St. Catherine's lace is a species of wild buckwheat endemic to the Channel Islands of California. It is variable in size, from a thin half a meter in height and width to a sprawling or rounded bush over three meters high and wide. The leathery, woolly, oval-shaped leaves are clustered sparsely along the mostly naked branches. The plant flowers densely in carpets of clustered tiny flowers, each hairy pinkish white flower only a few millimeters across. One variety of this geographically limited plant, the Santa Barbara Island buckwheat, is particularly rare.

In the mainland CA garden, planting in fast-draining, preferably rocky, soil and watering regularly until the plant is established gives St. Catherine's lace a good start. It grows quickly and adapts to inland temperatures higher than it's endemic range. It is clay tolerant when drainage is fast. The estimated mainland cold hardiness is between 15 to 25 degrees F. Young flower heads are white and lacy, gradually turning to warm, reddish brown over the summer. Once flowers are dead-headed, the plant may look a bit sparse until warmer temperatures push out new white to soft gray-green leaves in abundance. The UC Davis Arboretum named this wildlife-friendly plant one of its "All-Stars", surely supporting its wide use in California landscapes.
Plant Description

Plant Type


1.6 - 5 ft tall
4 - 10 ft wide


Mounding, Rounded


Growth Rate


Evergreen, Winter Semi-Deciduous


Flower Color
Cream, Pink, White


Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall



California’s varied climate can support a wide variety of plants from around the world. However, our state’s unique and beautiful native plants are often overlooked in garden design. Instead, water-intensive exotic plants that do not support the local ecology often taken the place of California native plants in people’s gardens.

You can enjoy many benefits while bringing in the beauty of California into your own garden by using water-wise native plants. Some of these benefits include:

Water Savings: A sustainably designed, drought-tolerant native garden can use 85 percent less water per year than a traditional landscape with turf and high-water use plants. Also, once native plants are planted, a well-designed drip irrigation system is more efficient than traditional sprayhead irrigation and saves watering costs. Once established, many California native plants need little additional watering beyond normal rainfall.

Maintenance Reduction: A water-wise California native garden can reduce maintenance dramatically once it is established. Eliminating the need for mowing and fertilizing lawns, applying pesticides and fertilizers, and frequently watering thirsty plants leaves you more time to enjoy your garden and other activities.

Wildlife and Biodiversity Increases: Adding native plants helps create functioning ecosystems in the garden by attracting the native insects and wildlife that depend upon these plants. Native plants and animals have developed relationships with each other, and research has shown that native wildlife prefers native plants over non-native plants. Native pollinators can improve fruit and vegetable production in your home garden, and beneficial native insects, reptiles, birds, and small mammals can manage pests such as mosquitos, ticks, and aphids.

Landfill Waste Reduction: The reduction in landscape maintenance, such as mowing a lawn, means that less green waste will be produced per year. Because many cities and homes are not set up for composting, most green waste is not composted. Gardening with native plants means less waste going into landfills.

Pesticide Use Reduction: Native plants have not only developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases, they can also attract beneficial insects and animals that attack pests. Reducing or eliminating pesticides keeps toxins out of our waterways and soil, improves environmental and human health, and allows natural and beneficial pest controllers to thrive.

Connection to a California Sense of Place is Enhanced: A garden planted with species unique to California creates a strong sense of place and helps connect you more deeply to the natural world. Including native plants in your garden connects you to the unique biological web created by the environmental history and culture of the land your home sits on. These small patches of habitat become part of a larger collective that nurtures and sustains a living landscape that not only enhances a sense of sanctuary for you, but for the plants, insects, birds, and other animals that have always lived there.


By gardening with native plants, you can enjoy many benefits – including water savings – while giving your home garden an appealing look that reflects California’s unique natural landscapes.


Growing Works is an innovative,  California native and drought tolerant plant nursery established to provide job training, employment, and horticultural therapy to people with mental health challenges.

The nursery helps fulfill an ever-present local need for high quality, drought-tolerant California native and Mediterranean plants and succulents.  Growing Works is based on a thriving and sustainable business model where plant sales, job training services, and donations from supporters contribute to its success.

Curbside Pickup or Local Delivery Only

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