California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Dry Shade Garden (ie planting under oaks or other places that you don't want to water)

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Oaks in our landscapes require a dry environment under them. Finding drought tolerant shade plants that will thrive can be difficult. Many of the plants that are found in garden centers shade sections lust for water. Appropriate planting under oak trees is critical if we are to maintain our natural oak forest.

Increasingly water agencies are restricting the use of water or are raising the cost dramatically. And community planners are requiring ecologically sensitive plant lists for site plans for construction projects. For the sake of the wallet as well as maintaining the continuity of the plants in the landscape there is a lot of motivation for using drought tolerant plants under your oaks.

This dry shade garden list includes both natives and introduced landscape plants that will thrive on the conditions that are ideal for planting under our native Coast Live Oaks, Quercus agrifolia. The coolest and most comfortable part of the garden during the heat of the day is under the trees. It is only natural to want to make this area attractive. These areas are often planted with lawns, azaleas, fuchsias and many other water loving plants. In the long run this is no good for the oak trees. The oaks may not show stress immediately but over 10-20 years it can spell disaster. In the interim the oaks keep looking worse and worse. And the risk of the tree falling on people increases dramatically.

The extra irrigation coupled with the fertilizing in the area of the trees with concentrated ammonia based fertilizers destroys the native soil fungi. This creates conditions ideal for the oak root fungus to get a foothold. The bad fungi don't attach to good fungi like they do to naked roots.

While oak trees can grow in wet conditions (I have seen old trees growing in creek bottoms with water running over the roots all year) they can not tolerate a change of diet without a rapid decline or death.

The problem zone extends to the drip line of the tree and somewhat beyond. This means the entire area shaded by the tree and probably half again that radius of the tree has roots from that tree. Any change of grade or increase in the irrigation within this zone  compromises the trees.

Two great books on this theme are listed below.

Drought Tolerant Shade Plants List

Abutilon Moonchimes * Yellow Abutilon
Acer negundo californicum * California Box Elder, Boxelder
Adiantum jordanii * California Maidenhair Fern
Alpinia zerumbet variegata * Variegated Shell Ginger
Anemone Alice * Semidouble Pink Japanese Anemone
Anemone Honorine Jobert * Single White Japanese Anemone
Anemone September Charm * Single Pink Japanese Anemone
Anemone Whirlwind * Double White Japanese Anemone
Angelonia angustifolia * Summer Snapdragon
Arctostaphylos densiflora Howard McMinn * Vine Hill Manzanita
Artemisia douglasiana * Mugwort
Artemisia vulgaris * Mugwort
Astelia chathamica Silver Spear
Barleria obtusa * Bush Violet
Berberis nevinii * Nevin's Barberry
Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea * Red Japanese Barberry
Bergenia Bressingham Ruby * Bressingham Ruby Bergenia
Bergenia crassifolia * Winter Blooming Bergenia
Bignonia capreolata Tangerine Beauty * Cross Vine
Billbergia nutans * Queen's Tears
Bloomeria crocea * Goldenstar
Brugmansia Betty Marshall * White Trumpet Tree
Brugmansia candida * White Trumpet Tree
Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi * Gold Angel's Trumpet Tree
Brunfelsia uniflora * Yesterday Today and Tomorrow
Calliandra haematocephala * Pink Powder Puff Bush
Calochortus albus * Fairy Lantern
Calycanthus occidentalis * Spice Bush
Camassia quamash * Camas
Campsis radicans * Trumpet Creeper
Canna Durban * Durban Canna Lily
Carex tumulicola * Berkeley Sedge
Centaurea gymnocarpa * Pink Dusty Miller
Centranthus ruber * Red Valerian, Jupiter's Beard
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides * Dwarf Plumbago
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides * Chinese Plumbago
Cestrum aurantiacum * Orange Jessamine
Cestrum newellii * Red Cestrum
Cestrum nocturnum * Night Blooming Jasmine
Chorizema cordatum * Heart Leaf Flame Pea
Clarkia unguiculata * Woodland Clarkia
Clematis lasiantha * Chaparral Clematis, Pipestems
Clematis ligusticifolia * Creek Clematis, Virgin's Bower
Clerodendrum thomsoniae * Bleeding Heart Vine
Clivia miniata * Kaffir Lily
Convolvulus sabatius * Ground Morning Glory
Coprosma kirkii variegata
Coprosma Rainbow Surprise
Coprosma Roy's Red
Cordyline Sunrise
Correa 'dusky bells' * Australian Fuchsia
Correa 'ivory bells * Australian Fuchsia
Crassula falcata * Airplane Plant
Crocosmia Lucifer
Crocosmia Solfatare
Cuphea cyanea * Black Eyed Cuphea
Cuphea ignea * Cigar Plant, Firecracker Plant
Cycas revoluta * Sago Palm
Dalechampia dioscoreifolia * Purple Wings
Dianella Tas Red * Tas Red Flax Lily
Dianella tasmanica * Flax Lily
Dianella tasmanica variegata * White Striped Flax Lily
Dodecatheon clevelandii * Padre's Shooting Star
Dodecatheon hendersonii * Foothill Shooting Star, Mosquito Bills
Dracunculus vulgaris * Voodoo Lily
Dudleya lanceolata * Lance Leaf Liveforever
Duranta erecta * Sky Flower
Echeveria secunda * Hens and Chicks
Echium candicans * Pride of Madeira
Elymus condensatus Canyon Prince * Canyon Prince Giant Rye
Encephalartos horridus * Blue Cycad
Erigeron glaucus Bountiful * Seaside Daisy
Erigeron glaucus Sea Breeze * Pink Seaside Daisy
Eriogonum grande rubescens * Pink or Red Buckwheat
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae * Wood Spurge
Euphorbia Ascot Rainbow
Euphorbia milii * Crown of Thorns
Festuca californica * California Fescue
Fraxinus dipetala * California Ash
Freesia alba * Wild Freesia
Galium aparine * Bedstraw
Galvezia speciosa * Island Snapdragon
Garrya elliptica 'James Roof' * Coast Silk Tassel
Gelsemium sempervirens * Carolina Jessamine
Geranium renardii * Renard's Geranium
Geranium maderense * Madiera Geranium
Graptopetalum amethystinum * Jewel Leaf Plant
Graptopetalum paraguayense * Ghost Plant
Grevillea victoriae * Royal Grevillea
Greyia sutherlandii * Natal Bottlebrush
Hamelia patens * Firebush
Helichrysum petiolare * Licorice Plant
Heteromeles arbutifolia * Toyon
Heuchera Canyon Duet * Canyon Duet Coral Bells
Heuchera 'Firefly'
Heuchera maxima * Island Alumroot
Heuchera micrantha diversifolia Palace Purple * Crevice Alumroot
Heuchera 'Santa Ana Cardinal'
Heucherella 'Bridget Bloom'
Hippeastrum Red White * Amaryllis
Homeria collina * Cape Tulip
Hydrangea quercifolia * Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia Sikes Dwarf * Dwarf Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea serrata * Lace Hydrangea, Mountain Hydrangea, Tea of Heaven
Iochroma cyaneum violaceae
Iochroma grandiflora
Ipheion uniflorum * Spring Star Flower
Iris Dorothea's Ruby * Pacific Coast Hybrid Iris Dorothea's Ruby
Iris hartwegii * Sierra Iris, Hartweg's Iris
Iris Nada * (Iris japonica) Butterfly Iris
Iris pacific coast hybrids * Douglas' Iris Hybrids
Juniperus conferta * Shore Juniper
Justicia carnea * Brazilian Plume Plant
Justicia coccinea
Justicia Fruit Salad * Shrimp Plant
Justicia brandegeana Jambalaya * Dwarf Shrimp Plant
Justicia suberecta * Hummingbird Bush
Justicia leonardii * Orange Justicia
Justicia rizzinii * Firecracker Flower
Kalanchoe beharensis * Velvet Elephant Ear
Kalanchoe pumila
Keckiella cordifolia * Bush Penstemon
Lavandula multifida * Fern Leaf Lavender
Lavandula pinnata buchii * Jagged Lavender
Lavatera assurgentifolia * Tree Mallow
Lavatera purisima * Island Mallow
Leonotis leonurus * Lion's Tail
Lepechinia fragrans El Tigre * Island Pitcher Sage, Fragrant Pitcher Sage
Lepechinia hastata * Pitcher Sage
Leymus condensatus Canyon Prince * Canyon Prince Giant Rye
Limonium perezii * Statice, Sea Lavender
Lirope Silver Dragon
Lomandra longifolia * Mat Rush
Lonicera subspicata denudata * Chaparral Honeysuckle
Loropetalum chinense * Witch Hazel
Loropetalum chinense Blush * Witch Hazel
Loropetalum chinense Burgundy * Witch Hazel
Macfadyne unguis-cati * Cat's Claw Vine
Mahonia nevinii * Nevin's Barberry
Maireana sedifolia * Pearl Bluebush
Malvaviscus arboreus * Turk's Cap
Mascagnia macroptera * Butterfly Vine
Melaleuca inana * Gray Honey Bush
Melianthus major * Honey Bush
Mimulus aurantiacus * Sticky Monkeyflower
Mimulus flemingii * Island Monkeyflower
Mimulus Georgie Red * Georgie Red Monkeyflower
Mimulus Jack * Monkeyflower Hybrid
Mimulus Midnight * Monkeyflower Hybrid
Mimulus puniceus * Red Bush Monkeyflower
Mimulus Ruby Silver * Ruby Silver Monkeyflower
Mirabilis jalapa * Four O'Clock, Marvel of Peru
Monardella lanceolata * Mustang Mint
Myrica californica * Pacific Wax Myrtle
Nematanthus wettsteinii * Goldfish Plant
Neomarica caerulea * Walking Iris
Odontonema strictum * Fire Spike
Ophiopogon japonicus nana * Dwarf Mondo Grass
Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens * Black Mondo Grass
Paeonia californica * California Peony
Pelargonium cordifolium
Pelargonium quercifolium * Oakleaf Geranium
Pelargonium tomentosum * Peppermint Scented Geranium
Pellaea andromedifolia * Coffee Fern
Philadelphus mexicanus plena * Double Flowering Evergreen Mock Orange
Phlomis fruticosa * Jerusalem Sage
Pholistoma auritum * Fiesta Flower
Phormium tenax Jack Spratt * Dwarf New Zealand Flax
Phormium Pink Stripe * New Zealand Flax
Phygelius Moonraker * Yellow Cape Fuchsia
Phygelius Pink Sensation * Pink Cape Fuchsia
Platanus racemosa * Sycamore
Plectranthus argentatus * Silver Spur Flower
Plectranthus ciliatus Drege * Spur Flower
Plectranthus Mona Lavender * Lavender Spur Flower
Poliomintha longifolia * Mexican Oregano
Polygala dalmaisiana * Sweet Pea Shrub
Potentilla glandulosa * Sticky Cinquefoil
Prunus ilicifolia * Holly Leaf Cherry
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii * Catalina Cherry
Quercus agrifolia * Coast Live Oak
Quercus kelloggii * California Black Oak
Raphiolepsis indica Springtime * Indian Hawthorn
Reinwardtia indica * Yellow Flax
Rhamnus californicus 'Eve Case' * Coffee Berry
Rhamnus crocea * Red Berry
Rhus integrifloia * Lemonade Berry
Rhus ovata * Sugar Bush
Ribes aureum * Golden Currant
Ribes speciosum * Fuchsia Flowered Currant
Romneya coulteri * Matilija Poppy
Rosa californica * California Wild Rose
Ruellia brittoniana * Mexican Petunia
Stachys albotomentosa Hidalgo * Hidalgo Stachys, Seven-up Plant
Salvia adenophora
Salvia buchananii * Buchanan's Sage
Salvia confertiflora
Salvia discolor
Salvia dorisiana * Peach Sage, Fruit Scented Sage
Salvia Indigo Spires
Salvia mexicana Limelight
Salvia microphylla
Salvia microphylla Berzerkeley
Salvia urica
Salvia spathacea * Hummingbird Sage
Scaevola mauve clusters * Fairy Fan Flower
Scilla peruviana * Peruvian Lily
Scutellaria siphocampyloides * Greyleaf Skullcap
Sedum dasyphyllum * Corsican Stonecrop, Blue Tears Sedum
Silene laciniata * Indian Pink, Cardinal Catchfly
Sisyrinchium bellum * Blue Eyed Grass
Sisyrinchium Rocky Point * Rocky Point Blue Eyed Grass
Sollya heterophylla * Bluebell Creeper
Sprekelia formosissima * Aztec Lily
Stephanotis floribunda * Madagascar Jasmine
Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet' * Lambs Ears
Stenocarpus sinuatus * Firewheel Tree
Syringa hyacinthiflora California Rose * Lilac
Tradescantia pallida Purple Heart * Purple Wandering Jew
Tradescantia sillamontana * Cobwebby Spiderwort
Tecoma X Smithii * Orange Bells
Thunbergia battiscombei
Thysanolaena maxima * Tiger Grass
Tricyrtis hirta * Toad Lily
Veltheimia bracteata * Forest Lily
Venegasia carpesioides * Canyon Sunflower
Verbena lilacina De La Mina * Cedros Island Verbena
Verbena rigida * Sandpaper Verbena
Vitis californica * California Wild Grape
Woodwardia fimbriata * Giant Chain Fern
Zauschneria californica * California Fuchsia

Custom Search

Home Garden
Questions or comments about this website
Copyright © 1999 California Gardens
Last modified: November 12, 2014