For this weeks Cool Plant of the Week post I bring you my two favorite California native annuals this year. One of the reasons I wanted to plant a lot of true annuals in my garden was for instant gratification. New perennials can take a year or more to really fill in and bloom spectacularly so having plants that grow to full size and bloom in just a few short months can help fill in the gaps. Despite the weather not being particularly good early on the annual garden worked out beautifully. I loved all my California native annuals but two in particular stood out.
This first star is Lupinus succulentus. It’s flowers are not as big and dramatic as typical lupine hybrids but it was a wonderful plant all the same. Its little two toned purple spikes of bloom just keep going and going.
I liked this plant so much I wish I had bought more. Just one was a nice show but next year I think I’ll try three in the same spot. I’m leaving the seed pods on in the hope that it will self sow. Hopefully closer to the path so I can reach it easily to squeeze its juicy succulent foliage.
The second cool plant of the week is Layia platyglossa (aka tidy tips).
They are found in almost every county in California. The first time I saw them was in huge fields north of Glass Beach in Fort Bragg.
They were by far the largest and showiest of the native annuals I tried this year. They started blooming a bit later so while the others are winding down (I have already started pulling out the baby blue eyes and cream cups) these are still going strong.