Pork and beans

Pork and beans is a garden succulent that grows 6-8 in. high and spreads 12-15 in. across. Colorful bean-like leaves are bright green in shady areas and turn to intense shades of pink and red when exposed to the sun. Showy yellow flowers occur in late winter to spring.

This popular rock garden and container plant that is often valued for its shifting foliage colors throughout the year and capacity to grow as a small area ground cover along walkways and borders. It is often mixed with other small succulents so their foliage can intermingle and create varied color and texture patterns in rock gardens. Care must be taken when gardening around this plant as the leaves easily break off from the stems when the plant is bumped or brushed up against.

Coppertone stonecrop

Coppertone stonecrop is definitely the go to succulent for high color impact in drought tolerant landscapes and gardens. This mounding succulent turns deep pumpkin orange with mid-summer sun exposure; this color will persist throughout the year as long as the plant is in sunny areas. On average, this plant grows 12-15 in. high and 18-24 in. wide. Cylindrical leaves with pointed tips are curved and grow upward; round clusters of white flowers accent the plant in late winter.

Native to coastal zones in Mexico, this is a bold color accent plant in combination with other succulents. The foliage color is most intense on new growth and in locations with bright sun exposure. It grows throughout the Inland Empire and is an accept plant in containers, in rock gardens and on banks and slopes.

Common geranium

The Common geranium is one of the long-time popular flowering perennials in gardens throughout the Inland Empire. It becomes a mounding perennial with succulent stems, usually growing 2-3 ft. tall and as wide. Circular leaves with heavily scalloped margins have soft fuzzy surfaces and are strongly pungent when crushed. Flowers are grouped together in ball-like clusters that are 3-4 in. dia. and project out from the foliage on 5-7 in. long stems. Flower petals have solid colors and include white, pink, red and lavender

Common geraniums are known as zonal hybrids due to the occurrence of dark circular rings that mark the leaf surface. This group is noted to have good tolerance of heat, aridity and sun conditions, and can survive neglect for extended periods of time. Red cultivars are classic container plants; many colors are available from nurseries and garden centers.

Cape plumbago

The cape plumbago is a large vining evergreen shrub with a mounding habit and easily growing 6-8 ft. tall, spreading 8-12 ft. wide. Foliage is comprised of thin medium green leaves, 2 in. long. Showy light blue flowers grow in large 3-4 in. dia. clusters for many months from early spring through fall.

Cape plumbago comes from mild climate zones of South Africa where it grows in bush and scrub thickets on dry slopes. In the Inland Empire, it is well suited to low frost microclimate zones in sunny areas on well-drained soils. Foliage is can be by temperatures below 25°F, but it will quickly regrow in spring. It easily accepts regular moisture and can become quite large and aggressive. Cape plumbago is most commonly planted as a flowering accent shrub and clipped hedge in residential and commercial landscapes. It is also used as a sprawling ground cover on large slopes in parks and open spaces where it can grow in sun and partial shade. Several cultivars have been introduced over the years, including P. a. ‘Alba’ that has white flowers.

Lion’s tail

Lion’s tail is a semi-deciduous to evergreen shrub that grows with an upright habit to 5-6 ft. high and 4-5 ft. wide. Clusters of fuzzy vibrant orange flowers are grouped in whorls on square stems, and are produced from late spring into summer. Foliage is comprised of long and narrow deep green leaves that are strongly pungent when crushed.

The lion’s tail is a striking flowering accent shrub for use Mediterranean style gardens throughout the Inland Empire. This species is best treated as a perennial that is cut back hard in late winter to control size and renew foliage character and flower development. It prefers full sun, well-drained soils, low amounts of summer moisture; young and mature plants alike can be damaged by temperatures 25°F and below. It is often planted as a unique color accent plant in background areas and perennial plantings, and a bold feature in drought tolerant gardens where it is recognized for its value to attract birds, bees and butterflies.

Sea mallow

Sea mallow is native to the coastal areas and Mediterranean climate zones of southern France, that develops into a large mounding shrub, 6-10 ft. high, 8-12 ft. wide. Foliage is comprised of palmately lobed pale gray-green leaves, growing 2-3 in. across. Showy 2-3 in. dia. lavender-white flowers have rose-purple centers and purple veins. Flowers on this species face outward, are more visible and occur over a very long flowering season, from early spring into late fall in coastal regions.

Similar to other shrub-type mallows, this species is fast growing, has flexible branches and stems and is adaptable to many landscape and garden conditions found in the Inland Empire. It is best adapted to full sun or light shade and with regular supplemental water during summer. It has become a popular flowering shrub that is grown as a flowering accent plant in background areas, for screening and for foliage contrast. It is easy to shape and size with simple pruning. It is sometimes available in nurseries as a patio tree in courtyard spaces.

Ghost plant

Ghost plant is a distinctive rosette-forming succulent plant that grows with a low mounding habit, 12-15 in. tall and 2-3 ft. wide. This succulent is native to Mexico and is well adapted to warm climate areas in the Inland Empire. Foliage is comprised of fleshy 1-11/2 in. long tapered leaves that are mostly pearly-gray, but take on various shades of rose and purple in response to sun exposure and temperature conditions. Small yellow star-shaped flowers grow in early spring.

Ghost plant is a good special interest foliage accent plant in small spaces, raised planters and containers where it can provide bold color contrast with other plants. Like other succulents, it grows best in full sun, in well-drained soils and with low amounts of moisture. It can tolerate temperatures to 25°F.

White trailing ice plant

White trailing ice plant is a low spreading succulent that can grow 6-12 in. and be planted to cover slopes, banks and parkways of any size. Triangular leaves are dull green; small white flowers are heaviest in mid spring and then occur intermittently throughout the year.

White trailing ice plant is an easy to grow and durable ground cover that can be planted at 12 in. apart to form a dense mat over soil surfaces. It adapts to a variety of soil types and requires low amounts of supplemental water. It can develop a 5-6 in. deep thatch of stems after 8-10 years that can be removed and replanted to refresh its character. Unrooted cuttings can be planted during the spring growing season to establish new plants.

Purple needle grass

Purple needle grass is the state grass of California. It is a distinctive clumping grass with fine textured foliage growing 18-24 in. tall with upright inflorescences growing to 3 ft. tall. Nodding seed awns move gracefully in the wind and have a distinctive purple color in early spring before fading to a light wheat color.

Over the years, several preserves and restoration projects have been implemented across California in an effort to reestablish this grass and illustrate its habitat value. It can be successfully grown in both large and small scale plantings and can survive in natural areas with winter rainfall. Like other native needle grasses, summer watering is not recommended during its season of dormancy. It is grown in garden situations with other native grasses, wildflowers and perennials where it adds a delicate and elegant touch to the plantings.

Elephant food

Elephant food is a unique and colorful upright succulent slowly growing 6-8 ft. tall and as wide. Stems and trunks are thick, flexible and deep purple in color. Leaves are medium green, nearly round and occur in pairs on opposite sides of stems; clusters of attractive tiny purple flowers occur in summer.

Elephant food is native to dry climate zones across coastal and inland parts of South Africa and is the only plant within the genus Portulacaria. And, as the common name suggests, it is a popular food of elephants and other range animals. It is well adapted to heat, sun and drought, but is sensitive to heavy frost. In Inland Empire gardens, this plant is commonly used in containers and rock gardens. One cultivar, P. a. ‘Variegata’, grows with a spreading habit that allows it to spill over the edges of containers and low walls.