Dry Shade and Under Oaks

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Groundcovers and Small Perennials (under 2’)

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) 18”H x 2-3’W (spreads by rhizomes), can be used as a lawn substitute, tolerates mild foot traffic and occasional mowing.
Arctostaphylos groundcovers (Manzanita) size varies by species/cultivar, all are drought-tolerant and have the characteristic red-brown bark. Flower color ranges from white to pink.
Berberis aquifolium var. repens (Creeping Barberry) 2’H x 3-5’W, slow-growing groundcover with attractive green, purple and red leaves. Clusters of yellow flowers in spring.
Ceanothus groundcovers (CA Lilac) size varies by species/cultivar, all are drought-tolerant. Flower color ranges from blue to white.
Fragaria californica, Fragaria chiloensis (Wild Strawberry) Less than 6”H x spreading. Produces edible fruits.
Heuchera spp and hybrids (Coral Bells) 1’H x 1-2’W, flower color ranges from white to dark pink.
Iris, 1-2’H x 1-2’W, flower colors vary by cultivar
Iva hayesiana (Poverty Weed) 2’H x 5’W, evergreen and aromatic groundcover, best with some sun.
Mimulus aurantiacus (Sticky Monkeyflower) 2’H x 2-3’W, showy yellow flowers in spring, many cultivars available in other colors. Best with morning sun and afternoon shade, but can tolerant a range of conditions.
Ribes viburnifolium (Evergreen Currant or Catalina Perfume) 2’H x 5’W graceful arching stems trail along the ground, glossy dark green leaves are evergreen
Salvia spathacea (Hummingbird Sage) 2’H x spreading slowly by rhizomes. Wonderfully fragrant foliage and magenta flowers that attract hummingbirds.
Sisyrinchium bellum (Blue-eyed Grass) 1’H x 1-2’W, iris relative with lovely blue-purple flowers in spring. Summer dormant.

Medium-size Shrubs and Perennials

Berberis aquifolium var. aquifolium (Oregon Grape) 5-6’H x 5-6’W, attractive evergreen shrub with prickly leaves and showy yellow flowers in spring.
Carpenteria californica (Bush Anemone) 3-8’H x 6-8’W, good for dry shady spots but flowers better with partial sun. Fragrant spring flowers are white with yellow centers. Evergreen.
Galvezia speciosa (Bush Snapdragon) 3’H x 5’W, both shrubby and trailing, grows well in heavy soil, needs some sun for best bloom. Red flowers attract hummingbirds.
Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) 10-15’H x 10-15’W, a handsome evergreen shrub with red berries in winter. Local native, great for wildlife.
Keckiella cordifolia (Heart-Leaved Penstemon) 3’H x 3’W this vine-like perennial is best grown near evergreen shrubs to support its long arching branches. Red flowers in early summer attract hummingbirds. Late-summer deciduous.
Lepechinia fragrans (Pitcher Sage) 4-6’H x 4-6’W, technically not a “sage”, the large leaves smell sage-like. Tolerates heavy soils, sun or light shade and is drought-tolerant
Lonicera involucrata, L. subspicata (Chaparral Honeysuckle) 3-8’H x 3-8’W trailing, vine-like shrub
Rhamnus californica 'Eve Case', Rhamnus californica 'Mound San Bruno' (Coffeeberry) 4’H x 4’W, an attractive evergreen shrub, good for wildlife
Ribes indecorum, R. malvaceum, R. sanguineum (Flowering Currants) 5-6’H x 5-6’W, showy flowers vary in color from white to pink depending on species/cultivar. Summer deciduous.
Thalictrum fendleri (Meadow Rue) 4’H x 2’W, airy, almost fern-like texture and unusual looking flowers.
Venegasia carpesioides (Canyon Sunflower) 3-6’H x 3-6’W, a lovely flowering perennial to brighten up dark spots.