As the weather cools (lovingly for us in Southern California!), it’s the time for local plant sales — especially for our important native plants that can be hard to find in regular nurseries.
Note: Non-Californians: I have ‘when to plant’ guidelines for my Midwest and Eastern friends (see below)
Why native plants? Every year I get more and more hooked on native plants. I first fell for their drought resistance; lately, it’s how they are bird and butterfly magnets. With the recent news that North America is 3 billion birds poorer than in 1970, getting native plants in our yards is vital.
Douglas Tallamy, Entomology and Wildlife Ecology professor and author of Bringing Nature Home, writes on his website “Plants differ widely in how well they support wildlife. Native plants support pollinators and food webs far better than introduced ornamentals….”
That’s because native plants evolved with local insects, which in turn attract more insects that are predators of them, and in turn attract birds (Did you know: 96% of birds feed insects to their young.)…. The good ‘ol cycle of life.
For those of us in the warmer states, fall is the time to plant native plants. As our temps cool, the plants are less stressed, the cool weather encourages the plants to send down deep roots in preparation for the hot months in summer — and we might even get rain to help establish them.
Upcoming Fall Native Plant Sales in Southern California
There’s no question — fall through early winter is the best time to plant natives in our warmer climate.
Here are local sales:
Sat, Oct 12: San Diego Plant Sale – This is a great sale of California native plants – at Balboa Park.
Sat, Oct 19: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Fall Plant Sale – Always a fantastic selection – members can attend two hours early 0n this one-day event (good talks too). Free admission day to see the garden too.
Th-Sat, Oct 24-26: Theodore Payne Plant Sale – The Theodore Payne Foundation is in Sun Valley and features wildflowers and a large variety of native plants.
Sat, Nov 2: Riverside/San Bernardino CNPS Plant Sale – this local chapter of the California Native Plant Society offers a good selection and knowledgeable help. And I’ll be there this year to assist.
Midwest/Eastern Folks: See”How to Plant and Maintain Native Plants” guidelines from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Timing-wise, you can plant trees and shrubs now in the fall, but wait til spring for transplants, seeds and bare-rooted plants. On a recent trip, I was amazed to see all the native prairie landscaping in the Midwest – word is getting out!
Other areas of California – the California Native Plant Sale website) lists plant sales and events. Elsewhere, please google ‘native plant nurseries’ and places in your area should come up.
Go Natives. And Happy Planting!
Please see my subcategory ‘Favorite Native Plants’ under the Plants tab at the top for descriptions of my top native plants.
Click here for favorite Midwest/Eastern plants.