Tis’ the season for toyon.

This time of the year is when our native plants come back to life with the recent rains. One that stands out this time of year among the chaparral is Toyon. Heteromeles arbutifolia, also know as California Christmas Berry. Located on the sunny side of hills it is usually growing along with manzanita and ceanothus. It’s quite showy right now. This is the only time people seem to notice it.

As far as landscaping uses it is one of the more asked for native plants, after manzanita and blue flowering ceanothus. You have to locate it where it will receive little or no summer water, though. It’s quite fussy about being over watered! This is why fall is the best time to plant natives here. The rains water the plants during winter and spring when they are actively growing. Then in summer the plants slow growth and you only have to water every so often to keep them looking good.