Why Garden with Native Plants? 

  • SAVE WATER: Local native plants have adapted to local climates.
  • MINIMIZE/STOP PESTICIDE USE: Regional plants evolved symbiotically with regional  insects.
  • SUPPORT LOCAL ECOLOGY: Native plants are the foundation of regional ecosystems, providing habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.
  • LEARN AND ENJOY NATURE AT YOUR PACE: Using native plants brings portions of nature to us - outside our windows and into parks. Watch butterflies and hummingbirds. Listen to song birds. Smell sages and blooms. Learn about plant communities. Discover a variety of pollinators. Notice plant adaptations to climate.
  • CREATE FORM AND FUNCTION: California plant variety provides palettes for landscapes based on nature, tradition, or your own style and interest. Native plants automatically include nature's functional benefits.

Native Plants for Clay Soils

We hear about native plants needing well drained soils, but many do fine in the clay soils of our yards. Dan Songster lists a few of his favorites. They include garden friendly California Buckwheat (pictured above with a friend), toyon, holly leaf cherry, and lemonade berry. 

A Sage In Every Garden Campaign

We are partnering with organizations and events to add 2,000 White Sage plants to Orange County yards. WHY?: Build nature friendly gardens, Conserve water, and Protect white sage in wildlands. 

More info about sages for gardens

Gardener's Corner Articles

Gardener's Corner articles have been a regular, information packed column in the chapter newsletter since 2010. Dan Songster asks questions and experts around Southern California reply. We added other noteworthy articles to the list as well. 

Planting Guide for Orange County

Simple design concepts and lists of good looking, easy to grow, California plants for Orange County gardens. Build living soil and create nature habitat.  For guides to other regions, visit the CNPS statewide Horticulture website.

Native Plants for Birds

Scot Pipkin from the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden spoke to us about supporting bird habitat in our neighborhoods. Here is his presentation

Past Gardening Events

Garden tours, plant sales, symposiums... Each year our Garden Teams bring events to members and the public. Click to see samples of those events, and if you were there, to recall what was learned, who you met, and what you brought home. 


This website contains data for 7,000 California plants. You can filter by 14 plant and environment characteristics. It is the easiest way to research which plants you want to grow. Bonus: It contains extensive plant and butterfly association information. 

Where to Buy Plants

Inside the CALSCAPE website is this handy resource for finding nurseries: wholesale, retail, and locations with special native plant events.

CNPS Horticulture

The CNPS statewide Gardening and Horticulture Program has gardening information from inspiration to design, preparation to planting, and watering to maintenance. Meet Garden Ambassadors and visit Botanic Gardens.