Planning & Planting Tips for Your Native Plant Garden

If you are new to growing native plants or just want to know more, read some tips from Retail Manager Matt Straka and follow the links below to learn how to select, plant and care for those that will be most successful in your area.


Fall Planting Tips for 2021

When the heat of summer is still lingering, it’s a good time to continue clearing out your garden space. Lightly prune and shape existing plants and take care of those weeds. For established native plants, it’s good idea to give them a light watering on the leaves and surrounding areas to keep them looking fresh. But, be sure not to overwater them just yet.  

If you’re establishing newer natives, it’s a good idea to continue the deep watering cycle that you have started them with, allowing the plants to dry out in between each watering. You can easily check by digging down a few inches around the plant to feel for moisture or by using a moisture probe.  


Water Retention 

Mulching with dry, organic material around woodland and chaparral-type plantings will help with water retention and growth in the months to come. Consider using inorganic material, like rocks and gravel, around your native succulent (Dudleya and Lewisia) and desert plants. Be careful not to place mulch or gravel right up against the plantbase to prevent rot. Instead, you’ll want to place it around the drip line where the branches and leaves end.  


Planting for the Future 

When planning out your garden design, remember that you are planting for the future. You’ll want to assess your growing space and plan your selection accordingly. Will you need to fill in just a few plants, or are you starting a whole new look, like a lawn replacement? Is the area getting full sun or is it shady? Try to place plants with similar needs close to each other and keep in mind the ultimate size and shape of each plant when fully grown. 


Read and Research 

Read the plant’s care card carefully. In the Garden’s nursery, we have these on hand for every plant, but you can also talk with one of our staff members to learn more. These cards usually offer a wealth of information such as ideal growing conditions and what size the plant will ultimately become. Will it require full sun, part shade? Low water needs? Moderate water needs? Remember, sometimes a nursery will sell different sizes of the same plant. Don’t be surprised. If you buy a Ray Hartman California Lilac in a 4” potit will not remain small when provided with good care. Ultimately this plant can reach a size of 10 feet or more. 


Resources for planning and planting your native garden

Water Wise Native Plants for Santa Barbara County

The Garden's Easy Eight California native plants for your garden!

The Garden's Native Garden Calendar a monthly guide to native plant gardening in California

Las Pilitas Nursery's California Native Plant Search