SBBG Plant Introduction Program
Just like any group of people, plants within a botanical species can show a surprising range of characteristics, from subtle to strikingly different. Since ancient times gardeners have evaluated these variations for characteristics that suit their tastes - larger flowers or fruits, unusual flower colors, disease resistance, drought resistance, to name just a few. Such selections are called cultivars (what is a cultivar?).
SBBG takes time every year to search for new and interesting cultivars among our native species, nurturing and planting earlier collections, and sharing them with like-minded institutions for further evaluation. Cultivars that perform very well in different settings are named (usually one or two words in single quotes, e.g. Artemisia ‘Canyon Gray’) and are distributed to affiliated/supportive commercial nurseries under a licensing agreement, providing a small amount of income for our ongoing collection efforts.
A full list of SBBG introductions appears below with annotated information on many. To buy plants introduced by SBBG, visit our Garden Growers Nursery or visit the California Native Plant Link Exchange to find a retailer near you.
To enquire about purchasing stock material for re-sale: contact the Garden Growers Nursery Manager, or call (805) 682-4726 ext. 114.
SBBG Cultivar Descriptions
Aesculus californica 'Canyon Pink'
Common Name: Canyon Pink California Buckeye
A large deciduous shrub to medium tree, with fragrant, light pink flowers in erect clusters from May to June. The medium green leaves are palmately compound, with 5-7 leaflets that reach 3-6 inches across. 'Canyon Pink' offers the familiar attractive features of California Buckeye, with abundant showy inflorescences in spring, good tolerance to summer drought and striking light gray branches during fall and winter. Shiny tan fruits add seasonal interest in late summer to fall.
Aesculus californica 'Canyon Pink' Fact Sheet
Arctostaphylos 'Arroyo Cascade'
Common Name: Arroyo Cascade Manzanita
A drought tolerant, truly prostrate ground cover manzanita with 3/4 inch long, slightly gray-green leaves, rosy pink blossoms in winter, and reddish stems. Plants slowly spread 6 to 9 feet wide.
Arctostaphylos 'Canyon Blush'
Common Name: Canyon Blush Manzanita
A massive shrub whose lower branches may root, 'Canyon Blush' is a beautiful manzanita with light pink flowers in winter, followed by a decorative crop of "little apple" fruits. Its name refers to both the red-flushed new foliage and the blush of pink in the flowers, which fade to white. Older leaves have a faintly bluish cast.
Arctostaphylos 'Canyon Blush' Fact Sheet
Arctostaphylos insularis 'Canyon Sparkles'
Common Name: Canyon Sparkles Manzanita
An evergreen shrub which develops an arborescent form with age, 'Canyon Sparkles' is distinguished by its large, dense clusters of white flowers in winter. Its elliptic, medium green leaves are glossy when young. Its ghostly gray bark slowly exfoliates to reveal a dark brown undercoating. A handsome upright shrub for the mixed border, woodland, or as a focal point.
Arctostaphylos insularis 'Canyon Sparkles' Fact Sheet
Arctostaphylos 'White Lanterns'
Common Name: White Lanterns Manzanita
A very dense shrub, 'White Lanterns' slowly matures to 5-7 ft tall by 8-12 ft wide. The white flowers are tinged pink and borne in profusion in winter, contrasting well with the dark mahogany bark. 'White Lanterns' is similar to 'Howard McMinn' but more dense and fine textured. Small elliptical leaves are medium green in color. Elegant winter-blooming, medium-sized shrub for mass planting in sun or part shade.
Artemisia californica 'Canyon Gray'
Common Name: Canyon Gray Sagebrush
Dense semi-evergreen shrub, spreading to 10 ft or more, yet remaining about 2 ft tall. Leaves are deeply lobed and highly aromatic when crushed. Flowers are fairly inconspicuous. 'Canyon Gray' is a large-scale groundcover. Its fine-textured, silver-gray foliage is especially beautiful in rock gardens or covering hillsides.
Artemisia californica 'Canyon Gray' Fact Sheet
Berberis aquifolium 'Mission Canyon'
Common Name: Mission Canyon Oregon-grape
A spreading evergreen shrub with shiny, pinnately compound foliage. The bright yellow flowers in spring are followed by blue-black berries that attract birds. This tough and durable evergreen shrub is a reliable, east-to-grow groundcover.
Berberis aquifolium 'Mission Canyon' Fact Sheet
Ceanothus 'Far Horizons'
Common Name: Far Horizons Ceanothus
A dense evergreen shrub, Ceanothus 'Far Horizons' is noted for its distinct button-shaped, deep blue flowers in winter and shiny, elliptical 1 inch long leaves. A dependable medium-sized shrub and consistent early bloomer (late February into March) within the genus.
Ceanothus 'Far Horizons' Fact Sheet
Ceanothus arboreus 'Powder Blue'
Common Name: Powder Blue Ceanothus
A medium sized shrub with distinctive and copious, teardrop-shaped, 4-5 inch long, powder blue flower clusters. With the large (3x3 inch) leaves typical of the species, the plant has a bold texture that combines well with many finer-textured drought tolerant plants. The Garden's oldest specimen of this selection is 9 feet tall and 15 feet across. This species is a consistent early bloomer (late February into March) within the genus.
Ceanothus arboreus 'Powder Blue' Fact Sheet
Ceanothus 'Wheeler Canyon'
Common Name: Wheeler Canyon Ceanothus
A dense mounding, evergreen shrub with copious clusters of dark blue flowers that open from prominent burgundy-colored floral bracts. With dark green, 1-1.5 inch long leaves, 'Wheeler Canyon' is highly ornamental in both coastal and inland locations. Useful on slopes and for accent and understory plantings in light shade.
Ceanothus 'Wheeler Canyon' Fact Sheet
Eriophyllum nevinii 'Canyon Silver'
Common Name: Canyon Silver Catalina Silver-lace
Distinguished by its deeply divided, lacy, white-tomentose foliage, 'Canyon Silver' yields rich yellow blossoms in summer that turn an appealing chocolate brown in the fall. With handsome foliage year-round, this evergreen woody perennial provides a dramatic textural accent in a mixed border or gray garden and can be used as an informal low hedge.
Eriophyllum nevinii 'Canyon Silver' Fact Sheet
Fremontodendron 'Dara's Gold'
Common Name: Dara's Gold Flannelbush
The low, mounding form, shiny green foliage and bright yellow, 1.5 - 2.5 inch wide flowers distinguish 'Dara's Gold' from the other named cultivars of decumbent flannel bush. It is particularly effective when planted on slopes and in containers. The vibrant green foliage, sun-yellow flowers that combine well with the rich blues of ceanothus and sages, and long blooming season make this selection particularly desirable.
Fremontodendron 'Dara's Gold' Fact Sheet
Galvezia juncea 'Gran Canon'
Common Name: Gran Canon Bush Snapdragon
An upright to arching, 3-6 foot tall evergreen shrub with numerous, rush-like almost leafless stems that bear 1 inch long tubular red flowers in spring and summer. Decumbent stems may take root and promote lateral spread. 'Gran Canon' is a fast growing, fine-textured, floriferous plant that complements bold forms or spiny succulents in the garden.
Heuchera 'Blushing Bells'
Common Name: Blushing Bells Coral Bells
Heuchera 'Blushing Bells' forms a compact mat of 3 inch tall rosettes with 1 inch wide, dark green leaves. Densely clothed with 8-12 inch flower spikes of small white to pale pink flowers in spring, it makes an excellent border or container plant, or small-scale groundcover. A nice addition to rock gardens.
Heuchera 'Blushing Bells' Fact Sheet
Heuchera 'Canyon Belle'
Common Name: Canyon Belle Coral Bells
Heuchera 'Canyon Belle' is a compact herbaceous perennial which forms 12 inch wide by 5 inch tall rosettes of dark green, somewhat glossy, 2 inch wide leaves. With its springtime display of very showy reddish flowers on 18 inch stalks, it is a desirable, compact Heuchera for use in flower gardens, as a small-scale groundcover, for edging, in rock gardens or in decorative containers.
Heuchera 'Canyon Belle' Fact Sheet
Heuchera 'Canyon Chimes'
Common Name: Canyon Chimes Coral Bells
Evergreen, compact, matlike herbaceous perennial. Leaves 1 inch wide on rosettes 12+ inches across and 2 inches tall. A very reliable coral bell with dark pink flowers on 15 inch stalks borne in profusion over a long period in spring.
Heuchera 'Canyon Chimes' Fact Sheet
Heuchera 'Canyon Delight'
Common Name: Canyon Delight Coral Bells
An herbaceous, evergreen perennial reaching 1/2 ft tall by 2 ft wide. Leaves 2 inches wide, medium green. Rose-red flowers bloom on 16 inch stalks in spring. Remains one of the best medium-sized coral bells, easy and long-lived.
Heuchera 'Canyon Delight' Fact Sheet
Heuchera 'Canyon Duet'
Common Name: Canyon Duet Coral Bells
Evergreen, compact, matlike herbaceous perennial. Leaves 1 inch wide in rosettes 12+ inches across and 5 inches tall. Strongly bicolored flowers of pink and white on 12-18 inch stalks in spring. 'Canyon Duet' is a charming, diminutive, sturdy cultivar with distinct bicolored flowers.
Heuchera 'Canyon Duet' Fact Sheet
Heuchera 'Canyon Melody'
Common Name: Canyon Melody Heuchera
Evergreen, compact, matlike herbaceous perennial. Leaves 1 inch wide on rosettes 12+ inches across and 3.5 inches tall. Flowers medium pink with white hightlights on densely clothed 12-inch stalks in spring. Masses of flowers create a shimmering effect. A miniatue version of Heuchera 'Canyon Pink'.
Heuchera 'Canyon Melody'
Heuchera 'Canyon Pink'
Common Name: Canyon Pink Coral Bells
An herbaceous, evergreen perennial with a low, compact habit reaching 1/2 ft tall by 2 ft wide. Leaves 2 inches wide, medium green. Saturated, medium pink flowers on 16 inch stalks in spring. Remains one of the best medium-sized coral bells, easy and long-lived.
Heuchera 'Canyon Pink' Fact Sheet
Heuchera 'Dainty Bells'
Common Name: Dainty Bells Coral Bells
An herbaceous, evergreen, compact perennial with 1.5 inch wide leaves in 3 inch tall rosettes. Large inflorescences of small rose-pink to rose-red flowers in spring.
Heuchera 'Dainty Bells' Fact Sheet
Heuchera 'Pink Wave'
Common Name: Pink Wave Coral Bells
An herbaceous, evergreen perennial with unusual vegetative features: 1-2 inch tall by 9-18 inch wide, mat-like habit with glossy, wavy-margined leaves reminiscent of ivy geranium, flowers rose-pink.
Heuchera 'Pink Wave' Fact Sheet
Hyptis emoryi 'Silver Lining'
Common Name: Silver Lining Desert-lavender
A fragrant, loosely unpright, drought-tolerant shrub 3-10 feet tall. Softly pubescent, exceptionally silver, rounded leaves about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and wide. Blue-violet flowers borne in small but numerous woolly clusters for much of the year on stems that are often flushed with purple.
Iris 'Canyon Sunshine'
Common Name: Canyon Sunshine Iris
One of the last of Dara Emery’s plant crosses to be selected for naming, Iris ‘Canyon Sunshine’ blends the trouble-free longevity of Iris ‘Canyon Snow’ and the beautiful yellow of one of his now lost cultivars, Iris ‘Canyon Gold’. Its buttery yellow flowers, with golden-brown veining and darker yellow and white signals on the falls, are held on 12 inch stalks among bright green, 12-18 inch leaves. Useful in perennial borders, meadow gardens, shaded beds under oaks or other trees, or as a groundcover under roses.
Iris 'Canyon Sunshine' Fact Sheet
Iris 'Canyon Snow'
Common Name: Canyon Snow Iris
One of the loveliest of the Pacific Coast Hybrid irises, this clone has pure white flowers that consist of three erect standards and three broad falls held perpendicular to the stem. Each fall is highlighted by a yellow patch at the base. This rhizomatous iris, with its bright shiny green foliage, slowly spreads to form clumps up to 4 feet across. A wonderful addition to the perennial border, a meadow garden, for high shade under native oaks or other trees, or paired with roses as a ground cover.
Iris 'Canyon Snow' Fact Sheet
Lessingia filaginifolia 'Silver Carpet'
Common Name: Silver Carpet Branching Beach-Aster
'Silver Carpet' is a low, dense, trailing perennial with white-tomentose foliage that creates a silver appearance. A profusion of 1 inch pink-lavender flowers cover the mound in late summer. 'Silver Carpet' makes an effective groundcover, especially when allowed to spill down a slope or over a low wall. Its year-round, handsome white foliage blends well with other plants, and its summer blossoms provide welcome cool color in a season when warmer-toned natives - California fuchsias and goldenrods, for example - prevail.
Lessingia filaginifolia 'Silver Carpet' Fact Sheet
Leymus condensatus 'Canyon Prince'
Common Name: Canyon Prince Giant Rye
Medium sized evergreen grass with striking blue-gray foliage which spreads slowly by rhizomes. The flower stalks rise 1-2 ft above the foliage and are topped with tight, congested clusters of flowers in summer. One of the most popular and adaptable of California's native grasses, 'Canyon Prince' makes a terrific accent plant or backdrop in a perennial border. Its bold texture and blue foliage make it effective in many situations, from meadows to tropical gardens. This beautiful drought-resistant grass is more striking and much less invasive than the European dune grass (Elymus arenarius).
Leymus condensatus 'Canyon Prince' Fact Sheet
Salvia brandegeei 'Pacific Blue'
Common Name: Pacific Blue Sage
An upright, multi-stemmed shrub with arching branches, 3-4 ft tall by 4-6 ft wide. Aromatic, narrow green leaves have a pebbled texture above and downy white undersides. In late winter and spring, the gentian blue flowers are borne in profusion on branched, 1-2 foot stalks. 'Pacific Blue' is a robust, fast-growing, aromatic native sage that will appeal to gardeners who have had difficulty growing the more finicky blue-flowered sages.
Salvia brandegeei 'Pacific Blue' Fact Sheet
Salvia cedrosensis 'Baja Blanca'
Common Name: Baja Blanca Sage
A low, rounded subshrub to 2 feet tall and slightly wider. The white stems bear gray-green, somewhat rounded leaves 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inches wide. The 1/2 inch white flowers (the species is typically light to medium blue) are held in 4-5 inch long inflorescences. This diminutive sage has a pleasing shape, copious flowers, and a long blooming season, especially in when grown as a container specimen.
Salvia cedrosensis 'Baja Blanca' Fact Sheet
Salvia 'Dara's Choice'
Common Name: Dara's Choice Sage
Very compact, evergreen subshrub 1.5 ft tall by 4-6 ft wide whose stems may root. The leaves are medium green above, whitish green beneath, 3 - 4 inches long, oblanceolate and aromatic. The blue-purple flowers are held in short spikes in spring. The low spreading habit makes 'Dara's Choice' a desirable groundcover in mixed borders. Other features include aromatic foliage and hummingbird-attracting flowers.
Salvia 'Dara's Choice' Fact Sheet
Salvia leucophylla 'Amethyst Bluff'
Common Name: Amethyst Bluff Purple Sage
Starts out as a low-mounding shrub, eventually reaches 5 feet in height and continues to spread out laterally. Large, vivid purple-pink flowers on 12 inch stalks in spring to summer. Silvery foliage typical of the species.
Salvia leucophylla 'Amethyst Bluff' Fact Sheet
Salvia spathacea 'Avis Keedy'
Common Name: Avis Keedy Hummingbird Sage
A rhizomatous, herbaceous groundcover with 3-8 inch long, wavy leaves and 1-3 foot tall flower stalks that bloom in late winter or spring. This selection is distinquished by its lemon yellow flowers with lime green bracts as opposed to the typical magenta-flowered forms of hummingbird sage. The entire plant has a wonderful, fruity fragrance. Flowers fade to a creamy white as they mature.
Sphaeralcea fulva 'La Luna'
Common Name: La Luna Desert Mallow
An open, rounded, billowing shrub to 3 feet tall and wide. Leaves sage green, shallowly lobed, and mealy-textured along fuzzy golden stems. The cup-shaped flowers of clear, silky white petals tinged with pink are held on 1-2 foot long, wand-like inflorescences. The pink stigma and black anthers add contrast. The copious, shimmering white blossoms, long blooming season and unusual color combination of golden stems, grey leaves and white flowers make this a fine addition to the dry garden.
Sphaeralcea fulva 'La Luna' Fact Sheet
Verbena lilacina 'De La Mina'
Common Name: De La Mina Verbena
Evergreen subshrub. Plant forms a tidy, handsome mound to 3 feet high with an equal spread. Deeply divided medium green leaves. Dark purple, fragrant flowers on 8 inch stems bloom almost year-round in coastal California.
Verbena lilacina 'De La Mina' Fact Sheet