(California Drought Action Pack) The drought in California is a real challenge to gardeners and to the wildlife that depends increasingly on us for survival. We want to help.
This package consists of Salvias, Agastache, Kniphofia, Asclepias and other wildlife-friendly & drought resistant plants that will grow, bloom and be happy in dry gardens. We will personally select three each of four different plants, taking into account your particular climate and location. These are some of our top sellers, offered as a discounted group. We can't promise any specific plant, but you'll be excited when you unpack your box!
We're all concerned about the declining habitats and food sources for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees - and by planting these in your garden you will be doing a great service to our animal friends that being stressed by the lack of flowers. Because of the large number of suitable varieties we grow, we'll plan to send along a balanced, long blooming mix. You can plant now and enjoy these beauties for years to come, even if the drought continues.
Some of the plants
We also include a detailed Planting Guide, to insure your success.
We offer this for the Fall planting season only with free shipping anywhere in California. You can choose your desired shipping date during checkout.
Please let us know in the "Customer Notes" section of the shopping cart if you have any color preferences or blooming season restrictions. We guarantee to pick out some of the very best drought tolerant varieties we grow for you. Please, this is for California residents only.
(Kudos Coral Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of deep coral flowers are accented by mid-green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Coral is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.
Agastaches are ideal companion plants for Salvias and beneficial choices for attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Similar to so many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) -- such as sages -- they thrive in low-fertility soils, but need excellent drainage.
Kudos Coral is a fragrant, long-blooming Agastache developed by Oregon's Terra Nova Nurseries.
Most Agastaches are native to the Southwest and Northern Mexico. These are the most heat- and drought-tolerant members of the genus. In contrast, some species -- such as the Asian Agastache rugosa -- can handle more moisture and colder winters. This one does well in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5.
By crossing Southwestern species with varieties of Agastache rugosa, you gain the best of both types as in the Kudos Series. Kudos Agastaches are more compact, floriferous, long flowering and weather-resistant than most Agastaches. Their non-browning calyces create long-lasting color that endures even when blossoms are gone.
(Kudos Mandarin Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of creamy orange flowers are accented by deep green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Mandarin is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.
Agastaches are ideal companion plants for Salvias and beneficial choices for attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Similar to so many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) -- such as sages -- they thrive in low-fertility soils, but need excellent drainage.
Kudos Mandarin is a fragrant, long-blooming Agastache developed by Oregon's Terra Nova Nurseries.
Most Agastaches are native to the Southwest and Northern Mexico. These are the most heat- and drought-tolerant members of the genus. In contrast, some species -- such as the Asian Agastache rugosa -- can handle more moisture and colder winters.
By crossing Southwestern species with varieties of Agastache rugosa, you gain the best of both types as in the Kudos Series. This one grows well in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5. Kudos Agastaches are more tidy and upright, floriferous, long flowering and weather-resistant than most Agastaches. Their non-browning calyces create long-lasting color that endures even when blossoms are gone.
(Kudos Yellow Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Flowers by the Sea is one of the first nurseries nationwide to grow Agastache x 'Kudos Yellow'. This is one of the best deep yellow Agastaches we've found, due to its large, dense flower spikes and bushy, upright form.
Kudos Yellow Hybrid Anise Hyssop is long blooming. It has lance-shaped, mid-green leaves and green calyxes that don't turn brown when the flowers die. As its common name implies, this sage has a licorice-like fragrance.
Most Agastaches are Southwestern and Mexican types known for resisting heat and drought. Cross these species with the Asian Agastache rugosa -- as Oregon's Terra Nova Nurseries has done in its Kudos series -- and you get vigorous, cold tolerant varieties that can handle more moisture. This one also has good resistance to downy mildew.
Kudos Yellow is made for full sun. Similar to so many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) -- such as sages -- it thrives in low-fertility soils, but needs excellent drainage. It is an ideal companion plant for sages and a beneficial choice for attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Deer just walk on by.
(Orange Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its clear, pumpkin-orange trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
Orange Texas Firecracker is a subshrub, which means that it combines soft, herbaceous perennial foliage with some woodiness. It has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Trim it back in late winter for better form and fuller spring growth.
Although related to the Bears Breeches genus (Acanthus), Orange Texas Firecracker lacks the thorny sepals of those plants. Anisacanthus is Greek for "without thorns" and quadrifidus refers to the four petals of its flower. The phrase var. Wrightii means that this is a variation of the native Texas species named for American botanist Charles Wright (1811-1885). Beginning in 1837, Wright spent 15 years collecting extensively in Texas.
This is a mid-height, heat-tolerant species that loves full sun. Orange Texas Firecracker resists drought, but thrives with average watering based on local conditions. For pyrotechnical color in the garden, mix it with the deep orange flowers of Texas Firecracker (Anisacanthus wrightii) and the crimson blossoms of Red Texas Firecracker ( Anisacanthus wrightii 'Select Red').
Don't worry about deer; this plant isn't to their taste.
(Swan Plant) Elegant white flowers with purple inner markings change into lime green-to-gold, balloon-shaped seedpods in this South African milkweed that Monarch butterflies love. The seedpods are 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
Although most people refer to Swan Plant scientifically as Asclepias physocarpa, it was renamed in 2001 as Gomphocarpus physocarpus to indicate that it is an African milkweed.
It's the graceful flowers on long, slender stalks that give Swan Plant its name. However, it's also commonly called Goose Plant and -- for obvious reasons -- Balloon Plant.
Swan plant is a good back row choice for borders and flowerbeds, because it grows tall. It has long, narrow, lance-shaped leaves on which Monarch (Danaus plexippus), Queen (Danaus gilippus) and Soldier (Danaus eresimus) lay their eggs.
Milkweeds are the only plants that Monarch caterpillars will eat. The roughness of fuzzy milkweed foliage makes it easier for eggs and chrysalises to cling to the plants. Monarch caterpillars consume powerful chemicals in the leaves protecting them as babies and adults against predators for whom the chemicals are toxic. Perhaps it is these chemicals that make deer avoid the plant.
Unlike Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), this plant doesn't have a taproot. This means that it is easier to control the plant's spread.
Swan Plant does well in a variety of average garden soils, requires full sun and -- similar to other forms of the species -- tolerates heat. Although it loves ample water, average watering based on local conditions is sufficient.
While it is perennial to regions with warm winter climates, Swan Plant is a good annual for areas with cold winters. You can overwinter it in a pot indoors in a cool, sunny location. Cut back the foliage first.
(Showy Milkweed) Milkweeds (Asclepias spp. ) are must-have, nectar-rich plants in the butterfly garden. They're the only genus on which the endangered Monarch butterfly lays eggs. It is urgent that we offer this pretty, fragrant wildflower.
In spring 2013, The New York Times reported a precipitous decline in the Monarch butterfly migration due to various causes, including North America’s plummeting supply of Milkweed. The species normally grows wild in agricultural fields. However, the increasing use of seed genetically modified to withstand herbicides has eliminated at least 120 million acres of Monarch habitat, according to The New York Times.
Backyard gardeners can help reverse this trend by growing plants, such as Showy Milkweed, which keep the Monarch migration alive and feed other species of butterflies as well.
Butterflies need flowers on which they can easily perch while sipping nectar. Plants with globe-shaped flower heads, such as those of Milkweeds, meet this need. The roughness of Showy Milkweed's long, fuzzy, gray-green leaves make it easy for eggs and chrysalises to connect. Powerful chemicals in the foliage are consumed by Monarch caterpillars and make them off limits -- as babies and adult butterflies -- to predators that can’t consume those substances.
Showy Milkweed features globes of tiny, star-shaped flowers that are pale, creamy pink. It isn’t very big for such a powerful plant, growing only 24 to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Although it can tolerate a bit of partial shade, this plant prefers full sun. It likes droughty conditions as well as gravelly ground. Any kind of soil will do as long as it drains well.
This cold-tolerant species grows well in USDA Zones 4 to 9 where it looks pretty in perennial borders or massed with other Lepidoptera favorites in butterfly gardens. It is particularly well adapted to dry gardens. Milkweeds are native to a large swath of North America, so they are also good choices for native gardens.
To control the plant’s tendency to naturalize in parts of the yard where you don’t want to grow it, simply snip off the seedpods before they ripen and pop open.
IMPORTANT NOTE: What you will recieve is a very well established root system. The foliege will not be cosmetically perfect, and it is only in the second year, once planted out in the ground, that this species will attain its full potential. In the wild this species often exhibits summer dormancy. There is generally very little above ground activity in the year in which this is planted.
(Mango Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds & honeybees, and attract butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.
In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. This is absolutely our favorite. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.
We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have plant.
(Papaya Popsicle Hot Poker) Terra Nova Nursery's Popsicle Series of dwarf Hot Poker perennials are reminiscent of the kind of frozen treats designed to look like rocket ships and fireworks. The blossoms of Papaya Popsicle are a bright orange-red and gold.
Tidy clumps of grassy, green foliage surround Papaya Popsicle's flower spikes. It is a full-sun perennial that appreciates regular watering but is drought resistant. We grow a number of Popsicle Kniphofias and can attest to their super-long bloom time, which keeps butterflies and hummingbirds busy in our gardens.
Aside from being wildlife friendly, this easy-to-grow Hot Poker is cold tolerant and works well in Salvia gardens due to low demand for both water and fertilizer. Sometimes Kniphofias are referred to as Torch Lilies due to their shape as well as their fiery look, which helps light up the landscape -- especially when mixed with hot-colored Salvias.
(Poco Orange Dwarf Hot Poker) Flowers by the Sea is the first U.S. nursery to grow Kniphofia 'Poco Orange' -- a dwarf Hot Poker that is several inches shorter than the Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle' when in bloom.
Hot Poker is native to southern Africa. Oregon's innovative Terra Nova Nurseries developed both of these hybrids.
Similar to Terra Nova's Popsicle series of Hot Poker plants, the new Poco series features tidy clumping of grassy, green foliage from which bright, long blooming flower spikes arise. This one is especially attractive to hummingbirds and doesn't appeal to deer.
We grow a number of Terra Nova Kniphofias and can attest to their super-long bloom times. All are full-sun perennials that appreciate regular watering yet are drought resistant.
Aside from being wildlife friendly, this easy-to-grow perennial tolerates cold and heat. Poco Orange Dwarf Hot Poker works well in Salvia gardens due to its low demand for both water and fertilizer.
Sometimes Kniphofias are referred to as Torch Lilies due to their shape as well as their fiery look, which helps light up the landscape -- especially when mixed with hot-colored Salvias.
FBTS is growing an increasing number of Salvia companions. Poco Orange, which forms eye-catching groundcover, is one of our favorites.
(Redhot Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds and butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.
In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. We love this one for its intensel color that really stands out in a crowd. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.
We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have.
(Vicki Romo White Sage) A hybrid of two, top Californian natives, Vicki Romo has foliage very much like that of White Sage (Salvia apiana) and darker lavender flowers than those of Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii).
Vicki Romo is from the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden where it was named after a graduate student intern. It has bigger, more pronounced flowers that bloom from spring into summer and is a bit less fragrant than its parent plants. Similar to White Sage, it can grow up to 5 feet tall. However, unlike both of its smaller parents, Vicki Romo can spread up to 5 feet. This makes it economical as a border screen or tall groundcover.
This heat-resistant, drought-tolerant shrub requires good drainage and full sun. Both parents have a dry-summer/wet-winter range and often grow on rocky, south slopes. Little water is needed once it becomes established.
We love everything about this sage, especially how it attractst honeybees and hummingbirds but not deer.
(Pacific Blue Sage) Whorls of deep lavender-blue flowers contrast brightly against the dark maroon stems of this likely hybrid of Salvia brandegeei and Salvia munzii.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden discovered Pacific Blue as a surprise cross near one of its S. brandegeei, a native of Santa Rosa Island in Santa Barbara's Channel Islands as well as Baja, Mexico.
Pacific Blue is a well-branched, vigorous shrub. It tolerates heat and handles drought due to the moisture-conserving, fuzzy white undersides of its fragrant, dark green leaves.
Honeybees and hummingbirds love this long-blooming sage. Pacific Blue even grows in clay soil as long as there is good drainage, such as on a slope. Give it full sun and average watering based on local conditions.
(Wooly Canary Island Sage) The pale magenta, parrot-beak flowers of this sage, supported by deeper magenta bracts, heat up the landscape. But when you get close, it may be the velvety texture of the foliage that makes you sigh.
This fragrant, heat-tolerant Canary Island Sage has dense white hairs covering the underside of its leaves. The hairs help the drought-resistant foliage to conserve moisture. However, Wooly Canary Island Sage appreciates average watering based on your local conditions.
Although a shrub at the warmer end of its USDA cold hardiness range, Wooly Canary Island Sage is an herbaceous perennial in its cooler zones. Either way, it is long blooming.
Due to its height and dramatic good looks, this sage can take center stage in a sunny Salvia garden or act as a tall screen. Honeybees love it.
(Caucasus Sage) This hardy ground cover sage grows 4 to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The velvety white fur of its foliage aids moisture retention. Its soft, royal purple flowers make it stand out. We think this Salvia deserves to spread far and wide.
A tough native of the Caucasus Mountains of central Asia, it survives the freezing temperatures of Zone 5, forming a tight mat that withstands light traffic. It blooms in early summer and again in fall. Plant this beauty in well-drained soil, but don't pamper it; Caucasus Sage grows well in harsh environments.
This is one of the shortest Salvias we grow and makes a fine border edging or rock garden plant. We highly recommend its use as a ground cover, so we offer a discount for larger orders.
Here is a great blog article about this plant.
(Silver Germander Sage) With its compact habit, brilliant silver-white leaves and large, sky blue flowers, this is an outstanding heat-tolerant choice for dry, sunny gardens. We consider this to be one of the finest short ground covers for these conditions.
Grow Silver Germander Sage in full sun and well-drained, loamy soil where you can see it up close. Expect explosive blooming in the summer and fall when the weather warms and settles.
We highly recommend this rarely seen variety of the green-leafed Germander Sage.
(Judean Sage) Native to the mountains of Judea in Israel, this dark violet flowered, perennial sage is unique among the Palestinian Salvias - as a woodland native it grows well in partial shade. It is a tough, drought-resistant plant with deeply cut & hairy foliage which forms impressive mounds of color in the spring and early summer.
Judean Sage thrives in poor yet well-drained soil and doesn't require much water. We have found it to be durable, but it does not tolerate wet, cold winters.
This plant is relatively new to North American horticulture, and will surely become more popular as it's charms become better known.
(Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage) This compact Mexican Bush Sage was found in the Santa Barbara garden of Kathiann Brown. It is, without a doubt, the finest short Mexican Bush Sage -- hardy, tough and long blooming. Add drought resistance and dark, rich purple flowers to its list of merits.
This heat-tolerant, full-sun sage makes a fine ground cover for areas large or small. it also looks lovely in perennial borders and containers. Expect plenty of honeybee, hummingbird and butterfly visits.
We suggest cutting Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage to the ground in the spring, so the fast growing white furry shoots will start blooming by mid-summer. It will continue blooming until frost, unless you live in a mild climate such as along the Northern California coast where it blooms 12 months a year.
(White Mischief Mexican Bush Sage) Profuse white blossoms and true white velvety bracts make the flowers of this South African hybrid a lovely choice for a wedding. In our experience, many of the plants sold as White Mischief are not the real thing. This tough, compact, long blooming sage is.
Although its flowers are white, we've noticed that hummingbirds love this Salvia leucantha, which blooms summer into fall. Butterflies are also partial to it, but luckily deer keep their distance.
Plant this heat-loving herbaceous perennial in full sun and well-drained soil. It is elegant in shrubby borders, large containers and cut-flower gardens.
(Giant Purple Desert Sage) It’s best to plant this flamboyant native of the Southwest in spring or summer. However, once established, it tolerates winters from USDA Zones 5 to 9. Purple tubular flowers and burgundy bracts flare up its 10-inch flower spikes like flames on this softly rounded shrub.
Fragrant, drought resistant and heat tolerant, this is a sage that isn’t particular about soils as long as they drain well. Give this shrub lots of sunshine and little water for best performance. We have learned by experience that this species grows best where there are definite seasons, and where the winters are not particularly wet. They thrive in Denver, and languish in Los Angeles.
Blue Flame’s improbably lush flowers are offset by mid-green foliage. It does well in dry, gravelly gardens as a groundcover, border or pathway edging and is just right for a native garden focusing on the Southwest or a wide variety of American native species.
Expect Blue Flame to grow up to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide and to flower from summer to fall. Expect to fall in love with it; certainly butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds do. Luckily, deer avoid it.
Thanks for the beautiful photo go to high-altitude plant expert Panayoti Kelaidis, senior curator and director of outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens.
(Dandelion Leaf Sage) Brush or bruise the basal foliage of this Moroccan Salvia and it exudes a citrusy fragrance. Petite and heat tolerant, this is a sturdy, adaptable groundcover.
The late James C. Archibald of the Scottish Rock and Garden Club once described the plant's homeland -- the Atlas Mountains of Morocco -- as being "high, barren" and "snow-streaked." He collected specimens there in 1962 and noted that the plant retains its dwarf-like height better in dry, poor, gravelly soil.
Taraxacifolia refers to the dandelion-like appearance of the plant's foliage. However, this is a non-invasive sage. Forming tight, low rosettes that spread gently, the gray-green, lyre-shaped leaves are heavily indented. The foot-tall spikes of large, soft, pink flowers bloom from summer into fall.
This perennial withstands light foot traffic, which is useful in a groundcover. Heat resistant and drought tolerant, it thrives in full sun and dry gardens with well-drained soil. However, it can also handle average watering based on local conditions. Dandelion Leaf Sage grows well in USDA Zones 7 to 11 where it is evergreen down to 20 degrees F and hardy to 10 degrees F if winter mulched.
We like this easy-to-grow, uncommon sage and are glad that deer do not.
(Celestial Blue Sage) Fast growing and adaptable, this sage is a chance hybrid between Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) -- also called California Blue Sage -- and California Rose Sage (Salvia pachyphylla). It may also be related to California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).
Celestial Blue has lovely royal blue flowers and purple bracts. Sun-loving, heat tolerant and drought resistant, it was discovered at Las Pilitas Native Plant Nursery in Southern California.
This fragrant sage blooms and blooms throughout the heat of summer. Tolerant of everything but wet feet during summer, it withstands winter temperatures as low as 10 degrees F for a short time as well as lows in the 20-degree range for days.
Use this pretty plant in tough soils, on banks and in areas where watering is difficult or undesirable. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds love it, but deer leave it alone. This cultivar is one of the best Salvias for cut-flower arrangements.
(Gayle Nielson Hybrid Sage) Whorl-like clusters of violet-blue flowers on slender stems as well as its height and width indicate that Gayle Nielson Hybrid Sage is related to some form of Salvia clevelandii.
However, the rest of this graceful plant’s parentage is uncertain. It was collected in the Tucson, Arizona, garden of Carl and Gayle Nielson where a number of California native sages were growing. Other possible parent species include Salvia dorrii and Salvia mohavensis. To increase the sense of mystery surrounding this tough plant, it is sometimes referred to as either Carl Nielson Hybrid Sage or Salvia x 'Trident'.
Reddish-purple bracts support the delicate-looking flowers, which bloom winter into spring. The fragrant, olive-green leaves are larger than those of Salvia clevelandii.
Similar to most California native sages, this shrub is heat and drought tolerant. It grows well in USDA Zones 8 to 9 and, despite its desert connections, is adaptable to cooler coastal life. Whereas honeybees and hummingbirds enjoy its nectar, deer leave it alone.
Gayle Nielson Hybrid Sage likes full sun and needs little summer watering after becoming established. Plant it in soil with excellent drainage. Although this is a full-sun plant, it appreciates a bit of partial shade. In dry or native landscapes, it works well as a screen, shrub border or tall groundcover.
Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.
Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:
If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.
Xeric plants are excellent for water conservation. They grow well in dry gardens with little to no supplemental watering once established. In fact, overwatering can harm these plants, which are native to dry environments such as deserts and chaparral.
At Flowers by the Sea, we identify all xeric plants with a blue plant marker that warns against overwatering. Here are some tips for growing and understanding our xeric, or blue tag, plants:
1) In a humid region, you may find it difficult to grow plants native to semi-arid and arid environments. Yet xeric plants may succeed if you have a persistently dry area, such as under a roof overhang or in the shelter of a tree.
2) Xeric plants are excellent for locations far from garden hoses, such as along sidewalks -- areas often referred to as "hellstrips."
3) Shipping is hard on xeric plants, which suffer from confinement in small containers as well as boxes. You may see some mold, spots on leaves or withered foliage when they arrive. But xeric plants perk up with proper care while hardening off in partial shade before planting.
4) When amending soil before planting, remember that xeric plants not only need excellent drainage but also flower better in low fertility soil. Fertilize sparingly and use a mix with more phosphorous than nitrogen to encourage flowering and discourage lax overgrowth of foliage.
5) Organic matter, such as compost, is an excellent soil amendment for xeric plants, because it keeps their roots healthy by improving aeration and drainage.
6) When your xeric plants are established, water infrequently to encourage deep root growth and to avoid fungal problems. However, it's a good idea to gently spray dust off foliage about once a week.