Purple Robe, Nierembergia scoparia

Purple Robe, aka Cup Flower, Nierembergia scoparia

Purple Robe, Cup Flower

Nierembergia scoparia


  • Plant Form: Perennial Flower
  • Water Use: Low – Moderate
  • Mature Size: 6-10 inches tall, 12 inches wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun – Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: May – October (or first frost)
  • Native to: South America
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 25° F


Purple Robe forms a much-branched, spreading mound with inch-long, purple, bell-shaped flowers that literally cover the whole plant all summer. Even in heat, Purple Robe flowers hold their deep, rich color. The foliage on this long-blooming, easy-care perennial has a fern-like appearance. Trim the whole plant back after flowering to lengthen life. Plant in fall or winter for flowers in summer. Mulch in summer to retain moisture and help keep soils cool. Purple Robe is an excellent plant for rock gardens, as well as for borders, bedding, baskets, window boxes or containers. While this tender perennial normally survives our mild winters, it can be grown as an annual in areas with freezing winters.

Silver Bush Morning Glory dazzles in all seasons with both showy flowers and silvery foliage.

Silver Bush Morning Glory dazzles in all seasons with both showy flowers and silvery foliage.

Silver Bush Morning Glory

Convolvulus cneorum


  • Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1-2 feet tall, 3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: April – September
  • Native to: Southern Europe
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 10° F


Silver Bush Morning Glory is prized not just for its glorious flowers, but also for its soft, silvery foliage that it displays all year. Masses of white funnel-shaped flowers with yellow throats open from pink buds on this compact perennial. This very distant relative of the morning glory vine looks stunning as a dramatic silver accent next to anything purple, red, or dark green, or in a moonlight garden. Thrives in dry, sandy, well-drained alkaline soil, and stays compact and fully flowered if grown in full sun. As with most silver foliage plants (having leaves covered with fine, microscopic hairs), this tough plant is drought-tolerant, and stands up to heat, cold, and wind. If you have rabbits in your yard, you’ll need to protect these tasty plants with chicken wire.


Fendler’s Sundrops

Calylophus hartwegii fendleri


Sundrops provide mounds of bright color from spring into fall.

  • Plant Form: Perennial Groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1’ tall, 2’ wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Mar – Oct
  • Native to: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 5°


Sundrops cheer up drab spots in your garden, and quickly spread by underground rhizomes into rounded, flower-filled mounds. Masses of yellow 1-2 inch flowers appear over a long season above narrow, bright green leaves. Flowers open in the afternoon and remain open until the next morning, providing nectar to night-flying moths. Each flower lasts 24 hours, and then fades to orange-pink, creating a nice sunset color palette. Cut back the stems of this evening primrose look-alike when it goes dormant in winter to reshape and prepare for new spring growth. This tough plant takes heat and drought, and is attractive between boulders, massed in clusters, or in containers. Plant in well-drained soil, and even though they don’t like to be overwatered, they appreciate a little extra water in summer.

Mexican Blue Sage, Electric Blue Sage

Salvia chamaedryoides


  • Plant Form: Evergreen Perennial/ Small Shrub

    Mexican Blue Sage, a.k.a. Electric Blue Sage

    Mexican Blue Sage, a.k.a. Electric Blue Sage

  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1’-2’ tall, 2’-3’ wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Feb – Oct; heaviest bloom Spring & Fall
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 10° F


Mexican Blue Sage is a fast-growing, low mounding perennial that spreads by underground runners. The small silvery-green foliage is a perfect backdrop for its electric blue flowers that are heaviest in the cooler spring and fall months.  Also known as Germander sage, this beautiful aromatic plant is one of the more petite sages that can be grown in containers. While fast growing, it lasts only a few years. Plant in well-drained soil (no fertilizer), and let the soil dry out between waterings, as it is sensitive to overwatering. Tuck this plant into rock gardens or dry borders, preferably close to living spaces. Trim off spent flower stalks to encourage continued blooming. Shear in winter to stimulate new lush growth and good flowering the next season. Butterflies and hummingbirds love this sage.


Bladderpod Shrub Peritoma Arborea

This evergreen relative of edible capers attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, and blooms year-round with occasional water.


Peritoma arborea (Formerly Isomeris arborea)


  • Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 4’-6’ tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Year-round; heaviest bloom Feb – June
  • Native to: California
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 25° F


Bladderpod is a hardy, drought-tolerant, evergreen shrub with lacy gray-green leaves. This relative of capers produces showy, yellow snapdragon-like flowers year-round with only occasional water. Bladderpod derives its name from its seed pods that are shaped like small balloons or inflated “bladders”, which enclose this plant’s pea-like fruit. This under-appreciated native of both high and low deserts of California makes a great border or filler, and is a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. The bright, all-season flowers more than make up for its odd-smelling leaves. Prefers well-draining soil. Avoid overwatering in summer, when it is normally dormant in the wild. Bladderpod is easily grown from seed sown directly in place.


Toyon, Christmas Berry

Heteromeles arbutifolia


  • Plant Form: Evergreen shrub/tree
  • Water Use: Low

    Christmas Berry or Toyon

    Toyon or Christmas Berry – an evergreen beauty with berries for the holidays

  • Mature Size: 8-10’ (to 25’) tall & 8-10’ wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part sun
  • Bloom Time: June – August
  • Native to: Southern California
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 0° F


Toyon, also called Christmas Berry and California Holly, is an evergreen shrub or small tree from California’s chaparral communities. This very adaptable, dense shrub is valued for its holly-like foliage, clusters of white flowers in summer, and showy bright red berries all winter that are popular for Christmas decorations, and relished by birds. Fire resistant if watered every 2 weeks during spring and summer. Toyon can be pruned into a handsome tree, or left in its natural form for a dense evergreen border or privacy screen as a native substitute for oleander.