Evergreen biennials and woody perennials with striking form and large, spiked flower clusters. All do well in dry, poor soils but require good drainage. An excellent choice for seacoast gardens in full sun with occasional water. Flowers attract bees and butterflies. Hardiness varies.
candicans (formerly E. fastuosum): Pride of Madeira. Shrubby widely-branching perennial to 8’ with lanceolate, silvery-pubescent leaves. Spike-like clusters of bluish-purple flowers stand out dramatically above the foliage in spring. Annual deadheading is necessary to maintain an attractive form. Hardy to 20F. Madeira.
wildpretii: Tower of jewels. An evergreen, erect, unbranched biennial that bolts from a 3’ rosette to 8’ tall in its second year. In late spring of the second year it will form a thick column of rose-red flowers 3-5" long. Plants die as the flowers fade leaving seeds for the following year. Hardy to 15F. Canary Islands.
Multi-branched shrubs to 5’ producing yellow daisy-like flowers. Drought deciduous in dry gardens but will retain leaves with modest supplemental water. Prefer full fun and sharply-drained soils with moderate water when in growth. Useful in the back of the border with little irrigation. Hardy to 10F. Southwestern North America, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Galapagos Island.
californica: California brittlebrush. Subshrub forming a broad clump to 4’ tall. Lemon yellow flowers with purple-brown centers bloom from late winter through spring and intermittently year round. Cut back hard after flowering to maintain a tidy habit. Southern California.
farinosa: Brittlebush. Compact, fragrant shrub 2-4’ high, with silvery leaves, in dense clusters. 2" yellow flowers with brown centers occur in mid-spring. Tolerant of extreme heat, aridity, wind and drought, but under severe moisture stress it will drop its leaves. California deserts.
California fuchsia. Zauschenaria in Munz, and damn the name change. Exceptional native perennials, often stoloniferous, ranging from low ground groundcovers to 3’ subshrubs. Most produce masses of trumpet-shaped 2" flowers in summer and fall in shades of red, pink and salmon. Leaves are narrow and gray or gray-green with silvery hairs. Full sun and occasional water once established. An annual shearing is a must for most cultivars. Hardy to 10F. Western North America.
‘Catalina’: A Tree of Life selection from Santa Catalina Island. Upright subshrub to 3’ that has produced a woody base in our garden. Silver-gray foliage and brilliant red flowers summer to fall. Perhaps the best Zauschenaria available.
‘Everett’s Choice’: Long, fluted red flowers form around the outer edges of this gray-leafed groundcover. Slow to establish itself, but worth the wait.
Fleabane. A group of perennials grown for the cheerful daisy-like flowers over long periods that appear mainly in summer. Their sturdy nature makes them well-suited to rock gardens and herbaceous borders. Sizes vary and flowers are white, pink, lavender and occasionally yellow, with yellow centers. Plant in full sun and well-drained soils with moderate water. Cosmopolitan, particularly North America.
glaucus ‘Cape Sebastian’: A compact selection bearing abundant lavender flowers throughout summer. Sturdy and undemanding. Plants stay below 8" and spread to 2’ across. A tough, durable selection in our experience. Recommended!
karvinskianus: Santa Barbara daisy. Graceful, spreading perennial to 3’ with dainty flower heads opening white and fading to pink so that multiple shades of color appear simultaneously. A utilitarian and trouble free plant, consider placing it in large containers, rock gardens, hanging baskets or on a dry wall. Drought tolerant. Assertive reseeder in many gardens. Shear hard annually to maintain a fresh appearance. Hardy to 0F. Mexico to Panama.
‘Moerheimii’: More compact than E. karvinskianus, with slightly larger leaves and flowers opening lavender-pink with a bluish tint.
‘Sea Breeze’: A sprawling perennial forming succulent-like clumps of glaucus foliage topped by pink daisy-like blossoms in summer. Plants grow to 6" tall and twice as wide.
‘Wayne Roderick’: Similar to E. glaucus but with larger leaves packed more densely in basal rosettes. Flower stems are branched, rising in summer and bearing large lavender flowers with yellow centers. Better choice for warmer inland climates than other glaucus cultivars. Hardy to 10F.
Wild buckwheat. Large genus of annuals, perennials and shrubs native to an astonishing range of habitats. Small flowers in often ball-shaped clusters rise on long stems in shades of white, pink and sulfur yellow. Plant in full sun with well-drained conditions. Most will tolerate heat, wind and aridity. Water sparingly once established. Hardiness varies. Western North America.
arborescens: Santa Cruz Island buckwheat. Lacy evergreen shrub to 5’ tall with an elegant mounding habit to 6’ wide. Small, narrow gray-green leaves form in whorls at ends of branches. Long-stalked flat clusters of pale to rose-pink flowers bloom from May to September maturing into rust-colored fruits in autumn. Shredding bark falls from the trunk in graceful ribbons. Hardy to 15F. Channel Islands.
crocatum: Conejo buckwheat. Evergreen subshrub growing to 18" with an equal spread. Distinctive inch long gray-white leaves are covered in dense, woolly hairs. Flowers are small, sulfur-yellow, in dense flat-topped clusters from April to July. Thrives in heavier soils with little or no summer water. Hardy to 15F. Narrow endemic from the Santa Monica Mountains.
fasciculatum: Common buckwheat or California buckwheat. Small, rounded shrub growing to 3’ high with an equal spread. The leaves are needle-like, small and vary in color from dark green to gray. Cream to pink flowers bloom in a clustered inflorescence from May to October, eventually turning copper, then russet and persisting through winter. Plants provide pollen for bees and produce an abundance of seed for birds. Adaptable to many soil types, as well as to heat, wind, and drought. Useful in slope stabilization and restoration. California.
fasciculatum ‘Theodore Payne’: Compact, mounding form to 2’ high with a similar spread.
fasciculatum ‘Warriner Lytle’: Low, spreading form with dark green foliage to 18". Tough, dependable groundcover for dry slopes. Consider mixing with Ceanothus or rosemary to provide year-round interest.
giganteum: St. Catherine’s lace. This branching shrub to 10’ tall, is commonly broader than wide and forms a thick trunk with rough, shredding brown bark. The 3" evergreen leaves are thick and leathery and are covered with soft white hairs. Lace-like clusters of white to pink flowers bloom from April to October, then turn rust-brown with age. Adaptable shrub well-suited to coastal gardens. Deadhead in late fall to prevent breakage from winter rains. Hardy to about 20F. Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands.
grande var. rubescens: Red buckwheat. Low-growing perennial to 12" tall and 2-3’ wide. Crinkled leaves, 1-3" long, are green above and woolly-white beneath. Summer flowers are held above the foliage in a dusty-rose, ball-like inflorescence. Best used in coastal gardens with little water. Perfect companion for Dudleyas and Sedums in the rock garden. Plants become rank and woody with excess water. Flower color varies significantly in the nursery trade. We continue to work with deep rose-colored mother plants for our stock. Hardy to 20F. San Miguel and Santa Cruz Islands.
umbellatum var. polyanthum ‘Alturas Red’: Dark rusty-red flowers that fade to tangerine and gold are held in tight clusters above the green-gray folige. An exciting new cultivar for native plant enthusiasts. Similar in culture and size to the species.
umbellatum var. polyanthum ‘Shasta Sulfur’: In 20 years this is the only plant our neighbor has noticed in the nursery. Compact, mounding plant forming broad mats of woody stems to 18" tall and 3’ across with tightly grouped clusters of striking sulfur yellow flowers in spring. Durable selection that will tolerate a wide range of garden situations in well-drained soils. California.
umbellatum var. polyanthum ‘Sierra’: Low-growing selection 12-24" tall and up to 4’ wide. The foliage is dark green above and white, tomentose below and forms a handsome backdrop for the brilliant yellow flowers.
nevinii ‘Canyon Silver’ Woolly sunflower. Shrub to 5’ with a spreading habit and lacy, silver foliage much like dusty miller. Yellow flowers in early summer are star-shaped and held in a tight inflorescence. Plant in full sun or light shade in dry, well-drained soils with occasional water. Hardy to 25F. Channel Islands.
Crane’s bill. Small, mound-forming perennials suitable for rock gardens. Prefer full sun, but will tolerate light shade. Flowers are graceful, small and geranium-like varying in color and often blotched or veined with darker colors. With a long blooming period in summer, they can provide excellent accent color when used in rock gardens or small clay pots. Best in well-drained, preferably alkaline soils. Cosmopolitan.
chrysanthum: Mound-forming to 12" and spreading to 2’ with silver stems and finely cut, fernlike leaves. In spring and summer small sprays of cup-shaped, creamy-yellow flowers add a perfect contrast to the foliage. Use in rock gardens, containers, or mixed borders. Hardy to 10F. Greece.
x kolbianum ‘Natasha’: Silver-gray foliage from a basal rosette with arching soft-pink flower stems and darker pink veining. Needs well-drained soil and sun. Hardy to 0F. Garden origin.
x variabile ‘Album’: Large, white flowers. Hardy to 15F.
x variabile ‘Bishop’s Form’: Low, branched 2" stems and bright pink flowers. Hardy to 15F.
x variabile ‘Charm’: Low grower with pale pink flowers. Hardy to 15F.
x variabile ‘Roseum’: Grows to 18" with pink flowers veined crimson. Hardy to 15F.
Eryngium alpinum ‘Sapphire Blue’
Sea holly. Perennial to 2’ high with round, palmately-lobed leaves with a distinctive blue cast. Plant in full sun with well-drained soils. Tolerant of a range of soil types. Distinctive flower heads emerge on 15" stems in summer, first white in bud then soft blue as the flowers open. Hardy to 5F. Yugoslavia.
Wallflower. Annual or perennial herbs with cruciform flowers. Most are grown for their flowers, some of which are heavily scented. Many have attractive, evergreen foliage and a stout form. They are best in full sun and well-drained soils. Most are tolerant of poor soils. Suitable for borders, banks and rock gardens that receive modest water. Cosmopolitan.
Evergreen shrubs with glossy leaves and clusters of brightly-colored flowers from summer to fall or year round in mild climates. Plants features glossy leaves and a clean form. Best in full sun or light shade inland and tolerant of most soils. Old, rangy plants can be pruned to reinvigorate. Tough, fast-growing shrubs that are useful as screens or as formal sheared hedges. Some have resin-scented foliage. Exceptional choice for areas with strong prevailing winds and of coastal conditions. Attractive to bees. Most recover quickly from frost damage. Usually hardy to 20F. South America.
x exoniensis ‘Frades’: 8’ shrub with small, glossy green leaves and a prolific show of clear rose-pink flowers in terminal clusters nearly year round. Dependable and tough, plants generally look better with regular garden water. Hardy to 10F.
‘Compacta’: Grows to 3’ high with rose-red flowers.
Eschscholzia californica var. maritima
California poppy. Fleshy perennial with finely divided gray-green leaves and bright yellow flowers with an orange center blotch, blooming from March to August. Plants flower best in poor, well-drained soils with full sun. Annual growth resprouts from a thick orange taproot and can be cut back often to maintain a fresh appearance. Summer water extends the blooming season. Plants reseed vigorously especially in well-drained soils. Excellent for naturalizing on sunny hillsides, along drives, in dry fields, vacant lots, parking strips and country gardens. Hardy to 0F. Coastal California.
Milkweed or Spurge. Large genus of annuals, perennials, herbs, succulents, shrubs and trees. All contain a milky white sap that is poisonous if ingested and also a severe skin irritant. Most are tolerant of heat and drought stress and perform best in sun or partial shade in moist but well-drained soils. The species vary widely in form, size and color, and the "flowers" are actually colorful bracts. Hardiness varies. Cosmopolitan.
amygdaloides var. robbiae: Wood spurge. Wide-spreading perennial groundcover to 2’ tall with evergreen rosettes of dark green leaves. Open, round heads of lime-green flowers rise out of the foliage in later spring. Tolerates shade, tree root competition and requires regular water in most California gardens. Hardy to 0F. Asia Minor.
amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’: Evergreen perennial in most California gardens reaching a height of 2’ with a slightly wider spread. Foliage is tinted purple-red and the springtime flowers are bright lime-green. Reseeds willfully in some gardens. Europe, Southwestern Asia.
characias ‘Portuguese Velvet’: Stems to 3’ high carry densely arranged, velvety blue-gray leaves and heads of distinctive golden-brown flowers. Place in full sun and well-drained soil. Good choice for milder climates. Hardy to 0F. Western Mediterranean, Portugal.
characias ssp. wulfenii: Mediterranean spurge. A small to medium evergreen perennial growing 3-4’ high featuring gray-green leaves and spikes of yellow-green blooms in spring. Clusters of flower bracts reach 5-6" in diameter. Stalks should be cut out at the base after color fades. Balkans, Turkey.
characias ssp. wulfenii ‘Tiny Dancer’: This dwarf wulfenii appeared in our garden and quickly made it to the propagation tables. Similar to wulfenii in all respects but size, ‘Tiny Dancer’ offers gray foliage and large chartreuse heads of those ever distinctive Euphorbia flowers. Provide full sun and regular to moderate water. Reaches approximately 2’ tall.
cyparissias ‘Fens Ruby’: Small, fine-textured perennial combines dark maroon leaf tips with chartreuse flower heads and a pleasantly assertive posture. Suitable in the front of a border or massed as a small scale groundcover with gray-foliaged plants. Full sun or part shade and drought tolerant once established. Very similar in appearance to ‘Clarice Howard’.
dulcis ‘Chameleon’: Purple leaves often marbled green, with yellow springtime blossoms flushed bronze. Fall colors of orange, scarlet and plum. Self-sows. Hardy to 0F. Southern Europe.
griffithii ‘Fireglow’: A bushy perennial that grows to 3’ tall and spreads slowly by creeping roots, though not aggressively. Orange-red flowers in terminal umbels appear from late spring to early summer. Lance-shaped green leaves with pale red midribs. Regular water and full sun. Himalaya.
x martinii: Compact clusters of evergreen rosettes to 2’ with red-stained leaves. The lime-green flowers with brown centers are carried over a long season. Hardy to 0F.
x martinii ‘Red Martin’: Low growing selection thought to be a sport of Euphorbia x martinii, ‘Red Martin’ remains a standout from fall through spring when many other perennials are merely storing their reserves. Plants grow to 24" and bear yellow-green flowers marked with a dark central eye. The reddish-purple foliage is truest in full sun. Hardy to 10F.
polychroma: Cushion spurge. Clump-forming perennial growing to 20" tall and spreading as wide. Fresh green leaves tint coral in fall. Brassy-yellow flowers appear for several weeks in spring. Hardy to below 0F. Central and Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor.
polychroma ‘Candy’: Handsome spreader to 24" tall with an equal spread. Plants produce chartreuse flowers in summer that make a striking visual statement against the pink-orange tinted foliage. In summer and autumn the foliage often blushes a deeper purple. Hardy to 0F.
polychroma ‘Major’: Larger form than typical polychroma to 30" and bearing a second flush of flowers in the fall. Central Europe.
rigida: Narrow-leafed spurge. Glaucous multi-stemmed perennial to 2’ high with narrow, gray-green leaves. Tolerant of heat, sun, cold and drought, it is best in well-drained soils. Broad-domed flower clusters appearing in late winter or early spring are chartreuse yellow, fading to pink. Hardy to 10F. Mediterranean.
seguieriana ssp. niciciana: Perennial growing to 18" with narrow, blue-gray leaves. Many thin stems are topped with chartreuse flowers blooming over a long season. Tough, durable perennial for south facing slopes or mixed in a sunny border. Hardy to below 0F. Eurasia.
‘Humpty Dumpty’: Selected for its smaller habit, ‘Humpty Dumpty’ grows to 3’ with a an equal or slightly greater spread. The green foliage takes on chartreuse tones in winter, and yellow-green flowers are produced from March to April. Smaller than both E. characias and E. wulfenii. Hardy to 0F.
‘Jade Dragon’: A handsome newer selection with pale blue-green foliage that blushes a rosy-pink at the tips. Plants have a compact, rounded appearance and grow to 2’ tall with an equal spread. Golden flower heads appear in spring and summer. Hardy to 20F. Hybrid cross between E. characias ssp. wulfenii x E. amygdaloides ‘Rubra’.