Californian bee plants are native to California and can cope with the hot, dry climate as they are drought tolerant. These plants are easy to care for as they don’t require a lot of water and make an excellent addition to your garden. They are the perfect plant for beginner gardeners and for those searching for native species. 

California bee plants grow quickly and thrive in full sun or part shade. They have lovely blue green foliage and produce red flowers in the winter and spring. These plants make the perfect addition to a winter garden in mild climates. Let’s look at how to grow and care for a California bee plant. 

What is a California bee plant? 

California Bee Plant

The California bee plant is a perennial shrub that’s native to western North America and can be found in the wilds of California, Oregon, Washington, part of Nevada, and Mexico. It grows throughout California, including San Diego, Los Angeles County, the Central Valley, the High Desert down into the Mexican states. 

The California bee plant has the scientific name Scrophularia California and is commonly referred to as a California Figwort. The plants are naturally found growing in dry mountains, valley grasslands, and in foothills at elevations of between 200 to 4,000 feet. They are part of the figwort family and prefer to grow in full sun with a tolerance for a little shade. If you need a plant that thrives in the shade, here’s some California native shade plants.

These plants require little water and can grow in well-draining sandy loams or rocky soils. It is often associated with desert regions in its natural environment, although these plants can adapt to colder weather as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

California bee plants are deer resistant and are often planted to attract wildlife such as bees, butterflies, birds, and hummingbirds. These plants are evergreens that have red flower heads in the winter and spring months. The blooms have a slight fragrance. The plants have bluish-green leaves that are triangle in shape. 

In some areas of California, the bee plant is classified as an invasive weed as it can spread rapidly and take over other plants. The plants grow rapidly and can get quite tall, the average plant being between two and four feet tall at maturity. The Californian bee plant has the capacity to spread quickly and has a width of between 6 and 12 inches. They can also multiply and spread via seed as each plant can produce up to 1000 seeds that can remain viable for several years.

How to care for a California bee plant

California Bee Plant Care

California bee plants are easy to care for as they are drought tolerant and require little water. They are relatively hardy and will grow in various soil types, and can also cope with cold weather. Here are some tips to help you grow a healthy California bee plant that will thrive and produce flowers throughout the winter. 

Watering requirements

The plant is considered drought tolerant but can be watered lightly in the absence of rain if needed. The leaves will curl under when it requires water, but it should perk up within a day or so after rainfall has occurred. If you are growing the plant in containers, use either potting soil or compost to keep the plant healthy.

In order to keep your plant healthy, you must make sure that it does not dry out or is overwatered. In most cases, this plant will do fine with only rainfall as its watering source. Over-watering can promote root rot or stem rot. Once established, the California bee plant only needs to be watered once a month if there hasn’t been any rain. 


You can use some slow-release fertilizer on the top of the soil mix. Using organic fertilizers such as manure will provide your plant with less shock than synthetic fertilizers. As with all plants, it is crucial to not over-fertilize the plant as this will burn roots and kill the plant.

Propagating California Bee Plant

The easiest way to propagate the plant is by taking cuttings. You can do this in early spring or mid-summer using a rooting hormone for best results before planting them in your garden or soil mix. These plants enjoy full sun and fast-draining soil with very little water once established.

If you wish, you can also propagate the plant by seed, but this will take some time to get established. You should sow the seeds in early spring in the full sun and use a good soil mix that has plenty of organic matter. Once the seedlings appear, water them lightly and remove any weeds from around the base of the plants.


California bee plants are fairly versatile when it comes to soil type. They like soil that’s well-draining and can adapt well to most garden soils. Bee plant like to grow in soil that has a pH range of between 5.2 and 8.2. They can even cope with soils that are sandy, rocky, and generally of poor quality.

Harvesting California Bee Plant

The California bee plant is said to have anti-inflammatory properties. The leaves and stems have been used to treat diaper rash. The plant can also be made into soap and shampoo that is said to help relieve skin irritation, acne, and dandruff.

If you have suffered an insect or nettle sting, an insect bite, rashes, or burns, you can crush the leaves of the flower and apply it to the area to relieve and soothe inflammation. 


Although the plant is native to the state of California, it has been introduced in many areas throughout America and Canada. It’s a very easy plant to grow and is perfect for beginners as it requires very little care. 

These plants can be grown in a variety of conditions, from full sun to partial shade and various soil types. They produce beautiful red flowers that attract bees, wasps, butterflies, birds, and hummingbirds. 

The flowers have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to soothe many skin conditions, bites, and dandruff.