California Trees and Shrubs for Rain Gardens

blooms with gorgeous pink to fuschia flowers. Better known as Western Spicebush, Calycanthus occidentalis starts blooming mid-spring and procedes through until August. Spicebush enjoys shady places, but some sun won't hurt. This beautiful California shrub grows up to 8 feet tall.

Corylus cornuta , variety californica is more commonly known as the California Hazlenut. It bloom in the late winter, early spring and grows five to ten feet tall. Hazlenuts ripen in early fall and are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals as well as anti-oxidants and fiber. Wildlife will enjoy these nuts year after year.

Myrica californica is another lovely Wax Myrtle that is native to California. Wax Myrtle can grow into a nice modest-sized shrub of two feet or all the way up to a medium-sized shrubby tree of twenty feet. Myrica californica is tolerant of sandy and clay soil and does well on sea-side locations.

Hysocarpus capitatus is a lovely spreading shrub, growing three to eight feet tall. Better known as Pacific Ninebark, this shrub bears beautiful balls of white flowers that later release dried seeds. Ninebark prefers partial shade and can grow in sand or clay.

Populus fremontii is the "largest flowering plant in the United States." The Freemont Cottonwood should be very carefully considered before adding to any garden which is obvious from the size this tree can reach. Not only is it large it also grows fast and is what is known as a water shunt, meaning that it funnels water into other areas, in this case your rain garden. Cottonwood is a great wildlife magnet. Birds use the fluff of the females as nesting material and butterflies use it as a host for their larvae. One small word of caution: Cottonwoods, wreak havoc on some people who are prone to allergies, such as my mother.

is also known has Yellow Willow or Shining Willow. Shining willow grows to about 20 feet tall and it's yellow flowers bloom in early spring. It enjoys full sun, but make sure you give it plenty of space. It is often used to stabilize creek beds.

Ribes sanguineum is better known as Red-Flowering Currant. Currant grows eight to ten feet tall and boasts brilliant red blooms in the early spring. This lovely shrub prefers the shade, but some sun won't hurt. Birds enjoy the fruit of this bush.

Rubus spectabilis is a member of the rose family with bright, rosy flowers, that appear in the late spring or early summer. Better known as Salmonberry, this shrub produces raspberry like fruits, that are enjoyed by many species. Salmonberry grows three to ten feet.

Vaccinium ovatum is a shrub that grows two to three feet tall known commonly as California Huckleberry. Huckleberry blooms in early spring with beautiful, pink, urn-shaped flowers and produces little blue berries.

Washingtonia filifera is a tall palm tree, better known as California Fan Palm. Fan Palm can grow 45 feet tall and prefers desert washes or palm oases. It also produces an edible nut.