Choose Native Plants

Drought Tolerant Plants For Bay Area Gardens

In the 1500s California went through an 80-year drought. During the winter there were blizzards in Central California and the Salinas River froze solid where it flowed into the Monterey Bay. During the summer there was no humidity, no rain, and temperatures were in the hundreds for many months.

In the 1840s there was no measurable rain in Santa Barbara. (The highest measured rainfall in an hour also was in Southern California—11 inches in an hour.) The same native plants that lived through that are still on the hillsides of California.

Native plants that do not normally live in the creeks and ponds are very drought tolerant, and they are what you want to plant now, and even after the drought is over.

The best way to find your plant is to check the Native Plants website, and do not water these plants at all.

If you want a simple list of drought tolerant plants that can work for your Bay Area garden, you’ll find hundreds to choose from. Both of these websites are maintained by Las Pilitas Nursery.

From Left to Right: Muhlenbergia rigens (Deer Grass), Encelia californica (Coast Sunflower), Ceanothus (California Lilac)