Native plants have evolved to thrive in their regions as part of a web of birds, butterflies, insects. We depend on and are a part of these ecologies. Native and non-invasive drought tolerant plants are important elements of climate appropriate planting to save water, provide habitat and create enriching landscapes. Rainwater harvesting and greywater re-use can compensate for more water-intensive, community supporting plantings such as shade trees and food crops. Climate appropriate planting promotes cultural and ecological resilience, integrating the need for plants to fill food, medicine, shade, and wildlife habitat roles.
WHY USE CLIMATE APPROPRIATE PLANTINGS?
Climate Appropriate Plants save money on water bills, and are much easier to keep alive and maintain than plants that are not suited to your climate. Climate appropriate fruit trees and vegetable gardens provide food resilience and are more water conserving that irrigated lawn, in most circumstances, and can be irrigated with greywater or rainwater. A well placed shade tree can reduce summer cooling needs, lowering energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions all at once! Native plants provide much needed habitat for wildlife, including pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds.
Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS): A water conservation effort coordinated by the California Department of Water Resources, based on extensive observation by field horticulturalists across the state. Use their plant search tool to find just the right plant for your area, water availability, and aesthetic needs.
Calscape: A searchable database compiled in a collaboration between the California Native Plant Society and numerous partners. Each plant has an impressive amount of information including associated beneficial insects, butterflies, and other pollinator species.
Inland Valley Garden Planner: A encyclopedic resource for Southern California, compiled by the Chino Basin Water District. Use their online tools for garden planning, including native and other non-native (but climate-appropriate) plants.
Waterwise Plant Guides: A useful index of plants with a fact sheet linked for each.
Theodore Payne Foundation: Perhaps best known for their wildflower hotline, the Theodore Payne Foundation has a host of plant guides to help you keep your dogs safe, attract the pollinators you love, and even coordinate your garden around a tortoise! They are also a source for seeds, books, and other gardening supplies.