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Southern California Regional Reports

Care Tips for Drought-Deciduous Native Plants | Southern California Regional Report

Coyote bush, an evergreen shrub. Photo: Rachel Young

As the rains end and June gloom rolls by, things start to dry up in the garden, and many of your favorite drought-deciduous native plants, such as ‘Bee’s Bliss’ salvia (Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’, Zones 7–9), coast sunflower (Encelia californica, Zones 10–11), or ‘De La Mina’ verbena (Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’, Zones 7–10) start looking pretty dead. California native plants are either evergreen, drought deciduous, or winter deciduous. Most people are familiar with plants that are winter deciduous (trees that lose their leaves in winter, for example), but drought-deciduous plants can sometimes be confusing for the gardener. Here are some tips and tricks for dealing with drought-deciduous native plants.

salvia before dormancy
Salvia shortly before dormancy. Photo: Rachel Young

Give them some moisture

Drought-deciduous natives lose their leaves in the dry season, usually late June through October, in order to protect themselves from the hot, dry weather. One way to keep them a bit…

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