Fire-Resistant Plant List for the CSE

Fire Burns Flammable Vegetation in a Los Angeles Wildfire

Landscape sites at the edge of the wildland-urban interface (WUI) require special planting and landscape design to avoid creating a major fire hazard for our clients.

All plants are not created equally. Some plants like pampasgrass and eucalyptus are highly flameable and help fires spread because their burn so readily.

Other plants resist burning or tend to smolder rather than burn with a vengeance.

The following plants are recommended on one a couple of the state’s fire preparedness websites for use in fire-prone areas.

  • Cercis occidentalis – California or Western Redbud
  • Mimulus spp. or Diplacus spp. – Monkeyflower
  • Ceanothus ‘Concha’ – California Lilac
  • Salvia species – Sage
  • Achillea millefolium – Common Yarrow
  • Lavandula dentata – French Lavender (not native)
  • Quercus agrifolia – Coast Live Oak
  • Platanus racemosa – California Sycamore
  • Heteromeles arbutifolia – California Holly, Toyon
  • Epilobium species – California Fuchsia
  • Penstemon palmeri – Beard Tongue
  • Fragaria chiloensis – Wild Strawberry

These plants will eventually burn if the fire conditions are hot and dry enough, but they resist ignition better than many other species. For more information about the plants, use the Sunset Western Garden Book.

John is a landscape architect who is currently preparing to take the California Supplemental Exam to become licensed in California. He is currently a licensed professional landscape architect in Georgia and Florida. John graduated from California State University, Pomona with a BSLA degree in landscape architecture in 1997 and has extensive practice experience in residential and commercial landscape design.

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