Landscaping in California has changed progressively over the past several years to accommodate the increase of extreme hot and dry weather conditions as well as the ongoing drought. Mandatory water restrictions and state officials are urging people to pull out their lawns in favor of drought-tolerant landscaping.

Many drought-tolerant plants commonly found in nurseries come from areas outside of California. Ecologists say these kinds of plants often aren’t as beneficial to the local ecology because they are not as inviting for California’s animals, insects and birds as native plants.

Native and drought tolerant plants are important for this region, not just because they are water efficient, but because they are the cornerstone of biological diversity and the foundations of the native ecosystems in our environment.

Below is a list of native landscaping plants for California current climate conditions.–They all provide the benefits of lower water needs, reduced maintenance requirements, restored soil health, increased diversity that attracts birds and butterflies, as well as the aesthetic beauty of blending in with the natural landscapes.

Thomas Landscaping offers native California plants for everything from backyard gardens to wide scale re-vegetation is a positive practice that will benefit the local habitat and all residents who live here while providing drought resistant landscaping. This is not a full list, but here are some great options to get your new California-friendly garden started! Contact us today to learn more about how you can get started with your drought resistant landscaping. From start to finish, design and plant selection we will meet all your landscaping needs.

Perennials, Shrubs, and Ornamental Grasses

  • Agave species (Agave)
  • Alyogyne huegelii (Blue Hibiscus)
  • Arctostaphylos species (Manzanita)
  • Artemisia species (Sagebrush)
  • Ceanothus species (California Lilac)
  • Chamelaucium uncinatum (Geraldton Waxflower)
  • Cistus species (Rockrose)
  • Dudleya species (Live Forever)
  • Echeveria species (Hens-and-Chickens)
  • Encelia californica (California Encelia)
  • Galvezia speciosa (Island Bush Snapdragon)
  • Grevillea species (Grevillea)
  • Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon)
  • Lavandula species (Lavender)
  • Leucophyllum species (Texas Ranger)
  • Lobelia laxiflora (Mexican Bush Lobelia)
  • Mahonia nevinii (Nevin’s Barberry)
  • Melalueca nesophila (Pink Melaleuca)
  • Myrtus communis (Common Myrtle)
  • Nassella species (Needlegrass)
  • Penstemon species (Penstemon)
  • Rhus species (Sumac)
  • Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
  • Salvia, selected species (Sage)
  • Sisyrinchium bellum (Blue-Eyed Grass)
  • Tapetes lemmonii (Copper Canyon Daisy)
  • Verbena, selected species (Verbena)


  • Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree)
  • Chitalpa tashkentensis (Chitalpa)
  • Geijera parviflora (Australian Willow)
  • Laurus nobilis (Sweet Bay)
  • Olea europaea ‘Swan Hill’ (Swan Hill Olive)
  • Pinus eldarica (Afghan Pine)
  • Prosopsis chilensis (Chilean Mesquite)
  • Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)


  • Bougainvillea species (Bougainvillea)
  • Macfadyena unguis-cati (Cat’s Claw)
  • Vitis californica (California Wild Grape)


  • Buchloe dactyloides (Buffalograss)
  • Cynodon dactylon (Hybrid Bermudagrass)
  • Zoysia ‘Victoria’ (Victoria Zoysiagrass)

Ground Cover

  • Acacia redolens ‘Desert Carpet’
  • (Dwarf Prostrate Acacia)
  • Achillea species (Yarrow)
  • Baccharis species (Coyote Brush)
  • Cotoneaster dammeri (Bearberry Cotoneaster)
  • Lampranthus species (Ice Plant)
  • Lantana montevidensis (Trailing Lantana)
  • Myoporum parvifolium (Myoporum)
  • Sedum species (Stonecrop)