The Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis) is in bloom amongst the chaparral of the Sierra foothills. Itâ€™s quite common on sunny banks growing along with the Toyon and Ceanothus. In the foothills it will grow into a mound about 5 to 6 feet tall and wide. Along the coast it is often a low 1 foot tall spreading plant. The first picture is of the hills along the road to the nursery and the other pictures are of a Coyote bush growing just outside of our fence along the deer trail.
I have sold a ground cover form of coyote brush calledâ€œTwin Peaks" in the past. It makes a good bank or erosion cover in hot sunny areas. Once established it takes a bare minimum of water during the dry season and in addition is quite deer resistant. The problem is that it is not very ornamental in the nursery can. Itâ€™s one of those plants that gets better once it grows a bit. Most people just pass right over it, which is the difficulty in getting people interested in native plants. Many natives donâ€™t really take on an ornamental look until they have matured a bit. People also tend to over water native plants the first year. Instead of planting in fall and letting Mother Nature water them, most people plant in spring and water the natives just like any other plant, which often rotâ€™s the roots in our hard clay like soil. Still the number one reason native plants donâ€™t sell well is aesthetics. Most people donâ€™t appreciate the subtle beauty of our native plants, or that the beauty is sometimes greatest in winter when people just donâ€™t get out in the yard or nature as much.
I am looking forward to carrying more natives this upcoming year. We will just have to promote them more so people will take notice of them. We like to inter-mix natives amongst other Mediterranean climate plants for what we consider a more ornamental look. Pure native gardens have their beauty, but it is an acquired taste and most folks just want more to choose from. Using other plants from other like climate regions of the world with the natives we can create a garden that is beautiful as well as water conserving and lower in maintenance.