Festuca californica
Photo by Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds

California fescue

This plant grows well in the following regions:

  • CVCentral Valley
  • NCNorth and Central Coast
  • SCSouth Coast
Map of regions (click to enlarge)
map of California regions



Native to the Coast Ranges from Northern California to Oregon. Grows as a loose clump of blue-green or blue-gray leaves 2-3 ft high, 1-2 ft wide. Airy flowers rise 1-3 ft above the foliage in late spring to early summer.

A graceful, fountain-like native perennial grass that grows 2’ tall and is evergreen along the coast. It accepts various soils, and will tolerate some shade. Long lived. Tolerates summer dry conditions in its cooler climate zones. Use as a specimen or massed as groundcover. Often seen cascading down slopes of oak trees, making it a great plant for under oaks where it receives light shade and little summer water. Deer resistant. Great for slope stabilization.

Cultivars include ‘Horse Mountain Green’, 'Phil's Silver', 'River House Blues', ‘Scott Mountain’, and ‘Serpentine Blue’. 'River House Blues' is a selection that seems to be better suited to southern and central California than 'Serpentine Blue' (San Marcos Growers).

Sun needs:

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Water needs:

  • Medium water
  • Low water
Water needs information from WUCOLS unless otherwise noted