This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum “New Front Yard” series, 41 drought-tolerant and beautiful plants well adapted to our region.
California wild grape
Size: Vine, up to 30 feet
Bloom season: Late spring (not showy).
Pruning needs: None; light pruning annually if desired to contain growth.
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month.
Snapshot: You’ve likely seen this native hanging out along the banks of the Sacramento River. California grape is a large, vigorous, deciduous vine, native to California and southern Oregon. For the New Front Yard, arboretum experts chose “Roger’s Red,” a variety of wild grape “tamed” by horticulturist Roger Raiche and known for its brilliant red fall color. This hardy vine is useful for wildlife gardens because of its sour grape fruit (which birds love) and summer shade on trellises where little irrigation is available. A twisting vine, it needs annual pruning to keep it within bounds. You can see specimens in the arboretum’s Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants as well as several other sites on the UC Davis campus.
• For more on the New Front Yard, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
See photo galleries of the arboretum’s Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at sacbee.com/home_garden.