Why Plant Wildflowers?
Wildflowers are nature’s way of celebrating your Los Angeles landscape. Bright and colorful, these native Los Angeles flowers attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. When you plant wildflowers in your garden, you’re sprucing up your property and promoting an eco-friendly environment. Along with attracting pollinators and wildlife, native wildflowers don’t need much water or fertilizer. They resist pests and most diseases. Wildflowers improve soil and water quality, prevent erosion and provide food for livestock. Planting them helps protect the environment, especially in high-density suburbs. About a third of the world’s food crops need pollinators like birds and butterflies to reproduce, and planting wildflowers brings the “Bs” to the yard!
Sun exposure is important for all living plants, and most flowers require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Los Angeles wildflowers are hardy; they can handle the city’s dry summer climate. Plants that prefer partial shade need three to six hours of sun per day, and protection from the hot midday sun. Flowers that thrive in “full shade” still need sunlight, though it needn’t be direct.
Because many of California’s annual wildflowers don’t germinate until late winter, you have some time to clear weeds and non-native grasses from your intended planting area. Plant flower seeds in the bare ground or start them in containers. Water every week if it’s not raining.
With direct seeding, lightly rake the kernels into the bed. That way, birds won’t make off with them. Direct seeding of wildflowers has its challenges, especially when it comes to keeping weeds at bay. Visit your favorite garden store to purchase clean seeds -- don’t try to replant from previous stems. For an easier way, check out the pre-planted flower flats -- you’re sure to find just the right colors to fit your décor!
With so many wildflowers that make up Los Angeles’s landscape, you have a myriad of choices. Here are just a few for you to consider for your own landscape.
The state’s official flower is fast-growing and blooms in the spring. The golden variety is the best-known and classic, but they range in color from dark orange to yellow — and on occasion, pink. They look great in flower beds, meadows, and containers. They need a full day of sunlight. Poppies that spring up in shady areas won’t last long. These flowers thrive in sandy and rocky soils.
This native flower stands 1 to 2 inches tall. Its pale lilac blooms resemble a Michaelmas daisy. The aster flowers in late fall and needs pruning after it blooms. Plant it in full sun or partial shade.
This flower produces clusters of brightly colored yellow blooms over light green stems. A member of the daisy family, golden yarrow blends in well in L.A. gardens.
Also called a tree poppy, it grows about ten-feet high and ten feet wide. It works nicely as a privacy hedge. The evergreen foliage is deep green, and the yellow cup-shaped blooms “pop” up from late winter to early spring.
Sagebrush grows just about everywhere in Los Angeles and can handle all kinds of terrain. Aromatic sagebrush often grows to about 5 feet tall in a variety of shapes and colors. Partial to dry soils, California sagebrush thrives in southern-facing slopes.
Plants grow up to 5 feet tall with flowers in white, orange, and red. Hummingbirds and bees enjoy its nectar.
More Flowers to Consider
Color coordinate your landscape!
Western virgin’s bower, chamise, California blackberry, sticky phacelia, wild morning glory, popcorn flower, and alkali mallow.
California buttercup, deerweed, mustard evening primrose, Johnny jump-up, telegraph flower and tarweed.
Red and Pink
California hummingbird sage, scarlet bugler, stinging lupine, California peony, and heartleaf penstemon.
Purple and Blue
Baby blue eyes, chia, fiesta flower, lupine, prickly phlox, purple clarkia, nightshade, and fleabane daisy.
Enhance your Los Angeles landscape with living color. With flowers, birds, bees, butterflies, and a few bunnies brightening up your yard, Mother Nature will be smiling!
This article was written by Cynthia Stern. Cynthia Stern is a landscaping and gardening writer who has a passion for decorating outdoor living spaces.