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California Garden Shrubs

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Our list of shrubs for California gardens aims to provide interesting and garden worthy choices.  We have a number of plants listed that will thrive in our arid climate without taxing the water bill.  We also have lists of plants appropriate to the dry shady conditions under Oak Trees and lists of Native California plants as well.

Plants in this list must have woody stems for us to call them shrubs. But they are not large enough to be trees. Though in a small garden a large shrub could be used effectively as a small tree.  As with all divisions there is a group of plants that could be categorized in other ways.

Shrubs are a great filler.  I use them for screens, for color, for contrast.  I am particularly enamored with shrubs that get on the big side.  Some can be used as small trees.  So many gardens are too small to have a full sized tree fit to the scale of the yard.  Large shrubs can fill the bill.   Many of them get in excess of 10 feet tall.   Those that get to more than that are in our tree list.

I love an informal hedge of mixed shrubs.  I chose several that bloom at different times and have an interesting contrast to their foliage.  I group them in masses that are large enough to see the pattern and spread the groups so that there is a balance to the view.  Then I insert a few that are unique specimens for their seasonal highlights.  It is easy to add a second theme to this mix and attract hummingbirds or butterflies by choosing appropriate plants.

There are many shrubs that work as a thick groundcover.  This is great for a yard that requires water conservation.  Water can be applied at intervals of 4-6 feet instead of being broadcast everywhere.   A large number of plants from habitats similar to ours can thrive without supplemental water.  This group includes Ceanothus and rockroses (Cistus) and many others.  This can result in great conservation of water and plants at planting time.

There is also a long list of shrubs that can be incorporated into the dry shade garden.   For this I use many of the gooseberries, Garrya eliptica, abutalons, and many others.

Abelia grandiflora Kaleidoscope
Abutilon hybridum peach * Chinese Lantern
Abutilon hybridum pink
Abutilon hybridum red
Abutilon moonchimes * Yellow Chinese Lantern
Abutilon 'nabob' * Giant Red Abutalon
Abutilon hybridum yellow
Abutilon megapotamicum Seashell * Chinese Lantern
Acacia glaucoptera * Flat Wattle
Adenostoma fasciculatum * Chamise, Greasewood
Aloysia triphylla * Lemon Verbena
Alyogyne huegelii 'Santa Cruz' * Blue Hibiscus
Alyogyne huegelii 'Monterey Bay' * Blue Hibiscus
Anisodontea hypomandarum * Cape Mallow
Anisodontea 'Tara's Wonder'
Antirrhinum multiflorum * Sticky Snapdragon
Arctostaphylos Howard McMinn * Howard McMinn Manzanita
Arctostaphylos Pacific Mist * Pacific Mist Manzanita
Argyranthemum 'Chelsea Girl' * Marguerite Daisy
Argyranthemum Madeira Cherry Red * Marguerite Daisy
Artemisia californica * California Sagebrush
Artemisia arborescens Powis Castle
Artemisia arborescens Huntington
Artemisia frigida * Fringed Sage
Atriplex hymenelytra * Desert Holly
Bacharis pilularis * Coyote Brush
Banksia blechnifolia
Banksia burdettii *Burdett's Banksia
Barleria obtusa * Bush Violet
Bauhinia galpinii * Red Orchid Bush
Beloperone californica * Chuparosa
Berberis nevinii * Nevin's Barberry
Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea * Red Japanese Barberry
Brugmansia Betty Marshall * White Trumpet Tree
Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi * Gold Angels Trumpet Tree
Brunfelsia uniflora * Yesterday Today and Tomorrow
Buddleia asiatica * White Butterfly Bush
Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight' * Dark Purple Butterfly Bush
Buddleia davidii 'Harlequin' * Variegated Purple Butterfly Bush
Buddleia 'Lochinch' * Lavender Butterfly Bush
Buddleia Nanho Purple * Nanho Purple Butterfly Bush
Buddleia davidii 'Pink Delight' * Pink Butterfly Bush
Buddleia weyeriana * Gold Butterfly Bush
Caesalpinia gilliesii * Native Bird of Paradise
Calceolaria integrifolia 'gold nugget' * Lady's Slipper
Calliandra californica * Baja Fairy Duster
Calliandra haematocephala * Pink Powder Puff Bush
Calliandra tweedii * Red Tassel Bush
Callistemon Cane's Hybrid * Cane's Bottlebrush
Callistemon citrinus Jeffersii * Dwarf Bottlebrush
Callistemon Little John * Dwarf Bottlebrush
Calycanthus occidentalis * Spice Bush
Camellia japonica 'Chandleri Elegans'
Carissa macrocarpa * Natal Plum
Carpenteria californica 'Elizabeth' * California Anemone
Caryopteris incana * Bluebeard
Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Longwood Blue'
Cassia artemisioides * Silver Cassia
Ceanothus List
Centradenia grandiflora
Cestrum aurantiacum * Orange Jessamine
Cestrum elegans var 'Smithii'
Cestrum newellii * Red Cestrum
Cestrum nocturnum * Night Blooming Jasmine
Chorizema cordatum * Heart Leaf Flame Pea
Chrysothamnus nauseosus * Rabbit Brush
Cistus ladanifer 'Blanche' * White Rockrose
Cistus ladanifer maculatus * Brown Eyed Rockrose
Cistus labdanum
Cistus purpureus * Purple Rockrose
Cistus salviifolius * Sage Leaf Rockrose
Cistus skanbergii * Rockrose
Cistus 'sunset' * Rockrose
Cleome arborea * Bladderpod
Clerodendrum bungei
Clerodendrum philippinum
Clerodendrum ugandense * Butterfly Bush
Convolvulus sabatius * Ground Morning Glory
Coprosma kirkii variegata
Coprosma Rainbow Surprise * Rainbow Surprise Mirror Plant
Coprosma Roy's Red * Red Mirror Plant
Cornus sericea * Red Osier Dogwood
Correa 'dusky bells' * Australian Fuchsia
Correa 'ivory bells' * Australian Fuchsia
Correa reflexa 'Cape Carpet'
Crotalaria agatiflora * Canary Bird Bush
Cuphea Caribbean Sunset
Cuphea cyanea * Black Eyed Cuphea
Cuphea llavea * Bat Face
Cuphea micropetala * Candycorn Plant
Dendromecon harfordii * Island Bush Poppy
Dendromecon rigida * Bush Poppy
Dicliptera suberecta * Hummingbird Bush
Dorycnium hirsutum * Gray Broom
Duranta erecta * Sky Flower
Echium candicans * Pride of Madeira
Elaeagnus pungens 'fruitlandii' * Russian Olive or Silver berry
Encelia californica * California Brittle Bush, Coast Sunflower
Encelia farinosa * Brittlebush, Incienso
Ephedra californica * Desert Tea
Eranthemum pulchellum
Eremophila aurea * Golden Emu Bush
Eremophila glabra Kalgoorlie * Fuchsia Emu Bush
Eremophila maculata * Spotted Emu Bush
Ericameria nauseosa * Rabbit Brush
Eriodictyon crassifolium * Felt Leaved Yerba Santa
Eriogonum arborescens * Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat
Eriogonum cinereum * Ashyleaf Buckwheat, Coastal Buckwheat
Eriogonum crocatum * Conejo Buckwheat, Saffron Buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum * California Buckwheat
Eriogonum giganteum * St. Catherine's Lace
Eriogonum grande rubescens * Red Buckwheat
Eriogonum incanum * Frosted Buckwheat
Eriogonum umbellatum * Sulphur Buckwheat
Erysimum Bowles Mauve
Euphorbia characias wulfenii * Mediterranean Spurge
Euphorbia characias Tasmanian Tiger * Variegated Spurge
Euphorbia cotinifolia * Caribbean Copper Plant
Euryops virgineus * Honey Euryops
Fremontodendron californicum * Fremontea
Fremontodendron Ken Taylor * Flannel Bush
Fuchsia arborescens
Fuchsia gartenmeister Bonstedt
Fuchsia thymifolia
Fuchsia thymifolia variegata
Galvezia speciosa * Island Snapdragon
Garrya eliptica * Coast Tassel Bush
Globularia indubia * Globe Daisy
Grevillea alpina * Mountain Grevillea
Grevillea lanigera Coastal Gem
Grevillea 'long john'
Grevillea Moonlight * Moonlight Grevillea
Grevillea poorinda 'blondie' * Yellow Toothbrush Grevillea
Grevillea Robyn Gordon
Grevillea victoriae * Royal Grevillea
Greyia sutherlandii * Natal Bottlebrush
Hakea laurina * Pin Cushion Bush
Halimiocistus wintonensis * Halimiocistus
Hamelia patens * Firebush
Hebe Silver Beads
Helianthemum scoparium * Sunrose
Helichrysum petiolare * Licorice Plant
Helichrysum petiolare Limelight * Licorice Plant
Heliotropium arborescens * Heliotrope
Heliotropium Black Beauty
Hibiscus sabdariffa * Roselle
Hibiscus Syriacus Jeanne D'Arc * Double White Rose of Sharon
Hydrangea quercifolia * Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia Sikes Dwarf * Dwarf Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea serrata * Lace Hydrangea, Mountain Hydrangea, Tea of Heaven
Hypoestes aristata * Ribbon Bush
Hyptis emoryi Silver Lining * Desert Lavender
Iochroma cyaneum violacea
Iochroma grandiflora
Iresine herbstii * Bloodleaf
Isomeris arborea * Bladderpod
Isoplexis canariensis * Canary Island Fox Glove
Jasminum angulare * South African Jasmine
Juniperus conferta * Shore Juniper
Justicia aurea * Yellow Jacobinia
Justicia californica * Chuparosa
Justicia carnea * Brazilian Plume Plant
Justicia coccinea
Justicia dicliptera * Hummingbird Bush
Justicia Fruit Salad * Shrimp Plant
Justicia Jambalaya * Dwarf Shrimp Plant
Justicia leonardii * Orange Justicia
Justicia rizzinii * Firecracker Flower
Kalanchoe beharensis * Velvet Elephant Ear
Keckiellia cordifolia * Bush Penstemon
Lavandula dentata * French Lavender
Lavandula dentata candicans * Gray Leaved French Lavender
Lavandula Goodwin Creek Grey * Goodwin Creek Lavender
Lavandula heterophylla * Sweet Lavender
Lavandula intermedia Grosso * Lavandin Grosso
Lavandula intermedia Provence * Blue Lavandin
Lavandula multifida * Fern Leaf Lavender
Lavandula pinnata buchii * Jagged Lavender
Lavandula stoechas var pedunculatus 'atlas' * Spanish Lavender
Lavandula stoechas Coco Blue White * Spanish Lavender
Lavandula stoechas Otto Quast * Spanish Lavender
Lavandula stoechas Silver Anouk * Spanish Lavender
Lavatera assurgentiflora * Tree Mallow
Lavatera Barnsley
Lavatera bicolor * Bush Mallow
Lavatera purisima * Island Mallow
Leonotis leonurus * Lion's Tail
Leonotis leonurus White * White Lion's Tail
Lepechinia fragrans El Tigre * Island Pitcher Sage, Fragrant Pitcher Sage
Lepechinia hastata * Pitcher Sage
Leptodactylon californicum * Prickly Phlox
Leucadendron discolor * Flame Tips
Leucadendron Jester
Leucadendron Safari Sunset * Safari Sunset Cone Bush
Leucophyllum frutescens * Texas Ranger
Lonicera subspicata denudata * Chaparral Honeysuckle
Loropetalum chinense * Witch Hazel
Loropetalum chinense Blush * Witch Hazel
Loropetalum chinense Burgundy * Witch Hazel
Lupinus albifrons * Silver Bush Lupine
Lupinus chamissonis * Dune Bush Lupine, Chamisso Bush Lupine
Mahonia nevinii * Nevin's Barberry
Malacothamnus fasciculatus * Bush Mallow
Malosma laurina * Laurel Sumac
Malvaviscus arboreus * Turk's Cap
Maireana sedifolia * Pearl Bluebush
Melaleuca elliptica* Granite Honey Myrtle
Melaleuca incana * Gray Honey Myrtle
Melianthus major * Honey Bush
Michelia yunnanensis * Magnolia dianica
Mimulus aurantiacus * Sticky Monkeyflower
Mimulus flemingii * Island Monkeyflower
Mimulus Georgie Red * Georgie Red Monkeyflower
Mimulus Jack * Jack Monkeyflower
Mimulus Midnight * Midnight Monkeyflower
Mimulus puniceus * Red Monkeyflower
Mimulus Ruby Silver * Ruby Silver Monkey Flower
Mirabilis californica * Wishbone Bush
Montanoa grandiflora * Daisy Tree
Myrica caliifornica * Pacific Wax Myrtle
Odontonema strictum * Fire Spike
Osmanthus fragrans * Sweet Olive
Pavonia missionum
Pachystachys lutea * Golden Shrimp Plant, Lollypop Plant
Pavonia praemorsa * Yellow Mallow
Pelargonium cordifolium
Perovskia atriplicifolia * Russian Sage
Phlomis fruticosa * Jerusalem Sage
Phlomis lanata * Jerusalem Sage
Phlomis purpurea * Purple Jerusalem Sage
Plumbago auriculata * Cape Plumbago
Pimelea ferruginea * Pink Rice Flower
Poliomintha longifolia * Mexican Oregano
Polygala dalmaisiana * Sweet Pea Shrub
Prostanthera ovalifolia * Mint Bush
Protea magnifica * Queen Protea
Prunus andersonii * Desert Peach, Desert Almond
Prunus ilicifolia * Holly Leaf Cherry
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii * Catalina Cherry
Psoralea pinnata * African Scurfpea
Puya alpestris * Sapphire Tower
Quercus garryana * Brewers Oak
Raphiolepsis indica Springtime * Indian Hawthorn
Reinwardtia indica * Yellow Flax
Rhamnus californicus Eve Case * Coffee Berry
Rhamnus crocea * Red Berry
Rhus integrifolia * Lemonade Berry
Rhus laurina * Laurel Sumac
Rhus ovata * Sugar Bush
Ribes aureum * Golden Currant
Ribes malvaceum * Chaparral Currant
Ribes speciosum * Fuchsia Flowered Currant
Rosa californica * California Wild Rose
Rosa hugonis * Father Hugo's Rose
Rosa laevigata * Cherokee Rose
Rosa mutabilis
Russellia equisetiformis * Firecracker Plant
Salvia adenophora
Salvia africana lutea * Golden Sage, Dune Sage
Salvia Allen Chickering * Allen Chickering Sage
Salvia apiana * White Sage
Salvia brandegeei * Brandegee's Sage
Salvia buchananii * Buchanan's Sage
Salvia canariensis * Canary Island Sage
Salvia chamaedryoides * Germander Sage
Salvia chiapensis * Chiapas Sage
Salvia clevelandii * Cleveland Sage
Salvia clevelandii Winnifred Gilman * Blue Sage
Salvia coahuilensis * Coahuila Sage
Salvia confertiflora * Red Velvet Sage
Salvia darcyi * Fiery Sage
Salvia desperado * Desperado Sage
Salvia dorisiana * Peach Sage, Fruit Scented Sage
Salvia dorrii dorrii * Purple Desert Sage
Salvia elegans * Pineapple Sage
Salvia greggii alba
Salvia greggii annie
Salvia greggii Furman's Red
Salvia greggii San Takao
Salvia Sierra del San Antonio
Salvia gesneriifolora
Salvia guaranitica Argentine Skies
Salvia guaranitica Costa Rica Blue * Anise Scented Sage
Salvia guaranitica Purple Majesty
Salvia Indigo Spires
Salvia involucrata * Rose Leaf Sage
Salvia iodantha * Mexican Fuchsia Sage
Salvia karwinskii * Karwinski's Sage
Salvia lanceolata * Rocky Mountain Sage
Salvia leucantha * Mexican Sage
Salvia leucantha Danielle's Dream * Danielle's Dream Mexican Sage
Salvia leucantha Midnight * Purple Mexican Sage
Salvia leucantha Santa Barbara * Santa Barbara Mexican Sage
Salvia leucophylla Point Sal * Trailing Purple Sage
Salvia madrensis * Forsythia Sage
Salvia maraschino
Salvia melissodora * Grape Scented Sage
Salvia mellifera * Black Sage
Salvia mellifera Terra Seca * Dwarf Black Sage
Salvia mexicana Limelight
Salvia microphylla * Cherry Sage
Salvia microphylla Berzerkeley
Salvia microphylla Hot Lips
Salvia muelleri * Royal Autumn Sage
Salvia muirii
Salvia Pozo Blue * Pozo Blue Sage
Salvia regla * Mountain Sage
Salvia riparia
Salvia semiatrata
Salvia urica
Salvia wagneriana * Wagner's Sage
Salvia Waverly
Sambucus mexicana * Mexican Elderberry
Santolina chamaecyparissus * Lavender Cotton
Santolina pinnata neapolitana Lemon Queen * Pinnate Lavender Cotton
Santolina virens * Green Lavender Cotton
Senna artemesioides * Silver Cassia
Sollya heterophylla * Bluebell Creeper
Sphaeralcea ambigua
Sphaeralcea fulva La Luna
Sphaeralcea philippiana
Streptosolen jamesonii * Marmalade Bush
Syringa hyacinthiflora California Rose * Lilac
Syringa hyacinthiflora Excel * Lilac
Tagetes lemmonii * Bush Marigold
Tecoma X Smithii * Orange Bells
Tecoma stans * Yellow Trumpet Bush
Teucrium fruticans azureum * Bush Germander
Tibouchina heteromalla * Silver Leafed Princess Flower
Tibouchina urvilleana * Princess Flower
Trichostema lanatum * Wooly Blue Curls
Vitex agnus castus * Chaste Tree
Vitex trifolia purpurea * Arabian Lilac
Westringia brevifolia * Small Leaf Westringia

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Last modified: November 10, 2014