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Life After Lawn: Buckwheat goes neon

San Miguel Island pink buckwheat is a low-growing shrub that can sprawl. It is in bloom from late spring into fall.
San Miguel Island pink buckwheat is a low-growing shrub that can sprawl. It is in bloom from late spring into fall. Special to The Bee

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Life After Lawn” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and ideal for drought-tolerant landscapes.

San Miguel Island pink buckwheat

Eriogonum grande var. rubescens

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

Bloom season: Showy pink flowers from late spring into fall

Exposure: Full sun

Pruning needs: Can be pruned in late winter to keep compact

Water needs: Once established, water every two weeks in summer, once a month at most in winter.

Snapshot: This California native attracts attention – and butterflies – with its vivid pink blooms. This drought-busting buckwheat grows wild on the islands off Santa Barbara. Considered a small woody shrub, it tends to sprawl close to the ground and features spoon-shaped, gray-green leaves with silver edges. During an exceptionally long bloom season, the shrub is covered with beautiful “pom-pom” flowers on 2-foot-tall stalks. A durable plant, it thrives in both sandy and heavy clay soils.

For more on “Life After Lawn:” arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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