Christiane Holmquist's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Container Plants For Southern California.
Lingaro - Elaeagnus philippinensis
This naturally graceful shrub laces out beautifully and can be trained into a small tree to 10-12' whose branches will arch across a path or patio chair to provide welcome shade. Easily under-planted with more heat sensitive perennials. Fairly fast growing shrub that never overwhelms its space;evergreen with the added benefit of pale pink edible berries reminiscent of Red Currant.
Leucadendron - Leucadendron salignum
Upright, narrow evergreen shrub with tiny creamy white flowerhead bracts (on female plants) or red or yellow conelike heads on male plants. Leaves and stems are red-tinged; good under-story plants are brick-red Osteospermum African Daisy and red-leaved Echeveria. Full sun, good drainage, moderate water. Good seaside plants, too.
Oleander - Nerium Oleander
Oleander. The typical "Mediterranean" plant now more frowned upon as "too ordinary". However, it has so many good attributes that it should be preserved for it's willingness to bloom forever even in adverse conditions, such as drought, reflected heat, wet feet/insufficient drainage. And it gives an instant "Mediterranean" character to all plantings. Can be trained into patio tree and provides an easy vertical accent in small spaces.
Mutabilis Rose - Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis'
Cupped single flowers of light yellow changing to coppery pink and then pink/crimson, hanging like brightly colored "butterflies" on the plant. Behaves well in a container but needs occasional pruning to maintain its shape. Fairly drought tolerant, doing well in partial shade.