When in doubt, think drought tolerant plants [infographic]

June 22, 2015
Media Contact— / ccoomber@ucsd.edu / 858-534-0580

Temperatures in California have been rising and record highs during the drought were likely made more extreme due to human-induced climate change, according to an assessment report by the NOAA Drought Task Force Narrative Team.

With current climate conditions of increasing warmth and less moisture, Californians can use water-conserving plants that help save the scarce resource and save money. Native and drought tolerant plants are important, not just because they are water efficient, but because they are the foundations of the native ecosystems.

Additionally, many cities are offering financial incentives and rebates to citizens choosing to replace their water-thirsty yards with drought-tolerant landscaping. For example, beginning July 1, the City of San Diego will begin to accept applications for its grass replacement rebate program. To see a list of conservation rebates and programs currently available to you, visit calwater.com.

See Home Water Conservation for more green gardening tips.

infographic: 5 min guide to drought tolerant plants


5-min Guide: Drought tolerant plants

brought to you by California Sea Grant & University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE)

Water is a valuable resource in Southern California. The sunshine and mild cliamte provide a gardener's paradise. However, 50% of household water in Southern California is used in the yard - about 238 gallons a day for a family of four. This demand far exceeds the modest 10-15 inches of annual rainfall our Mediterranean climate provides.

Climate models predict that climate change will worsen water shortages. 

As our population continues to increase, water demand could further outstrip natural water availability. 

Reducing water use in the landscape and gardening in dry conditions does not have to mean home gardens are paved or artifical. Think drought tolerant native plants.

Benefits of drought tolerant plants

  • Reduce water use
  • Lower water bills
  • Attractive plants with less maintenance
  • More wildlife habitat
  • Less polluted runoff to the ocean

Why choose native plants?

Native species have evolved and adapted to local weather. In their native habitat, they are tolerant of seasonal extremes, having adapted to survive winter cold and summer heat, periodic drought, wildfires, coastal conditions, and high winds. 

Next steps

About California Sea Grant

NOAA’s California Sea Grant College Program funds marine research, education and outreach throughout California. Our headquarters is at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego; we are one of 33 Sea Grant programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.