Small Space Gardening
California Native Plants & Flowers
Bring Nature Indoors
Houseplants have many benefits beyond their aesthetic value, improving indoor air quality and bringing the serenity of nature into your home. Whether you're a fan of ferns, delicate flowers like the inside-out flower, or fragrant plants like wild ginger, many California native plants look just as great in the house as they do outside. Here are a few to consider adding to your home.
California Maiden-Hair Fern
With its bright green leaves and contrasting black stems, California maiden-hair fern (Adiantum jordanii) will add beauty and elegance to your indoor landscape. This lacy California native fern can survive long hot summers in California's dry hills, where it usually can be found on shady north slopes peeking out from between rocks. Its ability to survive the dry summer makes it a great choice for those of us who tend to accidentally kill houseplants by neglecting to water them. All you need to do is grow maiden-hair fern in indirect natural light and plant it in a fast-draining potting mix for succulents, such as Miracle-Gro® Cactus, Palm and Citrus Soil Potting Mix.
Inside-out flower (Vancouveria hexandra) is a small perennial with lacy delicate leaves and dainty little white flowers that, at a glance, look like they're attached upside down. It grows wild in the moist forests of northern California under maples and fir. In order to grow it successfully indoors, it needs indirect natural light and regular water. Determine when it's time to water by testing the moisture of the soil with your finger. The soil should feel moist at least an inch below the surface. Plant inside-out flower in a moisture-retaining potting mix, such as Miracle-Gro® Moisture Control Potting Mix.
California dogwood (Cornus californica) makes a stunning houseplant. For starters, its large, bright green leaves add color, but its bright red stems are what make it truly unique. It can grow to be quite a large shrub, so if you have the space, you can manicure it into a nice specimen tree. If not, it can easily be kept smaller by growing it in a small pot and watering minimally. This plant does go dormant in the winter, but rest assured it's just as attractive, if not more so, when its bright red stems are free of leaves. Keep this dogwood in a sunny room for best results.
The wild ginger (Asarum caudatum) that can be found growing along the forest floor beneath towering redwoods looks very different from the cultivated ginger used in cooking. It only resembles the latter in smell. Wild ginger has dark green heart-shaped leaves and unique, even strange, flowers that are usually hidden under the leaves. Its ability to grow in very low light levels makes it ideal for the indoors. While easy to cultivate, wild ginger needs regular water and indirect natural light.
Caring For Your California Natives
For more tips on growing California natives indoors, check out our article How to Care For Houseplants, which has advice on watering, light, feeding and more.