Grow Bullet-Proof Plants

Landscape designer Doug Kalal of Great Gardens Landscape Design ( names these versatile plants as his five bullet-proof beauties. All are easy to find at area nurseries.

  • Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) – Velvety purple flowers dance above scented grey-green foliage spring and fall on this drought-tolerant sage. Refresh in late November (December inland) by cutting close to the ground; cutback again by half in July. Four feet tall and wide; ‘Santa Barbara’ is a foot shorter.
  • Prostrate Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’) -  This handsome herb handles poor soils on hot, dry slopes with ease and bears pale blue flowers winter into spring that are loved by honey bees.  Spreads 4-8 feet wide
  • Silver Sheen Pittosporum (Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Sheen’) – Tiny leaves glisten on this tall slender evergreen shrub. Tough and water wise, it fits into narrow side gardens masking fences and walls. Grows 10-12 feet tall.
  • Marble Queen Mirror Plant (Coprosma repens ‘Marble Queen’) – Drought-tolerant and easy care with no leaf litter, marble mirror plants are garden chameleons with slick green and creamy yellow foliage that changes with the seasons and sun exposure. Slow growing to 4 feet tall and wide. Good near pools.
  • Forest Pansy Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’) – An all-season performer, ‘Forest Pansy’ shows off best in spring when tiny pink flowers along bare branches are followed by deep purple heart-shaped leaves. Fall foliage is a brilliant orange-gold. Grows to 15 feet tall and wide. Full sun along the coast; afternoon shade inland.


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