Best Plants for San Diego: Native Beauties, Matilija Poppies & Cleveland Sage

I love to see Matilija poppies growing in the wild.  What a beautiful sight.  These gorgeous, perennial plants are considered shrubs, growing to eight-ten feet tall, and they are some of the best plants for San Diego.  They spread by rhizomes and their large paper-mache looking white flowers have a huge yellow center.   Matilija poppies are also known as the fried egg plant.

This large, native perennial is part of the sage scrub and chapparel plant communities and can be found growing from Southern California down to Baja.  Matilija poppies like to grow in sunny places in sandy, loose soil.  They can be very hard to get started, yet can actually become invasive if they are happy where they are.  When planting new plants, give them deep and occasional water (not more than weekly).  With established Matilija, November is  the time to cut them back and they can be divided up at the roots to create new plants.

Best Plants for San Diego: Native Beauties, Matilija Poppies & Cleveland Sage

Salvia clevelandii, also known as Cleveland Sage makes a wonderful garden partner to the large white poppies.  It is perhaps the most common and easiest-to-grow native sage along with its numerous hybrids.  Growing three-five feet tall and five-eight feet wide, they are one of the largest of the sages.  They like sun and perfect drainage along with several deep waterings over the course of the summer.  Their gray-green leaves have intense fragrance and hummingbirds love the flowers!  Their native habitat is found only in a small area of southern California.

Best Plants for San Diego Cleveland Sage

Salvia clevelandii ‘Winifred Gilman’ is one of the more sought after varieties because of it’s dark purple flowers and reddish stems.  It’s best to trim back these woody plants in late summer to keep them looking more compact.

Most good native plant nurseries carry Matilija poppies, including the Theodore Payne Nursery in Sun Valley, Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita along with Kniffings Nursery in El Cajon and Walter Andersen Nursery in San Diego.

If you are wanting to incorporate native plants into your yard, they are the best plants for San Diego and need help with landscape design services, please contact Botaniscapes by Tracey.