Southern Calif. Rock Gardening?

danty(z9CA)January 8, 2011

I live and garden in Southern Cal. (zone 9).

This isn't supposed to be an ideal climate for rock/alpine garden plants.

Nevertheless -- I do rock gardening extensively -- adapting the plants I have found that do well here (sedums, small bulbs, small xeric perennials, etc.)

I want to expand a lot this year -- having searched out many online nurseries that sell RG plants.

Anyone out there in SoCal attempting or successfully doing rock gardens?

Also, I would be happy to send a list of the plants I have found that do well here if anyone is interested.


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Looks like there are not too many people left that rock garden in California or anywhere else (?). I have done some "rock gardening" here in Santa Maria, CA but mostly with plants in pots or pot contained arranged plantings.
Most are gone but I do have a favorite that you may want to try. It is Lewisia. You may be able to find plants at a local OSH though there are sites on the net that offer them. There are alot of plants that are suitable for rock gardening in So.Cal. These are mostly desert type plants.
Some of the low alpine type plants should be quite suitable as well as using regular non-rock garden plants, such as herbs that can add balance to the garden.
The link is to one retailer that offers some nice plants that might handle So. Cal. conditions. Unfortunately they do not send mail order. But the list is informative.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mt. Tahoma Nursery

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 10:23PM
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Hi TM,
Thanks for the message.
There are a TON of plants that can be grown here in Socal that will work in rock gardens.
I don't know about Mt. Tahoma but I found at least four online nurseries that ship here with lots of very interesting plants.
I've seen several of your posts on the RG forum that I enjoyed reading.
Let's keep the communication going.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 11:33PM
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Howdy Danty,
What is your favorite rock garden plant?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 5:55PM
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That's easy -- Oxalis.
I like Oxalis -- all types.

Right now I grow about a dozen varieties.
That is likely to go up this year.

Here's what I like about them:
They have both beautiful foliage and flowers.
Some grow better in high light -- others with more shade -- that translates into lots of planting site options.
Propagation is super easy -- I can make new plants to give away or trade.
They stay compact and look great among rocks.
They are easy to grow -- just give them fast draining soil and moderate water.
Most seem to be long lived.
The ideal plant in many ways -- IMHO

What about yours?


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 1:39AM
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Dudleya pulverulenta
this is a California native species found in the mountains
where chaparral occurs.
It is a great plant and can become very large and is very easy to grow if you do not overwater it.
I have one that is growing in a square 4 inch plastic pot that is lying on one of its sides that I have placed upon the edge of my back porch roof facing west. It gets some sun but in nature it gets alot of sun during mid day. I squirt water into the pot every now and then to keep it from shriveling up. check the link

Here is a link that might be useful: Dudleya pulverulenta

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:39PM
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Hey, I grow that one, too!
I got one years ago from the Las Pilitas Nursery branch down in San Diego county.
I had it in a narrow, gravelly raised bed and it didn't want to grow at all.
So I put it in a pot and re-located it to the north side of my house (thinking it wanted more shade).
It survived but it still languished.

About two months ago I moved the pot to my south-facing patio where it gets all morning sun.
Eureka -- it has tripled in size and is beautiful.

Yes, great plant.

Are you familiar with Dudleya brittonii?
It is even more stunning in my opinion.
Attached is a link to a photo.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dudleya brittonii

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 11:58PM
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YO! Years ago I was planning on building a collection of native Dudleya species but got sidetracked by other priorities. D. brittonii was on my list but never got around to getting any. But I was over in Lompoc years ago and there was a nursery there that had 3 pots of Dudleya edulis. Got them all and they ended up on top of my back porch roof where they get plenty of sun and not too much water! They survive up there with some native Opuntia littoralis , probably, (one saved from a Nipomo development-they literally scrapped off all the vegetation and dump it and a couple from near Thousand Oaks), along with some Polypodium californicum , the original little plant that I found up in the chaparral above Santa Barbara.
They seem to love it up there though it can really get hot during midday but becomes shaded during early afternoon.
What I enjoy most about the fern is that I do not even have to water them as they just dry back and come back with the rains. The D. edulis produces viable seed and I get seedlings popping up in my mosses.
Guess I need to take some photos of them.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 8:00PM
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