The new year offers an opportunity to reset and reexamine our place on Earth. So why not make a positive impact on the environment in 2022 and create a natural habitat in your own backyard?
We tend to look to the stars in difficult times (like a pandemic with highly contagious variants), so we have assembled a few of our favorite California native plants (Poppies! Ceanothus!) and paired them with their corresponding zodiac signs.
And remember, a yard is not a must when it comes to planting California natives. Many will thrive and attract pollinators in container pots on your balcony and patio.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Palmer’s Indian mallow
You can be stubborn and a bit of a rebel, Aquarius, which means you don’t care if a plant is difficult or hard to find. We recommend Palmer’s Indian mallow, Abutilon palmeri, a somewhat rare plant that will appeal to your independent nature. The drought-tolerant plant is hardy, fast-growing and features soft heart-shaped leaves and masses of beautiful apricot-colored flowers. Plant it in rocky or sandy well-drained soil and it will bloom all year long.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Hummingbird sage
As the zodiac’s most sensitive sign, you are a born nurturer and drawn to things that inspire your imagination. Your empathy and compassion for others includes the environment, Pisces, and you need a plant that needs little water and attracts birds. Salvia spathacea, with its tall magenta and burgundy-colored flowers, fits the bill.
Aries (March 21-April 19): Red fairyduster
You have a sense of adventure and love to explore, Aries. As a fire sign, you are drawn to the color red, and the showy red flowers of the red fairyduster will suit your bold personality. And since you are not the most organized sign in the zodiac, you won’t have to worry about watering the Baja California native as it is extremely heat- and drought-tolerant once it is established.
Taurus (April 20-May 20): Anchor Bay
As one of the more dependable signs, you need an equally reliable plant such as Anchor Bay, which will tolerate almost any type of soil. The dense shrub can spread to more than 8 feet wide and will delight you — as well as local birds and butterflies — with stunning clusters of bright blue flowers in the spring.
Gemini (May 21-June 20): Slipper plant
You are curious, social and intelligent, but of two minds and can be easily distracted. You need a plant that represents dualities, just like your personality, Gemini. The slipper plant is a great succulent that will appease your inability to focus since it requires little maintenance. The payoff? Multicolored red-orange flower bracts that will bloom in the late spring and summer.
Cancer (June 21-July 22): Silver lupine
As a Cancer, you are loving and protective and create community wherever you go. Plant multiple lupines, watch them cross-pollinate and voila, instant family! A fast spreader, lupine will be of interest to you as a caretaker as it is the host plant for the endangered Mission blue butterfly.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): De La Mina
The egoist in you will find it hard to resist bragging about the proliferation of butterflies that will flock to the drought-tolerant De La Mina. Excellent in pots, the dramatic plant will produce gorgeous lavender-blue flower clusters with very little water — appropriate for a zodiac sign as impatient as you, Leo.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Desert willow
Although the desert willow tree remains leafless throughout half of the year, its blooming season in the spring and summer will keep your obsessive neat-freak tendencies busy for days, Virgo, as the fragrant purple and pink flowers fall to the ground and require cleanup.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Harmony manzanita
Like the other air signs, you can be, well, a bit laid-back, Libra. But you are also romantic and drawn to plants that represent peace and harmony. The harmony manzanita is an evergreen shrub that offers more than just harmony in name — its flowers attract hummingbirds.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): California poppy
You can be moody, Scorpio, and intrigued by sex, death and rebirth. The California poppy, which you will spot in unglamorous places like freeways and roadsides, was selected as a symbol for the state for good reason: It blooms in the spring, dies back, re-seeds and produces blooms forever and ever.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Red buckwheat
You are a smart one, Sagittarius, and worldly too. But did you know this? The colorful red buckwheat is a magnet for butterflies as well traveled as you.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Paradise pajaro manzanita
As a Capricorn, you are disciplined and expect the same of plants. You prefer plants that show structure. So try the paradise pajaro manzanita, a bold evergreen with dramatic dark red bark with white, pink and startling red flowers. As one of the more practical signs, you will appreciate that its shredding bark is used by birds as nesting material.
Some of our favorite places to find California native plants in and around Los Angeles:
Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley, Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano, Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery in Pasadena, California Botanic Garden’s Grow Native Nursery in Claremont, Plant Material in Silver Lake and Glassell Park, Artemisa Nursery in El Sereno and Moosa Creek Nursery in Valley Center.