San Diego is always growing, but have you ever wondered how deep our roots go? Of course, we’re talking about our plants — and we’ve got plenty of green life from across the world (thanks, Kate Sessions) — but what grows naturally in our Mediterranean climate with warm, sunny summers + mild winters?
Adding native plants to your outdoor spaces can make maintenance easier because they rely on naturally-occurring resources and provide food, resources + shelter for San Diego’s wildlife. In fact, they use less water and might even save you money through our county’s sustainable landscapes initiatives.
- The San Diego County Sunflower — or Bahiopsis lacinitata — is in the daisy family, but resembles a small sunflower. With San Diego in the name, you can be sure they love our high-sunshine + low-water environment.
- Eschscholzia californica, aka the California poppy, is an orange flower that grows fast + loves our dry, sandy soil.
- In our sandier regions, you might naturally find the dune primrose; its white petals love beach + dessert sands.
- Pinus torreyana, or the Torrey pine, grew naturally in Point Loma — and of course in the neighborhood of Torrey Pines. These trees do well without irrigation, so San Diego is the perfect place to help keep these endangered beauties growing.
- The coast live oak can live to be 250 years old, provide shade, and grow leaves that hold moisture. They can survive in drier climates, and best of all, this tree helps improve our environment by sequestering carbon.
- Being a coastal city, coastal agave is a natural fit. The spikey plant loves our sunshine, can withstand chillier mornings, and requires little maintenance.
- If you see some spikes poking out, it might be a coast prickly pear which loves our dry soil. This cactus has yellow flowers and produces a purple fruit that’s actually edible.
- Dudleya edulis, often called San Diego fingertips, loves sandstone bluffs + rocky areas like our mountains. If you think the flowers look like little, green fingers, that’s the point.