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Plant Selection

SF Bay Area microclimates

Understanding your climate zone and microclimate conditions are central to successful gardening. Microclimates in the San Francisco Bay Area range from cool coastal fog belts to hot inland sun belts. Fortunately, we can pinpoint conditions like climate zones (Sunset Western Garden Book), plant hardiness zones (U.S Department of Agriculture), heat zones (American Horticultural Society), rainfall and drought conditions (National Weather Service and California Department of Water Resources) and more.

Additional resources:

Lawn and ground covers

A healthy green lawn has long been a staple of the home landscape. The latest scientific information can help the home gardener grow beautiful grass and turf. And great lawn alternatives are now available to reduce water usage and lessen maintenance.

Before you remove your lawn, check here and here to find out if you qualify for a rebate.

Landscape trees and shrubs

Form and beauty in the garden are achieved with careful selection of the right shrubs and trees for the space. They must be placed correctly, planted properly, and trained to grow into a graceful structure. 

Vegetables and herbs

The first tender carrots and radishes in spring, a perfectly ripe tomato in summer - nothing quite matches the bounty from our own gardens. Our temperate Bay Area climate allows for successful year-round crops. This section explains what you’ll need to know to get started and to become growing experts.

UC Master Gardener Carol O’Donnell charts the best crops for specific conditions in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.

A month-by-month checklist of what to grow and how to grow it

Resources for growing a variety of vegetables in your home garden from UC Vegetable Center.

Houseplants and container gardening

Indoor plants are beautiful additions in any room, and contribute to clean healthy air. The trick is to understand light and water needs, ventilation and optimum growing temperature. Container gardening -- indoors and outdoors, with vegetables and herbs, flowers, or greenery -- can be an endless source of pleasure.

A comprehensive information site for growing indoor plants is The California Garden Web, a free online resource from UCANR (University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources).