Is Native Enough? (1/2)

5 Reasons Natives Best Climate Compatibles and Cacti

Twenty years ago, it was hard to convince Los Angeles residents to landscape with low water use plants.  Now everyone is going over the top to save water, and we often meet people ready to dive into desertscaping as a community service.

If the bold look of broad agave leaves and cactus blooms makes your heart skip a beat, we have a plant palette for that!  On the other hand, if you long for a classic rose garden, a soft natural look, or something clean and simple, it is possible to achieve the look you love and hold your head high.


Look Like L.A.: Developing a distinctive aesthetic for Los Angeles comes easier when we select from the plants native to our region.  Luckily, our native plant palette is so broad, we have unmatched latitude for our hallmark creativity and self-expression.

Are Good for Our Wild Things: Many species of California birds, butterflies, and beneficials will only eat or shelter in specific California natives.  By planting native, we don’t simply support their lives in the wild, we can attract birds and butterflies into our urban spaces.

Are Good for Us: Because California natives need no toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers to thrive they support human health too. Many IdealMow lawns need no mowing, which also saves someone from inhaling the equivalent of the exhaust of 500 cars.

Prevent Runoff and Slides:  Non-native cacti do not have the root structures to absorb our rainfall or  maintain slopes.  Climate compatibles can invade wild spaces only to die in high heat, leaving slopes vulnerable. Natives beautifully retain slopes as they are perfectly adapted to our soils and natural rainfall.

Withstand Heat and Rejuvenate Post-Fire: California native chaparral plants have broad, leathery leaves that help them withstand high heat. Some, like Sequoias and Manzanitas, are fast to rejuvenate after fires. These are distinctive qualities not found in foliage from other regions.

California natives are not just enough, they are the ideal foliage for our gardens! That said, there are ways in which going native is not enough.  Replacing foliage is just one aspect of water-wise, sustainable landscaping.  Next month, we’ll look at the infrastructure decisions that will make your native garden a force for good.

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