Plant of the Month

 This year we are featuring a California Native Plant each month.

For October:

Common Name:  Sunset Manzanita                                              

Botanical Name:  Arctostaphylos ‘Sunset’


This is a medium-size foundation shrub that will stay green all year.

Flowers in spring and winter.  Blossoms are light pink

Size: Height is 3-5 feet, spreads 5-10  feet wide

Sun: Sun to Part Sun

Water:  Supplemental water every 3-4 weeks, once established

Will thrive in most soil types

Flowers:  Spring and Summer

Very wildlife friendly especially for hummingbirds


For September:


Common Name:  NARROW-LEAF MILKWEED                                                         

Botanical Name:  Asclepias fascicularis

Narrow Leaf Milkweed
Photo from California Native Plant Society website.

The good news is that this plant is a must for every butterfly garden because it is a favorite nectar plant for adult butterflies and a host plant for Monarch butterfly larvae. It is very tolerant of many types of soil, even clay.

The bad news is that it is a host plant for Monarch butterfly larvae and these hungry creatures will eat it down to the ground!  It is also winter deciduous and will lose all its leaves.

Planting suggestions:  This plant should be placed in the background rather than as a centerpiece in the garden. Plant a number of plants in proximity as sufficient food for larvae.  Will naturalize in the garden.

Size: Height is 3-4 feet,  spreads 2-3  feet wide

Sun: Sun to Part Sun

Water:  Very low water requirements, 1-2 x a month in summer, once established.

Mulch:  Organic with rocks

Flowers:  Spring and Summer

Other California native plants that will attract butterflies and can be planted as companion plants: Indian Mallow (Abutilon palmeri), Ceanothus sp., Western Thistle (Cersium occidentale), California Aster (Corethrogyne filaginifolia), California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum), Buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.), Mint (Monardella sp.), Monkeyflower (Mimulus sp.), Penstemon sp., Sages (Salvia sp.), Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua

Online Sources:

Las Pilitas Nursery

Moosa Creek Nursery

California Native Plant Society

Tree of Life Nursery



********Another necessary plant for every butterfly garden: (even though not a California Native!)

Common Name:   Tropical Milkweed AKA Golden Butterflyweed

Botanical Name:  Asclepias curassavica

This is a tender evergreen perennial that is a favorite nectar plant for adult butterflies and a host plant for the Monarch larvae.  There is some controversy that the native milkweeds are healthier for adults, but this plant is still a favorite in butterfly gardens.  You may also see the red and orange variety.  It can be planted in a container in frost-danger areas.  Will self-seed to perpetuate itself in the garden.

Size: Height is 3-4 feet,  spreads 2-3  feet wide

Sun: Sun to Part Sun

Water:  Medium water requirements, 1 x a week, regular irrigation once established

Mulch:  Organic if danger of frost

Flowers:  Summer

Online Source:  San Marcos Growers