UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Here's a full list of all our water wise plants. You can also view an image gallery, or view the plants by categories.

Aesculus californica

Pronunciation
ES-kew-lus ka-li-FOR-ni-ka
Common Name
California Buckeye
Plant Type
Tree
Mature Size
Can grow 10 - 25 ft. or more, and spread 30 ft. or wider
Water Requirements
Very Low: water reply several time a summer
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun, shade
Wildlife
  • Bees
  • Butterflies
  • Hummingbirds
Flower Color
White to pink
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

The California buckeye is a unusual native because it is summer deciduous. It will naturally drop its leaves with the heat of summer, but with regular watering it may hold its leaves longer.

The California buckeye nectar/pollen is poisonous to European honeybees, but not to native bees. The flower has a candy or perfume like scent, and blooms in very early spring. The tree produces a large nut that resembles a buck's eye, thus the name. The nut is poisonous to eat. The nuts easily reseed where they fall, so collect them if you don't want a lot of sprouts coming up.

Without summer leaves, the pale bark of the California buckeye offers interest and structure in the garden. This shrub is very easy to prune and shape for your desired size.

Although we are very fond of buckeyes, this plant is no longer in the Demonstration Garden. We decided to remove it because it is poisonous to honeybees.

Ficus carica ‘Panachée’

Pronunciation
FY-kus KAR-ih-kah
Common Name
Panachée Striped Tiger Fig
Plant Type
Tree
Mature Size
15 -30 ft.
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full sun
Wildlife
Flower Color
Inconsequential flowers
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

Can edibles be ornamental? Yes! Tiger figs have beautiful striped green fruit in the fall and large attractive leaves. Unfortunately the fruit on this cultivar requires a long warm season to ripen. For eating, we usually recommend 'Black Mission', a cultivar that is more likely to ripen in Palo Alto.

Every year we have pruned our two fig trees hard to keep them from overwhelming our modest sized beds. While our radical pruning has kept the trees under control this may be more work than the average homeowner wants to take on every year. We recently decided to remove our two tiger figs and replace them with a dwarf fig cultivar called "Black Jack".

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