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.

Long lived. Does well in various soil types. Tolerates summer dry conditions in its cooler climate zones. Use as a specimen or massed as groundcover. Cultivars include ‘Horse Mountain Green’, ‘Scott Mountain’, and ‘Serpentine Blue’.

A graceful, fountain-like native perennial grass that grows 2’ tall and is evergreen along the coast. It is drought tolerant, accepts various soils, and will tolerate some shade. Plants grow in a loose fountain shape to three feet tall and two feet wide with flower plumes rising above. 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. ‘River House Blues’ cultivar is better suited to southern and central California.

Sun needs:

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Water needs:

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