News & Updates

August 19, 2016

Devil Mt. Nursery’s WUCOLS-based “Drought Devils”

We’ve been working with Devil Mountain Wholesale Nursery for several years now from plant labeling to professional trainings. Rooted in San Ramon in the East Bay region, with an additional 100 acres near Lodi, California, Devil Mountain knows California and what kind of plants work and don’t work. There is a common misconception that the change we’re calling for in California for water-efficient plants means replacing green lawns with prickly cactus. How could our children possibly play on cactus?! Well, good thing water-efficient plants don’t just mean cactus and succulents–there are plenty of other shrubs, trees, perennials, and ground covers that are climate-appropriate. With over 20 acres of plant materials in San Ramon, Devil Mountain has an extensive collection available to landscape professionals, especially our Bay-Friendly Qualified Professionals, and their clients.

Classified as “Low” or “Very Low” water users by WUCOLS, their “Drought Devils” plant collection is especially near and dear to our heart. That being said, a plant that is “Low” in one region of California may have a higher or lower classification in another region, so it is always in your interest to look up a plant’s scientific/botanical name on the WUCOLS database or talk to the sales staff at Devil Mountain who are always knowledgeable and eager to help you pick the right plant material for your project.


The Story Behind “Drought Devils”

Over the past decade the California landscape has undergone some dramatic changes. Homeowners and professionals alike are embracing the need to evolve – from an idealist lush and green landscape reminiscent of English gardens, to a more appropriate plant pallet well suited for California’s Mediterranean-like climate. And even though we are now on the other side of a historic four-year drought, the need to continually conserve our resources is crucial in order to provide for future generations.

Before this most recent drought, Devil Mountain began to lead the way by developing the Drought Devils plant collection. In 2010, several knowledgeable and experienced members of the Devil Mountain team recognized the need for change and anticipated the growing trend and demand for more low-water plant varieties. They worked diligently to compile a list of plants appropriate for the California climate. These are plants that are adapted to Mediterranean-like regions with mild and wet winters, and hot and dry summers. Included are natives from the Mediterranean, California, South Africa, Australia, and limited varieties from parts of Chile, the Southwestern desert, Mexico, and Asia.

Since its creation 6 years ago, the Drought Devils collection has been continually curated and fine-tuned. We have removed certain plants that are considered invasive and others that we have found not to be garden-friendly. We are constantly adding new and exciting water-efficient varieties that are becoming available in the trade.

To further add to the Drought Devils credibility, all plants in this collection are now limited to “Low” and “Very Low” water users according to WUCOLS (Water Use Classification of Landscape Species). Additionally, all plants are approved by Bay-Friendly/ReScape California as they meet their standards for sustainable landscaping.

Today we have over 3,200 different plant varieties in our Drought Devils collection. To view a full list of our Drought Devils, click here. To view a list of our Top 100 best-selling Drought Devils, click here.

Devil Mountain is committed to increasing our inventory of water-efficient and native plant species to address the changing needs for the future of California.


Drought Devils are drought-tolerant once established assuming proper soil structure and standard seasonal precipitation. These plants will need regular water for about two dry seasons in order to develop strong stems and extensive root systems. By the third dry season, these plants should be able to thrive with low amounts of supplemental water, expect for times of extreme hot weather or prolonged drought.


For many Western and Mediterranean natives, the addition of nutrients to the soil through fertilization is not necessary except for extreme cases where the condition of the soil is in great need of repair, i.e. “urban” soil. Many natives are adapted to poorer soil conditions, and the introduction of strong fertilizers can cause adverse effects like salt buildup or fast but short-lived growth. A very mild fertilizer is recommended, like E.B. Stone’s All Purpose Plant Food 5-5-5. A fertilizer with a higher concentration of nutrients is recommended when feeding lawns, flowering perennials, fruits, and vegetables.


Mulching is very important in order to help plants thrive. A layer of loose material spread over the surface of the soil will reduce water loss from the soil, moderate soil temperature, inhibits germination of weeds and makes them easier to pull if they do sprout, and slows runoff and erosion. Organic mulch with partially of fully decomposed plant and animal matter enriches and aerates the soil, and promotes the growth of beneficial soil organisms.

< Back