What is the Best Time of the Year to Plant Natives?

The best time to plant your California natives is when temperatures cool and after the first rains, generally in late fall from late October to early November. Soils are still warm but are not too hot for tender new roots. The cooler, moister weather is less stressful for the new plants and less favorable for soil pathogens that can infect them. You can plant through the winter as long as you give your new plants time to develop enough of a root system to carry them through the long, hot summer. Use the following table to help you schedule your planting session, but remember to take into account your weather conditions:

Annual seeds:late October to December
Trees and Shrubs:late October to the end of February
Subshrubs and Perennials:late October to late April
Riparian plants (water-lovers): all year, though best from late October to the end of February.

Be sure to attend Rancho Santa Ana’s Annual Fall Plant Sale on the first weekend in November. You can speak with knowledgeable people who are interested in helping you select the right plants for your garden from the thousands of native plants available at the sale.