Water-Wise Plant Lists
If you are choosing plants for the CCWD Lawn to Garden Rebate Program, they must be either listed in the Contra Costa Water District’s List of Approved Plants or are rated either “low” or “very low” in the WUCOLS Plant Database. Plants not on the list will be approved on a case by case basis.
If you are simply looking for water-wise plants, use any one of the following websites to help you research water-wise plants.
Contra Costa Water District’s List of Approved Plants
All of the plants on this list (PDF) are approved for use in our Lawn to Garden Rebate Program. Not all of the plants on this list are right for every garden, so please be sure to talk to your local nursery, or use the following resources to find specific information about a plant’s mature size, preferred sun exposure and other needs (like soil type and drainage).
This is a plant database that you can look up a plant by either common name or botanical name. The plants are rated by their water use: high, medium, low and very low. Any plants that are rated “very low” or “low” are acceptable for the Lawn to Garden Rebate Program.
If you have plants that are not listed on either the CCWD List of Approved Plants and WUCOLS Plant Database, please check with CCWD to have them reviewed for approval. Email the plant names (botanical name if possible) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Plant Resources
Gardening in Contra Costa County
This site is an interactive website offering a searchable database with vivid color photographs and detailed plant information. Select only low and very low water-needing plants if you plan on watering only once a week or less during the peak summer. When you view or print your plant list use the Hydrozone Report option and the plants in the list will be sorted into very low (1 water drop), low (2 water drops) and medium (3 water drops) water needing groups.
UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars
Find 100 plants recommended for California gardens by the horticultural staff of the UC Davis Arboretum. Download the Arboretum All-Stars booklet (PDF), a full listing of all 100 All-Stars with detailed info on each. The UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars website has a searchable database and list of the All-Stars.
Calscape.com has a map-based system that helps you find the plants that will thrive in your neighborhood. Calscape is focused on helping people restore nature by growing the plants that belong where they live..Plants that evolved to grow in a particular area and site type in California are happiest and healthiest when they are planted in that area and site type
Nursery Web Sites
The following nurseries have websites with pictures and detailed information about plants. Please be sure to pick low or very-low water users to qualify for the rebate.
- Annie’s Annuals and Perennials - A plant finder, select ‘low water’ on the water tab
- High Country Gardens
- Las Pilitas Nursery - Specializes in California Natives
- Yerba Buena Nursery - Specializes in Californian Natives, select ‘Drought Tolerant’ under the water tab
- CalPhotos: Plants - A large, searchable database of plant photos. Photos have been contributed by a variety of organizations and individuals. Search returns multiple photos. This is the place to go to view multiple pictures of plants you may not be able to find pictures of somewhere else.
- Calflora - A searchable database of plants that grow wild in California (both native and naturalized plants), including 20,000 photographs. Search returns plant photos and information.
- California Native Plant Link Exchange - A searchable database of native plant information. You can search results return plant photos, information, nurseries that carry it, and a link to plants that grow well with it.
- Plants Suited for the Bay Area - Discover a list of plants suited to the Bay Area climate, grouped by exposure (sun/shade) and soil requirements.
- StopWaste - Plant lists are grouped by plant function including functional lawn alternatives, butterfly attracting plants, and understory plants.
- Native Again Landscape Plant List Links - These lists include plants to use under or near Oak trees and UC Davis all-stars that do well in sun, part shade, and shade.
- Plant Right - Protecting California from Invasive Species - Invasive species can harm wild land areas, displace native species, and have a high economic cost. Learn how to help prevent the spread of invasive species by planting right.
- California Invasive Plant Council - Don’t Plant a Pest - The problem plants listed on this site can escape from gardens in the Bay Area region and invade wild lands. This site lists other landscaping plants that serve as good alternatives to the invasive plants.
- Native Here Nursery - A complete resource for plants that grow naturally in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, listed by cities.
- Santa Clara County Plant List - Scroll down to see a nice list of native trees.
- Plant List for Sacramento County (PDF) - Find a list of lots of hardy plants.
Online Message Board Groups
- Gardening with Natives - It's a closed Yahoo group, but you can ask to join in the lively conversation