To Our Ojai Community:

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions. Click here for current information and trail notifications »

What Should I Plant?

So many of us have struggled when it comes to plant selection for our yards. Despite having the best intentions, most of us have probably planted a “drought tolerant” plant or a plant advertised as beneficial for pollinators—only to later find out the plant isn’t a native species or could actually be detrimental to the very goals we started with.

For example, for many years, commercial nurseries have sold a variety of tropical milkweed, advertising it as beneficial for monarch butterflies. In reality, tropical milkweed is a non-native species that can turn invasive and actually disrupt the natural feeding cycle and migration routes of monarchs. Monarch butterflies were recently added to the IUCN Red List as an endangered species, and Ventura County passed an ordinance banning the commercial sale of tropical milkweed.

Locally-sourced plants have everything they need to succeed in Ojai. What sets OVLC’s Nursery apart is our commitment to locally-sourced seeds, harvested sustainably and scientifically from OVLC Preserves. Our staff are committed to harvesting seeds and cuttings ethically. Though they may be the same genus and species, plants have specific genetics that have adapted over a millennium to their specific watershed homes and locally sourced seeds ensure the plants we sell at our Native Plant Sales are as robust and adapted as possible to Rewild Ojai.

So, what should you plant? The short answer is native species, ideally from locally-sourced seed. However, every yard is different and it can be difficult to figure out what will thrive. We hope to empower you to make the right decisions.

First, come to our plant sales and we can help you decide! There are also powerful tools below created by Calscape, Bloom California, and Calfora, that can help narrow your list of what native plants are ideal for your yard.


To help you create a basic plan for your yard, CalScape offers a simple Garden Planner tool. With just four quick questions, CalScape will create a California native plant list with several design plans. While the plant list is not hyper local, it’s a great starting point to use as a guide.

Calscape also offers an easy plant search. Simply enter your address and you will receive a list of plants sorted by helpful parameters. You can click on a specific plant to get details on size, shape, water use, blooming period, wildlife it supports and more.

Bloom California

Bloom California also has some great native garden inspiration plans. You can also use their handy Gardener’s Guide as a starting point for your native plant garden.


CalFlora offers a hyper-local guide to what grows where you live called What Grows Here. It is an excellent tool with great photos for garden planning. While the site is not as user friendly as Calscape, it is often more accurate for what grows in our valley.

Enter your address (not just zip code) and hit “search” to generate a list of native plants specific to your yard. The list will include pictures, the blooming period for each plant, and a butterfly icon for those plants most important for pollinators.

Click on the link for each plant and then click the “location suitability” link for more information on the plant’s temperature range, growing season, and soil conditions.

Ventura County Guidance

Ventura County also provides general guidance for landscaping with native plants to promote pollinator habitat.