Why Grow native?

To save water, wildlife, and our planet!

Habitat destruction is the number one cause of extinction and species decline. You can help save local wildlife by planting your yard, balcony, and patio with local native plants! The bees, butterflies, and birds will thank you by visiting your home and sharing their beauty with you.

Convert your yard, patio, or balcony to a sustainable California Native Garden!

Earn a LADWP REBATE for replacing your lawn!

More Reasons to Grow Native:

For your water bill! They reduce water use in the garden by 85%.

To have more free time! Native gardens take 75% less maintenance.

To sneeze less! Native plants produce less pollen, which means fewer allergies!

For the planet! They absorb carbon and support the natural ecosystem.

To support wildlife! Natives feed our wildlife and provide shelter and nesting sites.

To give up fertilizers and pesticides! Natives don’t need them.

For cleaner air! Your native garden will purify the air and reduce temperatures.

For eye candy! Native plants are beautiful!

How To Grow Native!

Step 1: Assess your Site! How to video here.

  • What kind of soil do you have? Sandy or clay? Follow these instructions to find out.

  • What kind of drainage do you have? If it is a “brick” you may need to amend it.

    • Dig a hole 12” wide and 8 “ deep. Fill it with water. Drains in less than 30 min? Good drainage. 30-60 minutes? Slow drainage. More than 60 minutes? Poor drainage (BRICK)! But don’t worry, you can fix up your soil or simply plant plants that don’t mind very poor drainage (look for clay-lovers).

  • Draw your site.

    • Where are the buildings?

    • Where is the sun and shade?

    • What is the topography like? Where are the slopes, dry spots, and moist areas?

    • Where does the water go when it rains?

Step 2: Plan your site!

  • Shoot for 80% native plant cover to maximize benefits to wildlife. This means you can still have a few non-native favorites. Try to keep them separate so watering is easier. You also want 70-80% evergreen plants.

Step 3: Prep your site!

  • Remove lawn. Kill it first if you can, but not with chemicals!

    • Here’s a how to video (also tells you how to prep a rain garden and mulch your soil). Call DIG ALERT 811 before starting!

    • If you don’t want to rent a bin, put the soil off to the side and fill up your green bin each week.

  • If your soil is a brick, follow this guide from LA County to repair your soil.

  • If you plan to install a rain garden, dig it out at this time.

Step 4: Plant your site!

  • How to video here, you may have seen it in step 2.

  • Visit local native plant nurseries to find your plants (see our list under “where to buy native plants”). Calscape has a larger list here.

  • Planting tips:

    • Space for the full grown size of the plant so that they don’t become over-crowded in a year or two. If you’re impatient about the wait, plant some annuals or short-lived perennials in between the spaces.

    • Try to use only 1 gallon size plants to maximize longevity of the plant.

  • Maintain: Water regularly for 1-2 years, until the plants become established. After that, only water before heat waves or if some plants need a little help.

Grow Native logo

Where to Buy Native Plants

Theodore Payne Foundation
10459 Tuxford Street
Sun Valley, CA 91352

Marina del Rey Garden Center *
13198 Mindanao Way,
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

*Takes special orders!

Matilija Nursery
8225 Waters Road
Moorpark, CA 93021

Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden
1500 N College Avenue
Claremont CA 91711
(Closed during Summer)

Las Pilitas Nursery **
3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

Tree of Life Nursery **
33201 Ortega Highway
San Juan Capistrano CA 92675

**Order online for delivery! Minimums apply.

Buy Plants and Learn More at Friends of Ballona Wetlands Events!

Join Us at Our Next Event:

The next Grow Native Event will be in October, 2019.

Other places to take classes:

  • LADWP Free CA-friendly landscape classes.

  • Theodore Payne Foundation Native Plant classes ($).

Grow Native! On the Road!

Host your own Grow Native! Event at your home or community space! Monday - Friday. We bring the plants, pots, soil, and supplies! For more information, please contact Neysa at neysaf@ballonafriends.org.

Learn More

How to get started with Calscape Planting Guide.

Not sure what to plant? Choose plants from our FBW Plant List.

Check out these plant guides from the Theodore Payne Foundation!

Getting Started with Native Plants

Easy Native Plants

Your Native Garden’s First Year

Planting Guide

Native Plants for Containers

Native Gardeners & Designers

Dirt Diva Designs
Duvivier Architects
FormLA Landscaping
Lisa Fimiani, 310-339-2737
Green Heart Native Landscapes
It Takes a Garden
Sodder Studio
Terra Design

This list is intended for referrals only and does not imply endorsement. FBW is not responsible for the practices of outside professionals.

Don’t Plant These invasives!

Just because they are sold at a Nursery, doesn’t mean you should plant it in your yard.

Periwinkle, Vinca Major
Cape Ivy, Delairea odorata
Spanish Broom, Spartium junceum
Fountain Grass, Pennisetum setaceum
Pampas Grass, Cortaderia jubata
Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altisissima
Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
Myoporum, Myoporum laetum
Giant Reed, Arundo donax
Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
Onionweed, Asphodelus fistulosus
Carnation Spurge, Euphorbia terracina
Perennial Pepperweed, Lepidium latifolium
Tree Tobacco, Nicotiana glauca
Harding Grass, Phalaris aquatica
Castor Bean, Ricinis communis
Umbrella Sadge, Cyperus involucratus

More about invasive weeds here.



An Untamed Wilderness and Butterfly Haven


Try planting Indian mallow, yarrow, narrow-leaf milkweed, ceanothus, chia and other sages, CA bush sunflower, CA poppies, blue-eyed grass, CA buckwheat, CA fuchsia, dudleya, CA wild rose, and lilac verbena.


A Shrubby Hillside


Try planting matilija poppy, ceanothus, buckwheat, coast live oak, CA bush sunflower, lemonade berry, black sage, manzanita, CA sagebrush, and apricot mallow.


An Artful Mosaic


Try planting “David’s Choice’ sagebrush, manzanita, ceanothus, sea cliff buckwheat, CA buckwheat, island bush snapdragon, El Tigre pitcher sage, giant coreopsis, toyon, and pink cedros island verbena.


A Potted Paradise


Try planting Palmer’s Indian mallow, vine maple, Oregon grape, red or pink fairyduster, incense cedar, bush anemone, western redbud, coffeeberry, sage (especially hummingbird friendly), bush snapdragon, toyon, CA bay, western columbine, seaside daisy, coral bells, Conejo buckwheat, cliff spurge, CA sea lavender, lilac verbena, sedge, fescue, horsetail, deergrass, dudleya, coast or wood strawberry, and yerba buena.