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California Native Plants & Grasses

 for Landscape Water Features

Water features have become very popular in landscape settings.  Water features attract wildlife, bring a sense of nature to the landscape and can be very relaxing to visitors or homeowners.  It can be difficult to find flowering plants that can be grown in water; therefore, many plants selected for water gardens consist of grasses and grass like plants.  This is especially true for native plant material.  However, landscape architects, designers and homeowners can use a variety of flowering plants along the edges of the water feature to add color.  In many cases, plant selections will attract hummingbirds and butterflies, while adding color to the landscape.

The plants listed below include native trees, perennials, shrubs, grasses and grass like plants.  Though many native plants not listed here can be found growing naturally in or along water, they have been left off this list because as a mature specimen, they are considered too large, too aggressive, or they simply do not have desirable features for landscape situations. 

*Without a contractual agreement, material may be unavailable or only in limited quantities during certain times of the year


Taxonomic Name Common Name
Achillea millefolium   Common Yarrow 
Achillea millefolium 'Heidi' Salmon Common Yarrow Selection
Achillea millefolium 'Hoffnung' Yellow Common Yarrow Selection
Achillea millefolium 'Lilac Beauty' Lilac Common Yarrow Selection
Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' Red Common Yarrow Selection
Achillea millefolium 'Pink Island Form' Pink Common Yarrow Selection
Achillea millefolium 'Lavender Beauty’ Lavender Common Yarrow Selection
Aquilegia formosa Scarlet Columbine
*Artemisia ludoviciana                     Silver Mugwort
*Artemisia ludoviciana 'Silver King'  Silver Mugwort Selection
Chilopsis linearis                    Desert Willow
Chilopsis linearis 'Burgundy'  Desert Willow Selection
Epilobium (see Zauschneria) California Fuchsia
Erigeron glaucus ‘Wayne Roderick’  Seaside Daisy Selection
*Erigeron glaucus 'Arthur Menzies'  Seaside Daisy Selection
Fragaria chiloensis 'Chaval'           Wild Strawberry Selection
Fragaria chiloensis 'Green Pastures'  Wild Strawberry Selection
Galvezia juncea Baja Bush Snapdragon
Galvezia speciosa 'Firecracker' Island Bush Snapdragon Selection
*Grindelia stricta ssp. venulosa     Gum Plant
Lessingia ‘Silver Carpet’ NCN
Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Margarita Bop’ Foothill Penstemon Selection
Platanus racemosa California Sycamore
Populus fremontii Fremont’s Cottonwood
Populus tremuloides                           Quaking Aspen
Sambucus mexicana Mexican Elderberry
Satureja douglasii                                Yerba Buena
*Satureja mimuloides                        NCN
*Silene laciniata Indian Pink
Solanum xantii Purple Nightshade
Symphoricarpos alba White Snowberry
Symphoricarpos mollis                       Snowberry
Thalictrum polycarpum   Meadow Rue
Verbena lilacina Lilac Verbena
Zauschneria californica California Fuchsia
Zauschneria californica ‘Catalina’ California Fuchsia Selection
Zauschneria californica 'Alba'  California Fuchsia Selection
Zauschneria californica 'Carman's Grey' California Fuchsia Selection
Zauschneria cana Hoary Fuchsia

Shallow Water

Taxonomic Name Common Name
*Anemopsis californica         Yerba Mansa
*Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Lobelia
*Lobelia dunnii Blue Lobelia
Mimulus cardinalis Scarlet Monkeyflower
Mimulus guttatus Streamside Monkeyflower


        Grasses, Rushes, Reeds & Sedges


Taxonomic Name Common Name
*Carex nudata California Black-flowering Sedge
Carex pansa  California Meadow Sedge
Carex spissa  San Diego Sedge
Carex tumulicola  Berkeley Sedge
Deschampsia caespitosa Tufted Hairgrass  
Deschampsia caespitosa ‘Goldenhaenge’ Tufted Hairgrass Selection
Deschampsia caespitosa ‘Susan’s Choice’ Tufted Hairgrass Selection
*Deschampsia elongata Slender Hairgrass
Festuca idahoensis ‘Warren Peak’ Idaho Fescue Selection
Festuca idahoensis 'Siskiyou Blue' Idaho Fescue Selection
Leymus condensatus  Giant Wild Rye
Muhlenbergia rigens  Deergrass


Shallow Water

Taxonomic Name Common Name
*Carex barbarae  Santa Barbara Sedge
Carex praegracilis  Clustered Field Sedge
*Cyperus eragrostis  Tall Flat Sedge
Eleocharis macrostachya Spike Rush
Eleocharis montevidensis Spike Rush
Equisetum hyemale Horsetail
*Juncus acutus  Spiny Rush
*Juncus balticus  NCN
*Juncus effusus  Common Rush
Juncus effusus 'Quartz Creek'  Quartz Creek Rush
Juncus mexicanus  Mexican Rush
Juncus patens  California Grey Rush
Juncus patens 'Carman's Grey'  California Grey Rush Selection 
Juncus patens 'Elk's Blue' California Grey Rush Selection
*Juncus xiphioides  Flat-Bladed Rush
*Scirpus americanus Olney’s Bulrush
Scirpus cernuus Fiber Optic Grass
*Scirpus maritimus  Alkali Bulrush
*Scirpus robustus Salt Marsh Bulrush
*Scirpus acutus  Viscid Bulrush
*Scirpus californicus  California Bulrush
*Typha latifolia Cat Tail

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This page was last updated on 01/15/2009