Regions / Northern California
Selecting plants suited to the Northern California climate is a key step to success.
A plant's performance is governed by many climate related factors including the length of the growing season, the amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, wind or humidity. Various initiatives have taken place to determine how well plants would withstand the cold winter temperatures (Plant Hardiness Zones) or when plants would start suffering from the heat (Plant Heat Zones). A more sophisticated approach has been followed by Sunset which defines Climate Zone Maps based not only on hardiness or heat tolerance, but also on precipitations, wind, humidity and various other climate related factors.
Resembling candy canes, Tulip 'Peppermint Stick' is a lovely bi-color tulip that will make your heart race. This small hybrid tulip sends up slender, upright leaves and eye-catching, narrow and pointed, white flowers striped with cherry red lines on their outer tepals. The blossoms close at night or on a cloudy day, but are completely opened on sunny days, forming a perfect star.
Award-winning Tulip 'Tubergen's Gem' is incredibly beautiful with its striking color combination: rhodonite red with sulphur-yellow margins on the outside, canary yellow on the inside.
A pretty heirloom variety dating from around 1844, award-winning Tulip kolpakowskiana is a bulbous perennial with tapered, graceful, buttercup-yellow flowers, 2 in. (5 cm). Olive green with a broad streak of pinkish red on the outside, the delicate flowers are pale yellow on the inside. They open fully only when the sun is bright.
How not to marvel at the goblet-shaped, scarlet flowers of Tulip sprengeri when thrown open and shining in the sunshine? Native to Turkey, this lovely tulip opens up in late spring or early summer from long, slender buff bronze buds, elegantly held above clumps of glossy bright green leaves.
Ugni molinae (Chilean Guava) is a lovely, bushy evergreen shrub of upright habit with four-season ornamental interest. In spring, exquisitely fragrant, bell-shaped, pale pink and white flowers hang in profusion. Slowly through the summer, they are followed by sweet and delicious, dark red berries, 1/2 in. across (1 cm), which are fabulous eaten either raw or cooked. Equally handsome is the lush foliage of glossy and leathery dark green leaves, adorned with occasional seasonal flushes of red-purple.
Native to the northeastern US, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry) is a low-growing evergreen trailing shrub forming a carpet of green foliage, spreading and rooting from stems to indefinite width. Attractive pinkish-white tiny flowers appear in late spring to early summer. They give way to bright red cranberries that ripen in early-mid fall.
A desirable ornamental Mullein, Verbascum 'Southern Charm' is a short-lived perennial with abundant, graceful spikes smothered with uniquely colored flowers in pastel shades of creamy yellow, soft lavender and peachy, each adorned with a fuzzy purple eye.
Elegantly rising from a handsome rosette of gray-green leaves, Verbascum chaixii 'Album' (Nettle-Leaved Mullein), is a short-lived perennial with graceful spikes smothered with abundant white flowers adorned with purple hearts and orange eyes over a long flowering period extending from late spring to late summer with possible fall rebloom