8 Things to Know about Gardening with Native Plants

Did you know that fall into early winter is the best time to plant California native plants? And in fact, planting with a native plant palette is a great way to bring your landscape into balance with nature – wherever you are.

Native landscaping extends habitat for pollinators. It also works with nature rather than against it in terms of water needs and climate conditions. Our soils have evolved with native plants. A native plant palette is a beautiful way to honor the natural heritage of your local community.

CA Native Plants: Columbine

CA Native Plants: Manzanita












Here we are highlighting a piece by BlueBarrel customer, Melissa Keyser, author of the Sweet Bee Garden Blog. This peace features the most important things to know about planting with California native plants.

Many of these tips will apply to other regions as well, so please dig in with Melissa to read her 8 Things to Know about Gardening with California Native Plants.

Since many native plants can be watered in with gravity fed drip irrigation, and since they are water-use appropriate by definition, native plants are the perfect match for a rainwater-irrigated garden. 

For a past issue about Melissa’s BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment System, click here!

A BlueBarrel System™ for FREE?!

It sounds too good to be true, but it could very well be within reach—a FREE BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment System™, that is!


If you live in a place that has a robust rainwater harvesting rebate program, you may actually get the cost of your BlueBarrel System fully refunded through a local incentive program.

Many municipalities, water districts, and conservation organizations are funded to incentivize home-scale water conservation and stormwater management, including rooftop rainwater collection.

Rainwater harvesting rebates come in a few different shapes and sizes:

  • Money back for each gallon of storage capacity installed (e.g.$1 per gallon for City of San Diego residents and $0.25 per gallon in the City of Santa Rosa, CA)
  • Money back for each rain barrel installed (e.g. $35 per qualifying barrel for SoCal MWD ratepayers)
  • A maximum lump sum to cover project costs (e.g. $500 per household in the American River Basin)

Each rebate program has its own structure and qualifying criteria.

But here’s the deal:

The BlueBarrel System is so cost-effective in terms of price per gallon that with many of these rebate programs, you may get the FULL cost of your system refunded!

Here are just a few examples of places where you can get a full refund on a BlueBarrel System!:

  • If you live in the county of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, or Ventura, you may qualify for $75 per rainbarrel through the SoCal WaterSmart residential rebate program. The rebate maxes out at 4 rain barrels (or so they say), which caps the rebate at $300 per household. When you price out your options at BlueBarrel’s online store, you can see that you could purchase a 7-barrel System for under $300.* What a deal!
  • If you’re lucky enough to live in San Diego, you are actually allowed to double-dip between SoCal WaterSmart and the City of San Diego‘s own $1 per gallon rainwater harvesting rebate, which maxes out at $400 per home. So with $700 to work with, you can now be fully refunded for up to a 20-barrel BlueBarrel System (1100 gallons of storage!)*
  • In northern California, those living in the American River Basin (Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado counties) qualify for $500 per household for water conservation projects. That’s up to a 13-barrel BlueBarrel System fully covered!*

We’ve posted links to each of these programs and more on our Rebates page. If your region isn’t listed, try a Google search, and if you still don’t find anything, it might be time to call your city or water district and encourage them to incentivize the collection of rain as an important water conservation and stormwater management technique!

*Pricing estimates based on BlueBarrel RainKit pre-tax pricing, including barrels, at the date of this post. Pricing is subject to change. BlueBarrel does not administer any of the rebate programs listed above. Contact each rebate agency to learn of current incentives and criteria.