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Fall in Love With Water-Saving California Plants

Looking to give your garden a fall makeover? Giving your garden an updated fall feel is as easy as opting for colorful, drought-tolerant and California native plants.  With shorter, cooler days, fall is the perfect time to introduce new plants into your garden.

“Fall is ideal for planting drought-tolerant plants because the days are shorter and usually cooler,” says Marianne, Coastkeeper’s Garden Director. “Cooler weather gives the plants time to establish their roots before the heat of the following summer.”

Check Out Marianne’s Tips and Tricks to Prep Your Garden for Fall

1. Dig a hole as deep as the plant’s container and twice as wide

When planting, it’s important to choose an organic soil without any added amendments like clay or compost.  

Mexican bush sage: Add a pop of color with this velvety purple flower spikes that bloom summer through fall. Prune twice a year.

2. Use Mulch to Retain Moisture

Adding mulch to your garden enhances the soil quality. It stops weeds from growing, keeps roots cool and keeps moisture in the soil.

White Sage (Salvia apiana): Features a delightful aroma and is the perfect plant if you’re looking to attract birds to your garden.

3. Determine Watering Needs on a Plant-by-Plant Basis

Although native and California-friendly plants naturally do not need much water, no plant is drought-tolerant when planted. Most plants take at least 18 months or more to truly become drought-tolerant. Once the soil is dry to a depth of 2 to 3 inches, it’s time to water.

‘Little John’ Dwarf Bottlebrush (Melaleuca viminalis): This festive fall plant produces blood-red bottlebrush-like flowers that bloom all year round. It’s also a magnet for hummingbirds.

4. Avoid over-fertilizing

Fertilizers can harm and potentially kill California native plants. Be careful not to over-fertilize any drought-tolerant plants.

Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii): This beautiful autumn sage features magenta-red flowers that bloom throughout the summer and fall.

For more water-wise tips on giving your garden an updated fall look, stop by the Coastkeeper Garden.