Keeping traditional landscapes healthy in Southern California uses up to 70 percent of our potable water, requires gross amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, and produces countless emissions from maintenance equipment and contributes to some of the planet’s worst air quality. But there is a better way. By choosing the right plants for the right place, we can create truly sustainable landscapes—landscapes that thrive on little or no supplemental water and, little if any fertilizers or pesticides. Best yet, sustainable landscapes rarely need to be hedged, edged or mowed and that saves us all both time and money.

Download it at the Apple App Store for free.

To help you create your sustainable landscapes and select the right plants for the right places in your garden, we’ve developed a free iPhone/iPad application, PlantQuest.

PlantQuest lists vital statistics for 100 plants and advises you on how and where to use them and in your landscape. We’ve selected beautiful California natives and other plants suited to our climate that will save water, reduce runoff and help you cut back on the need for lawn equipment. The PlantQuest library includes proven sustainable garden favorites that are easy to grow and are available at most good nurseries. The application includes useful search features that allow you to look for plants by their size and form, water and sun needs, soil type, and climate zone. You can even search for plants that will attract beneficial wildlife. Each plant profile includes two images of the plant and a unique scale graphic showing the plant’s eventual size at maturity. No more guessing!

With PlantQuest you can find the plants best suited to your needs, then save plants to your favorites list and use our nursery links to find where to buy them.

Another great feature of the PlantQuest app allows you to use our custom QR code scanner at locations that use our codes on their plant labels. Say you're visiting your favorite participating botanic garden, demonstration garden or nursery, you will be able to scan the plant label and retrieve photos and a host of useful information on about the plant. PlantQuest is available now for free in the iTunes store.