Gardening in a Drought

Bringing California’s Beauty Home

Flowering Western Redbud tree (Cercis occidentalis) in Southern California, drought tolerant native plant garden. Credit Saxon Holt.

The news is everywhere–-we are in a historic drought, the likes of which haven’t been seen since 800 BCE. And even if that wasn’t in the headlines, we would know. We’ve witnessed the dry winters, felt the parched soil, seen the increased use of sprinklers, drip irrigation, and hand watering during what is supposed to be the rainy season.

Do you know that 50% of residential water use goes to outdoor irrigation? Often that water is wasted on thirsty green lawns, which came into fashion in England and are unsuited to our climate and resources. Water restrictions are turning green lawns brown and making it clear that we need to rediscover the natural beauty of California plants. Now is the time to replace that dead lawn with plants that evolved to thrive in our climate, and that are drought tolerant, low maintenance, and beloved by pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. A world of native plants is just waiting to be discovered. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to bring them into your life!

Getting Rid of Your Lawn

Dry grass; Image: Adobe.
Showy Penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis); Image: Amina Sharma.

Together Let's Bloom! California

Bloom! California makes it easy for you to find beautiful, bold native plants suited for your style and space. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or completely new to the movement, join us to Bloom! California for a bright tomorrow. Learn more!

Learn: Meet The Plants

Imagine: Design Ideas

Plan: Tips and Tricks

Plan: Find a Nursery Near You

Salvia spathacea and cultivars (hummingbird sage). Credit Saxon Holt.

The California Native Plant Society is working with the state of California on sustainable water-wise gardening and irrigation solutions for the drought. Find out more!

Garden with Friends

Join your local CNPS chapter!

Find your chapter