9 Plants That'll Make Your Southern California Garden Flourish

You'll attract bees, butterflies and admiring murmurs

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Hey, you. Your garden could use a face-lift. Why not plant a few colorful new flowering plants and at the same time help save those poor disappearing bees? We’ve put together a few ways to attract them (and their pollinating pals, the butterflies and hummingbirds) to your garden.

These aren’t just any flowers but ones that are native to Southern California and thus, drought-tolerant. See our floral picks as well as some tips for planting, then ease back into your Adirondack and wait for your fluttering, buzzing garden show to start.



Bees are particularly drawn to white, yellow and blue; their eyes register a color called "bee ultraviolet" that guides them to nectar. Bluish lilac blossoms attract them and smell great to us, too.



The California poppy is a sure thing--it’s the state flower, after all. Try to leave some of the spent blossoms on the flower after blooms fade, since the plants self-seed from year to year.



Drought-tolerant Salvia, which comes in many varieties such as tall, short and chill-resistant, attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

morning glory

Morning Glory

This profusion of white native morning glory makes bees happy, because they prefer masses of similar flowers grouped together. It makes neighbors happy because it hides a chain-link fence.



Many of the plants bees like best have large, tubular flowers with petals that act as a landing platform. Penstemon, like this red variety, fit the bill.



California wildflower seed mixes, which vary slightly from year to year, are made up of blooming annuals native to the coast and central valley.


Rose Buckwheat

Rose buckwheat produces plumes of flowers and grayish, spoon-shaped leaves that grow in clumps two feet across and a foot high; they’re great for slopes.



The Santa Barbara Daisy is a tiny, low-growing flower that’s a great border for taller plantings.


Flannel Bush

The flannel bush’s bright yellow blossoms attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, and it can grow to be the size of a tree. Helpful hint: Want to lure in more butterflies? Keep a shallow container of pebbles filled with water so they can perch while drinking.

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...