Plant in the Late Fall Through Winter 

The best time to plant California native plants is when temperatures cool and after the first rains, generally in late fall from late October to early November.  The cooler, moister weather is less stressful for the new plants and less favorable for soil pathogens that can infect them. 

Choose Plants Adapted to Your Conditions

Select plants adapted to your garden soil, sun and water conditions. Many California natives, especially chaparral, scrub and desert plants, prefer lean soils so it is best to avoid fertilizer and soil amendments.

Group Plants With Similar Needs

Remember to group plants according to their growing needs.  Place sun-lovers together – in the sun. Plants that shrivel and wilt with summer watering should be placed away from lawn and other irrigated areas – and don’t forget your neighbor’s sprinkler.

Think Design

Think about design when placing your plants. Read books and magazines, look at pictures, visit gardens, attend classes and spend lots and lots of time staring at your own garden. Create a scaled drawing of your garden to help with placement. If you feel insecure about designing your garden, consult a landscape architect or designer. Remember creating gardens is not the same as decorating interior spaces. Plants change over time and so your garden is never static, it is never finished.

Leave Enough Room for Plants to Grow

Native plants often look small and scrawny in pots, though many grow rapidly. The six inch tall twig in the one gallon pot that you purchased at the nursery will reach its estimated adult size, so leave room. Proper spacing will result in a more beautiful and easier to maintain garden.

Use Temporary Fillers to Create a Finished Look

Proper spacing can leave the new garden looking bare. Use annuals or short-lived perennials, like monkeyflower, to fill in between immature young plants. Include hardscape, such as benches, paths and fountains, to give your young garden a finished look.