Source: California Invasive Plant Council

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Don't Plant a Pest

Shrubs of the Southern California region

Invasive plants are listed in red boxes. Alternatives are listed below in green.
Invasive plants that are also a fire hazard are identified by this symbol: 

Invasive! Do Not Plant! Invasive!

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Acacia, golden wattle, green wattle or western coastal wattle
Acacia cyclops, Acacia dealbata, Acacia decurrens, Acacia melanoxylon or Acacia longifolia
Acacias grow along most of the coast and inland in the central portion of the state. They spread by seed, root, suckers, and stump sprouts, forming dense stands. In southern California, coastal wattle (Acacia cyclops) has invaded many natural areas incluing wetlands and dry hillsides.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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Bridal broom, French broom, Portuguese broom, Scotch broom or Spanish broom
Retama monosperma, Genista monspessulana, Cytisus striatus, Cytisus scoparius or Spartium junceum
Brooms have invaded over one million acres in California. The flowers produce thousands of seeds that build up in the soil over time, creating dense thickets that obliterate entire plant and animal communities. Grows quickly, creating a fire hazard in residential landscapes. "Sterile" varieties haven't been independently verified or tested and are not recommended as substitutes.

“Sweet broom” (Cytisus spachiamus or Genista racemosa) is not known to be invasive. However, because we lack information on its potential for invading wildlands, we do not recommend it as a subsitute for other brooms.

Key to plant care
Try these plants instead

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bush marigold
Tagetes lemmonii
full sunpart sunlow water
Perennial shrub that can grow up to 6 feet tall. Evergreen leaves with yellow flowers that bloom in winter and spring

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Bush poppy or Island bush poppy
Dendromecon rigida or D. harfordii
full sunlow waterdrought
A native California shrub that is not yet widely available in nurseries. Evergreen shrub growing up to 6 feet tall or can be maintained at 3 feet. Leaves are blue-gray-green and the bush is covered in beautiful yellow blooms. Very drought tolerant once established. Needs pruning to maintain compact, landscape-friendly form. Deer resistant.

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Cleveland sage
Salvia clevelandii
full sun
A California native with graceful silvery-green leaves, arching branches, and whorls of purple flowers in spring and summer. Grows up to 4 feet tall

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Rhamnus californica
full sunpart sunlow water
Attractive native California shrub, 6 to 8 feet high. Bears black berries and tolerates all soil types. Ideal as a background or screen plant.

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Rhamnus crocea
full sunpart sunlow water
Medium evergreen California native shrub. Grows 4 to 10 feet tall, as wide as it is tall. Tight clusters of small, waxy, pinkish-white flowers give way to beautiful red berries in springtime. Several compact varieties are available.

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Christmas berry, holly berry or toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia
full sunpart sunlow waterdrought
This California native is an evergreen shrub that produces delicate white flowers and large clusters of brilliant red berries that birds love. Can be pruned into a small tree. Deer resistant. Fire resistant.

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strawberry tree
Arbutus unedo
full sunmedium waterlow water
A gorgeous, evergreen tree available in compact, shrub-like varieties that are easy to grow. It produces masses of beautiful white flowers and textured, strawberry-like fruits. Can be managed as either a shrub, with screening ability if left unpruned, or a tree.

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sandankwa viburnum
Viburnum suspensum
full sunpart sunmedium waterlow water
This evergreen shrub produces tight clusters of small, waxy, pinkish-white flowers that give way to bright red berries. Several compact varieties are available. Deer resistant.

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lemonade berry
Rhus integrifolia
full sunpart sunlow water
California native evergreen shrub with white to pink flowers and red berries. Makes a great hedge or screen. Areas with frost may have better luck with its sister plant, sugar bush (Rhus ovata).

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Pacific wax myrtle
Myrica californica
Funding for this project has been provided in full or in part through an Agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) pursuant to the Costa-Machado Water Act of 2000 (Proposition 13) and any amendments thereto for the implementation of California's Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the SWRCB, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.