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In many landscape scenarios, a tall, dense shrub is necessary to provide a living barrier. The following is a list of drought tolerant, evergreen native plants with dense growth. These tough shrubs are low maintenance by nature, but also lend themselves well to formal hedging. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Initial irrigation (first 2 years) ensures a good head start and faster growth (especially at inland locations). Most can be maintained at lower heights with pruning.

  • Planting Tip : Adequate spacing is critical. Over planting results in crowded growth and unnecessary maintenance. Be patient with the initial filling-in process, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the growth you have after 3 full years in the ground. *Indicates plant that can be planted very close on center and hedge pruned
Scientific / Common NameSizeDescription 
Arctostaphylos ‘Howard McMinn’5’white flowers, red stems, dark leaves
Atriplex lentiformis ssp. breweri, Coastal quail bush6’silver-grey foliage, poor soils
Baccharis pilularis consanguinea, Coyote bush 4’white flowers in fall, fast growth
Ceanothus ‘Snow flurry’5-10’white flower clusters
Ceanothus ‘Frosty blue’4-8’blue flower clusters in spring
Cercocarpus betuloides, Mountain mahogany10-15’feathery seed plume, very drought tolerant
Cupressus forbesii, Tecate cypress 30’light green foliage, reddish bark, fast
Garrya elliptica, Silktassel bush 4-8’showy silver tassels
Heteromeles arbutifolia, Toyon12’white flowers, red winter berries
Hyptis emoryi, Desert lavender 5-12’grey-green desert plant, fast, aromatic
Mahonia, ‘Golden abundance’ 6-8’holly-like foliage, yellow flowers, blue berries
Malosma laurina, Laurel sumac 6-12’red stems and new foliage, fast 
Myrica californica, Pacific wax myrtle  8-20’narrow leaves, lush foliage
Prunus ilicifolia, Hollyleaf cherry 8-15’white flowers, red summer cherries
Rhamnus californica, Coffeeberry 4-12’creamy flowers, red summer berries
Rhus integrifolia, Lemonade berry 6-12’pink flowers, orange-red berries
Rhus ovata, Sugarbush6-15’pink spring flowers, berries
Simmondsia chinensis, Jojoba 5-7’grey-green foliage, dense globe
Umbellularia californica, Bay laurel 20’aromatic foliage, yellow flowers, berries

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