Which Plants Can I Grow In San Jose?
Right in the heart of Silicon Valley, this welcoming city also boasts a wealth of character from historical sources such as its Spanish Historical Revival structures. A city that showcases not just the pride of its past but the promise of its future, you'll find the famous Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. Aspiring gardeners in the area are no exception to the concept of innovation, as this city's accommodating climate is host to many parks and gardens that are the envy of hundreds with green thumbs! Fruit, veggies, and a wide variety of flowers and greenery all thrive here, so let's take a closer look at what makes San Jose perfect for the aspiring gardener.
Which Plants Grow Well in San Jose?
With one of the best growing seasons around, San Jose gardeners are some of the few who face the challenge of so many choices! A multitude of plants love the weather here. With everything from exotic fruit trees to tropical flowers, all you need to do is a little homework on your area's soil composition and usual weather conditions. If you need some inspiration, take a look at any number of your local parks or gardens. When you're ready, if you still need somewhere to start, take a look at some of these great options:
Peace Lily (Spathiphylum): With their gorgeous, white blooms, Peace Lilies are sure to add beauty and character to your home and garden. What's more, they need only medium light and moderate humidity and water needs, making it a great, low-maintenance option.
Flamingo Flower (Red anthurium): This striking, red flower does excellent in the morning sun and thrives just as well at night as long as things stay above 60⁰F. Bring it inside if temperatures drop below that, and keep it in bright, indirect light for best results!
Kalanchoe: This plant does great in bright, indirect light, and while technically a succulent, it is exceptionally hardy in its own right! Needing no added humidity, they do well outside in the hottest months and only need to be brought inside if temperatures drop below 60⁰F.
If you're looking for more lush greenery instead of flowers, you're still in a perfect place for several tropical plants that are sure to impress! Here are just a few to consider:
Golden Pathos (Epipremnum aureus): This low-maintenance and hardy variegated plant grows best in full sun to partial shade. As long as temperatures stay above 60⁰F, it will bring lush, tropical vibes to your garden. It does best in high humidity environments!
Aralia Fabian Stump (Polyscias scutellaria): The thick, woody stalks of this shrub stand out quite a bit in contrast to its smaller, round leaves with purple bases, bringing lots of character wherever you plant it! If indoors, it's a great low-maintenance option, but it can also grow outside in the morning sun and even at nights so long as things stay above 60⁰F.
While cold-loving veggies might have a more challenging time in the San Jose region, they can still thrive if given the right conditions! For this reason, you may want to consider variations that enjoy the warmer conditions the area provides. Here are some you can try with the year round growing season:
- Miracle Fruit
- Curry Leaf
- Bitter Melon
Best Landscaping Plants in San Jose
With warmer weather abounding in the region, San Jose is a proud host of many tropical plants that flourish in their native climate. Many fruit trees and shrubs will make perfect additions to your garden so long as you make sure they're hardy enough to survive any drought conditions that might arise. Native plants are a great option as well, but if you're looking for some more inspiration, here are a few you can try yourself:
Tuscan Blue Rosemary (Romarinus officinalis): Capable of thriving in full sun and needing low water, this plant does great in the warmer nights. Rosemary also prefers higher humidity levels to truly thrive. Spritz them daily to keep them healthy so that you can harvest these plants for their wonderful aromatic herbs!
Caladium: Doing best as an annual in shaded areas, this large, leafy plant is perfect for landscaping! Plant after the last spring frost in warmer soil for best results. Also, keep it in higher humidity areas with medium water levels to keep it healthy throughout warmer months.
Ficus Benjamina Midnight Braid (Ficus benjamina): Also known as weeping fig, this plant does well outside so long as it's kept out of direct sunlight and given temperatures above 70⁰F. Needing only low water, they do prefer higher humidity for best results. This tree's slender, braided trunk and dark green leaves are striking, great for any space!
Fruit trees are ready to deliver in San Jose! A delicious harvest of tasty treats is just a growing season away for you if you're looking to incorporate them in your garden. Give some of these a look:
- Jackfruit Tree
- Soursop Tree
- Apple Guava
- June Plum
Which Plants Are Native to San Jose?
By using native plants in your garden, you're playing a key and beneficial role in the local ecosystem in several ways. First, a wide variety of birds and pollinating insects all depend on these plants for reliable food sources and habitats. Also, you're helping prevent soil erosion by using plants uniquely suited to preserving the landscape with their adapted roots. What's more, it all serves to maintain the biodiversity of the local and extended region. If you can help any endangered plant variants by planting them, you'll be solidifying a healthy ecosystem for years to come! Be sure to check your area's specific weather and soil conditions before planting to see which plants might work best for you. You're best resource is your local nursery, so if you are looking for suggestions, that is your number one place! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia): Capable of providing excellent shade and greenery, these trees were once abundant in the California area. Help restore them to the habitat by growing a few of your own!
Chaparral Yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei): Another California native, this plant bears beautiful white flowers that bloom at the end of its lifecycle. This plant is also a crucial food source for the yucca moth, one of the only pollinators that can help create new Yucca plants.
Desert Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla): These lovely plants bloom most of the year, if not for its entirety in the right conditions! Almost alien in appearance, its flowers are made of spiky stamens resembling vibrant puffs!
Other Plants That Grow Best in San Jose
Elephant Ear (Alocasia Regal Shield): With thick and durable green leaves bearing purple-tinged undersides, this plant is also known as Regal Shields. Elephant Ears can grow up to nine feet tall and four feet wide in the right conditions! With light green veins on its upper surface and purple-yellow-green on its lower surface, it's sure to add a beautiful and unique character to your garden.
Umbrella Tree (Schefflera Gold Capella): A rapidly growing houseplant, this one can be kept short and bushy or allowed to grow up and up and up! It's a great way to add vertical variety to your home with jungle vibes. Umbrella Trees are also relatively low-maintenance. Perfect for first-time gardeners, give it bright, indirect light and occasional waterings to keep it happy!
Medusa China Doll/Serpent Tree (Radermachera sinica): Classy, bushy, and beautiful, this fast-growing, albeit small tree comes with a vividly lush canopy. It does need a bit more attention to truly thrive, requiring regular waterings and indirect light. However, with its split, delicate leaves and glossy foliage, it's sure to stand out in your home!
Garden Tips For San Jose
Your main concern for growing in San Jose is the heat, however, that shouldn't scare you in the slightest! While drought and extreme heat conditions can occur, San Jose also comes with the longest growing season anywhere in the country! Be sure to consult your local Farmer's Almanac or similar resource to stay up to date on your area's specific conditions and reinforce your growing plans. Mulching will help keep the soil cool and minimize water evaporation, and drip irrigation and shade cloth are great for keeping plants safe and healthy. Perform regular soil tests to ensure your conditions are right, and add fertilizer or compost as needed to renew soil conditions.
When Should I Plant My Garden in San Jose?
If you're growing in San Jose, you'll be able to reap the benefits of "second summer." This term means that you can grow plants year round here! Many fall crops that are commonly found in other zones will grow with ease during the winter season of this region. If you start summer crops indoors in January or February, replant when the weather is warmer. You can start a whole second round of seeds. You can't go wrong with two full summer harvests!
Planting in Zone 9b & 10a
Landing in Zones 9 and 10 of the USDA Plant Hardiness scale, these segments are split into two subzones, such as 10a and 10b. Both are differentiated by their average winter temperature range. 9b has a range of 25⁰F to 30⁰F, and 10a has a range of 30⁰F to 25⁰F. Because of these warm, amiable temperatures, you'll see an abundance of tropical plants thriving here! And because winters here typically don't freeze, you'll see a much wider variety of plants surviving in this area as well. Just be sure to be mindful of hotter, dryer conditions, and you'll be on your way to success this growing season!