Community favorite: San Miguel Island red buckwheat

11/24/2012 12:00 AM

11/21/2012 8:52 PM

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.

San Miguel Island red buckwheat

Eriogonum grande var. rubescens

Size: Under 2 feet tall

Bloom season: Summer, fall

Exposure: Sun to partial shade

Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower heads in late fall or winter

Water needs: Once established, water deeply twice a month

Snapshot: Butterflies can't resist this California native – and many birds like it, too. An eye-catching perennial from the Channel Islands, this red buckwheat needs little care or water; it can go most of the summer with little irrigation. One of the showiest small buckwheats, it fits nicely into dry perennial beds and butterfly gardens. The big, long-lasting flower heads range from pink to deep red. San Miguel Island buckwheat thrives in salt air and sandy soil, but can tolerate clay and frost, too. It's hardy down to 20 degrees. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden on the UC Davis campus.

Why it's a Favorite: "I like this plant because it's beautiful, bulletproof and very attractive to bees and butterflies!" said arboretum volunteer Lynda Ives.

. For more on the Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars, click on http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu

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