Tag Archives: Fall Planting

Fall & Winter Garden Color


WinterGardenOne of the advantages of Southern California over the North and the East, is that our mild winters make it possible to plant and grow year-round. Fall is not only a time for garden maintenance and preparation of the soil for spring planting; it is the time to plant for winter and early spring harvests and blooms.

Clients have asked about adding color to their gardens, patios and balconies, so here are a list of 17 winter-blooming plants that offer a range of colors and structure that should do the trick.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

CalendulaDaisy-like calendula provides easy color from late fall through spring in mild-winter climates, and are long lasting in a vase. Choose classic orange and bright yellow, or opt for subtler shades of apricot, cream, and soft yellow.

Branching plants are 1 to 2 feet high and 1 to 1½ feet wide and look great as masses of color or in a container.

Calendula plants take full sun and moderate water. They will tolerate many soils as long as they have good drainage. Remove the spent flowers to prolong bloom.

Candytuft (Iberis)

candytuft-iberis-lCandytuft plants grow 8 to 12 inches high and wide; their narrow, shiny dark green leaves look great all year.

Pure white flower clusters are carried on stems long enough to cut for bouquets. Choose ‘Alexander’s White’ (pictured), ‘Autumnale’, or ‘Autumn Snow; they bloom in spring and again in fall.

Plants thrive in full sun or part shade and regular water. Candytuft needs well-drained soil and should be sheared ightly after bloom to stimulate new growth.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News


Theodore Payne Foundation – California Native Plant Sale


TheodorePayneFoundationAs a follow up to my previous blog/newsletter of California Native Plants, I just received this notification and I though anyone interested either in knowing more about them,  or perhaps purchasing some, might be interested.

Theodore Payne Foundation
for Wild Flowers and Native Plants, Inc.
10459 Tuxford Street, Sun Valley, CA 91352
818-768-1802, theodorepayne.org


Dear Friend of TPF: Our 2014 Fall Plant Sale is just around the corner! It’s our biggest sale of the year, offering the region’s largest and most interesting selection of California native plants, seed and bulbs — with expert advice from TPF staff and volunteers.

Member Days: Friday-Saturday, October 10-11, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Members 15% plants, seed and bulbs
Not yet a member? Join at the door!
Discounts to All: Friday-Saturday, October 17-18, 8:30.a.m.-4:30.p.m.
Members 15% off plants, seed and bulbs
Non-members 10% off plants, seed and bulbs

Reduced hours through October 20.
Open Thursday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Closed Sunday-Wednesday)

Save on plants, seed and bulbs!
MEMBER DAYS: Friday & Saturday, October 10-11, 8:30-4:30
Not yet a member? Join at the door!
DISCOUNTS TO ALL: Friday & Saturday, October 17-18, 8:30-4:30

Native Plants for Every Corner of the Garden

More than 600 different species and cultivars will be available on sale days, including these: Asclepias fascicularis (for monarch butterflies); Carpenteria californica; Fremontodendron (many varieties); Dudleya (more than 10 choices!); Eriogonum crocatum; Eriogonum ovalifolium; Iris (more than 20 choices!); Eriogonum ‘Shasta Sulfur’; Mammillaria dioica ; Arctostaphylos ‘Bart’s Beauty’; Arctostayphos hookeri ssp. franciscana; Artemisia ‘Montara’; Artemisia ‘Canyon Grey; Calystegia ‘Anacapa Pink’; Ceanothus leucodermis; Clinopodium douglasii; Cercis occidentalis; Malacothamnus ‘Casitas’; Opuntia basilaris; Romneya coulteri; plus a large selection of Mimulus, Salvia, Penstemon, Epilobium and Heuchera.

Expert advice will be available from TPF staff and volunteers.

All four sale days: TPF members receive 15% off plants
Friday & Saturday, October 17-18 ONLY: Non-members 10% off plants

Before you shop, check our online nursery inventory, updated every Thursday. It lists the plants by botanical and common name, with sizes and prices for each. For information on individual plants, see our online Native Plant Database.


TPF offers more than 200 species of native plant seed — all discounted during our fall sale!

Ready for sowing now: cool-season grasses and colorful wild flowers for all areas of the garden.

For glorious spring color, try Theodore Payne’s original Rainbow Mix.
For dry shade (works well under oaks), sow our Shady Mix.
For border fronts, use our Low-Growing Mix.
For tough soils, try the Roadside Mix.
For ornamental grasses, plant TPF’s Cool-Season Grass MIx.

Seed advice will be available during the sale. And don’t forget to pick up your horticultural sand — it helps to spread seed evenly and help protect seed from hungry birds!

All four sale days: TPF members receive 15% off seed
Friday & Saturday, October 17-18 ONLY: Non-members 10% off seed

In early autumn, our store shelves showcase dozens of California native bulbs, including common and rare species and cultivars, many propagated here at TPF. In the right spots, these native treasures will naturalize in your garden and return year after year. They also grow well in containers. Shop early for best selection.

NEW this year: Colorful bulb mixes — in limited quantities.
Bulb advice will be available during the sale.

All four sale days: TPF members receive 15% off bulbs
Friday & Saturday, October 17-18 ONLY: Non-members 10% off bulbs.


Plant Hardiness Zone Maps – Southern California


USDA_Zone_Map_CA_SOne of the many services the US Department of Agriculture provides are Plant Hardiness Zonal Maps.

These maps include: state, region and country and come in a variety of resolutions from 72 ppi for viewing on a screen to 300 ppi for high quality printing. They also provide interactive maps that can tell you what the plant hardiness is for your particular zip code and audio for the hearing impaired.

Whether you’re just curious to know what plants can live in your neck of the woods or someone who is planning on putting in a vegetable garden or a residential or commercial landscape, this is an invaluable resource that you might want to check out before you start purchasing plants or digging holes in your garden – and don’t forget to  included it in your gardening bookmark file.

Knowledge is power, particularly in plant selection.  Here is where all this valuable information resides: USDA Agricultural Resource Service

“But tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardner.”
    – Thomas Jefferson


Fall Is The Time For Planting California Natives


pumpkin-patch-playing-in-the-dirt-wordpressWhile a large part of this country is now in the process of preparing their gardens for winter and carving pumpkins for Halloween, here in Southern California our mild Mediterranean climate allows us the joy of year-round gardening. With the soil still summer warm and our rainy season just around the corner, from now (mid-October) through January is the ideal time to plant. And from all the landscapes I’m currently designing and building, fall appears to have surpassed spring as my busiest time of year.

California Native Plants

Except for tropicals, subtropicals and summer vegetables, which are best planted in early summer when the soil is warm, everything else is a go. This includes trees, shrubs and ground covers but most of all California native and Mediterranean plants. These species are particularly well suited to our seasonal rhythms. But don’t be concerned if, for the first couple of months, there isn’t much going on above ground, because come spring, the growth of healthy new foliage will demonstrate that during the intervening months, the plant has been busy establishing it’s root system.

I am particularly fond of using California native plants, not only for their diversity of foliage and blooms, but because the majority of them are drought tolerant, which is very important given the state of our water resources. What follows is a listing of California natives (extracted from Wikipedia) that I suggest you consider when laying out or adding to your garden or landscape this fall.

Selected Perennials

Sunny habitats

California Buckwheat
California Buckwheat

Shady habitats


Selected bulbs

California Hyacinth
California Hyacinth

Selected annuals and wildflowers

Selected vines

Dutchman's Pipe
Dutchman’s Pipe

Selected grasses



Selected succulents



See also


Growing Tomatoes In A Southern California Winter

Heirloom Tomatoes

I’ve been asked by several of my clients about the possibility of growing tomatoes during the winter here in Southern California. This is a doable proposition since our climate rarely has frost.  For planting instructions and plant selection there are a number of sites on the Internet that will provide you with this information. The following comes from, How to Grow Tomatoes in the Winter in Southern California.

Tomatoes grow as annuals in most of the cold-winter areas of the United States. The plants grow, bloom, bear fruit during summer and die at the first frost. However, in hardiness zones 10 and above, where there is little chance of frost, tomatoes are perennials. Southern California is one such area. Plant tomatoes in late summer and enjoy them all winter.


  1. Buy an “indeterminate variety of tomato,” because indeterminate tomatoes bear fruit over the course of a season while “determinate tomatoes” produce a bumper crop all at one time. There are a number of Indeterminate varieties including heirloom. When shopping for your tomato plants, you will be looking for “indeterminate” on the label, or the abbreviation “IND” (or, less commonly, “INDET”).
  2. Locate the tomato where it receives a minimum of eight hours of sunlight per day. Planting the tomato against a stone wall or the side of the house gives it an extra boost of warmth. Make sure the tomato isn’t shaded by the wall.
  3. Dig up the ground to a depth of 24 inches. Add a bucket or two of compost or other organic material to the soil and work in well for each tomato plant. Tomato roots go as deep as 36 inches.
  4. Plant the transplant so its root ball is covered, but don’t lay the tomato on its side and bury the stem as you might have done in the early summer, suggests Robert Smaus in his article “August: Map Out a New Design, Sow Seeds, Try Winter Tomatoes,” published on the LA Times website.
  5. Caged Tomatoes
  6. Fertilize once a month per package directions.
  7. Water if the tomato doesn’t receive 1 1/2 inches of rain each week. Winter is the rainy season in Southern California so you might not have to water very much.
  8. Remove blossoms until the tomato plant is 24 inches high so energy is directed at producing a strong healthy plant rather than fruiting.
  9. Cage the tomatoes with stakes and string or a wire tomato cage if you wish to keep the tomatoes off the ground. This will protect the plant from the many slugs and snails in Southern California. Place empty tuna cans filled with beer at ground level. Slugs and snails are attracted to the smell, fall in and drown.
  10. Cover the cages with bird netting when tomatoes start to blush. A few tomatoes on the outside may be still be ruined by the birds because they can sit on the cage and peck inside. Most of the tomatoes will be safe.

Tips & Warnings

Protect young plants on cold nights by covering them. Use a gallon water or milk jug with the top cut off placed over the seedling. Frost is rare in SoCal.

Tomato plants are toxic. Keep away from children and pets.

Additional Resource, About.com


Bulb Planting in Southern California


When you mention “bulb planting” most people think of tulips and bulbs associated with beautiful pictures of gardens from Holland and other northern climes where bulbs require a period of cold (vernalization) in order to grow and flower. So if you want your garden to reflect these images there will be a certain amount of work involved.

Vernalized Bulbs – beautiful but time consuming

In order to grow tulips, hyacinths or crocus, it’s necessary for the bulbs to spend some time in a cold atmosphere before planting. And late next spring, after they bloom, you’ll have to dig the bulbs up and store them in a cool, dry place until next fall. Repeat blooms means going through this ritual year after year—a fair amount of work, but the results can be gorgeous.

Non-Vernalized Bulbs – plant once and enjoy

If you can do without tulips and other vernalized bulbs, here’s a list of spring-flowering bulbs that you can plant this fall and enjoy for years to come:

Chinnodoxa – Glory In the Snow
  • Narcissus – including those generally labeled as daffodils, jonquils and their miniature varieties
  • Dutch Iris
  • Chionodoxa – “Glory in the Snow”
  • Grape Hyacinth
  • Fritillaria – a tall, unusual-looking member of the lily family, will last for years in your garden and produces brilliant bell-shaped flowers in several colors
  • Scilla – naturalizes in Southern California’s climate, producing spikes of blue, pink, lavender and white
  • Allium – sometimes called “flowering onion”
  • Freesias – produce loads of tubular flowers in shades of pink, red, salmon, white and yellow
  • Anemone
  • Ranunculus

Whether it be vernalized or non-vernalized bulbs you want, you’ll find a selection of fall-planted bulbs in garden centers and nurseries from September through late December. These are great sources for the best sellers: Daffodils, hyacinths, Dutch Iris, tulips, ornamental onions, but if you’re looking for something more unusual, check out mail-order suppliers (just Google “fall planting bulbs”) and you’ll find dozens of mail-order companies that provide lilies, grape hyacinth, Spanish bluebells, ranunculus, anemone, gladiolus, freesias and much, much more.

Once you have bulbs in hand, all you need to do then … is plant them.


Growing Roses in Southern California


With the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl starting the year off, I thought there was no better time than now to ask this simple question!

Sacramento Roses

When Is The Best Time To Plant Roses?

And the answer is … it all depends on where you live and the climate zone your in. The simplest solution is to ask your local nursery for frost dates and their recommendation for the best time to plant in your local area.

Since I live and work in Los Angeles and there is very little chance of frost, December or January is an excellent time to plant.  It gives the newly planted roses the time to grow feeder roots before spring arrives and they come out of dormancy.

However, because Southern California has many microclimates, ranging from moderate and moist to severely dry and hot, roses in hotter, drier areas need more care and attention.

The following list of instructions should give anyone interested in growing roses a simple roadmap of how to proceed. It comes from the website eHow home, which has a lot of additional information should you be interested.

Bare Root Planting


  1. Choose roses based on the 24-zone climate system established by “Sunset Magazine.” The University of California Cooperative Extension encourages the use of this system because, unlike the USDA zone system, it also factors in summer high temperatures.
  2. Plant new roses in January. Prune established roses to half their height. Thin out roses and remove excess foliage. Complete all pruning by the end of January.
  3. Remedy problems as soon as they start. Gardeners in Southern California begin to see aphids and mildew in mid-to-late February. Apply insect control and fungicides as needed.
  4. Planting Containerized Rose
  5. Apply a weekly fertilizer during peak growing season, typically from April to mid July.
  6. Feed your roses in March as they begin to develop new foliage. Supply a dose of 20-20-20 fertilizer for optimal results.
  7. Spray for spider mites in April. These bugs harm roses. Use a miticide or wash roses by hand.
  8. Deadhead blooms in May. Southern California roses have two blooming cycles. Mid-May marks the end of the first. Encourage new blooms by removing spent ones.
  9. Keep your roses watered. This is of particular import during peak blooming season, which also coincides with the hottest months of the year. Water daily through the end of October. Remember to water frequently well into fall to account for the dryness caused by the Santa Ana winds.

  10. Complete a round of light pruning in October. Re-apply mildew and pest treatments as needed. Cooler weather allows bugs and fungi to reappear with ease.

Tips & Warnings

Mulch your roses after planting. Mulch slows the growth of weeds and helps lock in moisture.



The Monthly Gardner – October


October, with its cooler days and the occasional sprinkle (our Southern California “rainy season” actually begins in November), is the ideal time to plant most perennials, with the exception of tropicals, which should be planted in late spring or early summer, and bare-root plants, which should be planted in January. The reason is simple: get the plants in the ground while the earth is still warm and ahead of the rains, so that their roots can get established during the winter.  This is the time-honored, water-saving way to plant that will result in a terrific burst of new growth come spring.

Choose plants recommended for your climate zone, and it’s best to group plants with similar water and sun requirements.

Plant, Clean & Trim

This is also the time to pull up the last remnants of summer vegetables and flowers and finish planting cool-season flowers and vegetables for winter and spring. Continue to cut back, clean out, plant, transplant and revamp perennials.  It’s also the best time to plant most winter vegetables. Cool-season lawns can be seeded and, if you haven’t already done so, clean out the dead interiors of native plants, trim dead branches and shape plants in readiness for winter growth.

Prune & Divide

Divide, trim and mulch plants that grow in a clumps and that need to be divided, including bird of paradise, clivia, daylily, gazanias, fortnight lily, iris, Kahili ginger, lily turf and perennials like Shasta daisies. Hardy water lilies should also be divided and your geraniums: ivy, zonal and Martha Washington should be pruned back.

Critters In The Garden?

If you’re garden is bothered by rabbits, cats, dogs, opossums or skunks, sprinkle mothballs around the garden’s perimeter. They can’t stand the smell.  If you have young children, substitute moth crystals, since mothballs are toxic and might be mistaken for candy.

(Excerpted from “Southern California Gardening, A Month-by-Month Guide,” by Pat Welsh. 2000.)


Fall Planting … Here Are Three Colorful Considerations?


Red Buckwheat
The red buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens) originates from the Channel Islands off the coast of California.
This attractive, small shrub features a rewarding show of red
blooms throughout the summer. Prefers full sun and, once
established, is drought resistant; the plants don’t usually need
water after the first summer. As a bonus, it does best in clay soil!
And the butterflies find it irresistible.

Red Monkey Flower
The red monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus var. puniceus) is a two-foot high evergreen shrub with striking, tubular red flowers during the spring and summer.
The hummingbirds certainly love them! It prefers full sun but will also grow in partial shade (try some under your oak tree). Once established, it has low water needs, but it does need good drainage. It grows to 2 feet x 2 feet.

Christmas Berry

The toyon, or Christmasberry (Heteromeles arbutifolia), is an evergreen shrub to small tree that usually grows to 10 feet high by 6 feet wide. Very old specimens can grow even larger.
It is ubiquitous in the California landscape, a delightful evergreen tree with white flowers in summer and red berries in winter. It is drought resistant and hardy down to at least to 10° F.
The toyon is adaptable to a variety of soil conditions. On the coast, it prefers full sun but will also tolerate full shade. There is also the cultivar ‘Davis Gold’ which has all of the great characteristics of the species but with golden yellow berries instead of the red berries.

If you would like more information about these plants, please check out the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkley.