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.
Size: 3 to 5 feet tall
Bloom season: Summer
Pruning needs: Cut to ground every three years to renew.
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.
Snapshot: Want the look of turf with less work? This grass needs mowing every three years. Tall and elegant, this California native moves with the breeze, swaying gently on a warm summer evening. Clumps can form a low, informal screen while adding interesting texture to a drought-tolerant garden. Flower stalks reach 5 feet tall. With almost no care and very little water, it looks great in combinations with other natives or on its own. “This easily is California’s most spectacular native grass,” said former arboretum superintendent Warren Roberts. “It looks like fireworks the way it arcs out and up.” You can see specimens in the Arboretum’s Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants and the Arboretum Terrace Garden on the UC Davis campus.
• For more on the New Front Yard, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.