Native Plants for Easy Gardening in San Diego, CA

A garden can add a lot of bright, cheerful color to your yard. When you select native plants, you can combine the beauty of gardening with some beneficial uses. Native plants help you as the gardener because they often require less work, like less water, and they help the environment, by attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and more. Native plants feature a variety of colors, scents, and textures to add to your garden. However, you may be wondering where to get started with native gardening. Here are a handful of low maintenance options for adding some color to your landscaping in San Diego.

Yellow and Orange

Desert mallow: This bright orange flowering plant needs sun and air–and a little bit of water–to flourish.

San Diego sunflower: These yellow sunflowers love San Diego. The sun and temperature are just what these yellow buds need to look beautiful.

Encelia farinosa: This flowering shrub has buds that look like a daisy. They need very little water and handle drought well.

Lantana: There are many shrub lantanas that come in different colors, so look for some that fit in with your garden's theme. The bright yellow, orange or pink flowers stand out among green leaves. They do well even during a drought.

Purple and Pink

Ian Bush: This manzanita has red bark, green leaves, and little pink flowers. The flowers can look like fireworks exploding off the end of a stem.


Showy Penstemon: These purple-blue flowers thrive in winter landscapes in Southern California. They flower pretty quickly within their first year but don’t grow very tall (just about three feet). They also attract hummingbirds.

Salvia Pozo Blue Sage: This perennial features violet buds that attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

Bougainvillea: These bright pink vines have a delicate blossom with a vibrant color. Beware of the thorns on this beautiful addition to a garden.

Pink muhly grass: These light grasses have a feathery, pink flower that emerges in the summer and fall. Add some texture to your garden with this native grass.


White sage: Found in many coastal areas of Southern California and Baja California, this shrub blooms with white, almost pinkish-purplish, buds that attract bees and release a strong aroma.

Narrowleaf milkweed: A favorite of the Monarch butterfly, these small white flowers love the sun and soil with good drainage.


Succulents: Succulents of all varieties are a popular choice for gardeners because they are easy to maintain and look great with other flowering plants surrounding them. Here are a few succulents that will do great in the San Diego area: Aloe species, like icicle plants, features spiky, waxy leaves; and Agave species, like the blue agave, come in many shapes and sizes with long, triangular leaves.

Native plants can bring beauty and a pop of color to your garden, along with reduced watering needs and benefits for the local wildlife. For help with getting started with or maintaining your garden with native plants, visit our San Diego lawn care services page.