umbelliferum

Desert globemallow
Sphaeralcea ambigua

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Drought and Fire Resistant Plants for Round Top, Texas
April 24, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants Do you have any advice on plants which are drought tolerant and fire resistant for a central Texas location near Round Top Texas? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Evergreen privacy hedge resistant to verticillium wilt
September 27, 2011 - I am looking for an evergreen, fast-growing privacy hedge (over 6') that is resistant to verticillium wilt and has low water requirements. I live in Monrovia, CA and have to replace hopseed bushes w...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
October 16, 2011 - We have Bermuda grass. Large patches have died due to the drought and our yard has been taken over by weeds and St. Augustine grass whose seeds must have blown in. Even when the grass was in great con...
view the full question and answer

Can Habiturf be planted by hydroseeding from Austin?
February 04, 2012 - We are thinking about seeding our lawn with HABITURF. Could you provide any input on whether HABITURF can be planted by hydroseeding? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Due to drought is pruning live oaks beneficial from Houston
December 07, 2011 - Would it be beneficial (presuming a continued spring drought) to prune live oak trees more severely than usual this winter? I'm thinking that it might help them to have less mass to support.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center