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Fragrant California Native Plants

As an adaptation to the arid climate in which they grow, many California native plants have high concentrations of oils that are very pleasantly fragrant. Many of these fragrances will bring a sense of place to your garden as they are distinctly southwestern aromas. Some of them will permeate the air after a refreshing rain, while others will smell good baking in the sun. Simply rub or crush leaves to release these sweet, minty, pungent and balmy perfumes. Try planting them next to a path, where passersby will brush against them. You’re sure to find them irresistible! Below is a list of plants you will commonly find at Tree of Life Nursery.

Botanical NameCommon NameSun Requirements
Artemisia californicaCalifornia sagebrushfull sun to part shade
Calycanthus occidentalisSpicebushfull sun to part shade
Peritoma arborea (this one is an acquired scent!)Bladderpodfull sun
Cupressus forbesiiTecate cypressfull sun
Condea emoryiDesert lavenderfull sun to part shade
Juniperus californicaCalifornia juniperfull sun to part shade
Lepechinia fragransFragrant pitcher sagefull sun to part shade
Monardella speciesCoyote mintfull sun to full shade
Pycnanthemum californicumCalifornia mintpart sun to full shade
Ribes malvaceumChaparral currantpart shade
Ribes viburnifoliumCatalina perfumefull sun to full shade
Salvia speciesSagefull sun to part shade
Clinopodium chandleriSan Miguel savorypart shade to full shade
Clinopodium douglasiiYerba buenapart shade to full shade
Trichostema lanatumWoolly blue curlsfull sun to part shade
Umbellularia californicaBay laurelfull sun to part shade