Red buckwheat

California native plant of the month

Red buckwheat: Eriogonum grande var. rubescens

Hans Christian Andersen, in one of his fables, admonishes the arrogance of the beautiful buckwheat, which, because of vanity, was scorched by lightning when it refused to bow its head to the storm.

The plant’s rich textures, colors and hearty, grain-like seeds are celebrated around the world.

Here in Southern California, we boast our own gorgeous variety: red buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens), a low-growing, dense evergreen perennial native to the Channel Islands.

The plant prefers full sun near the coast but needs a little protection farther inland, where partial shade is best.

Its spectacular red and pink flowers bloom from June through October, and, like all our native buckwheat, it is a butterfly magnet that provides lots of summer color.

Plant it as a groundcover, even on slopes. Once established, it can do with little to no summer watering.

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