Brenda Gousha's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Shrubs for Southern California.
Camellia - Camellia japonica
Although common, this plant is a real workhorse for shade areas. Leathery green leaves, pretty flowers in season, not too many pest or disease problems. The perfect shade background plant. Great in masses. I really like big, old camellias. Works in pots too.
Clivia - Clivia minita
Wonderful when planted in masses. I love all the new named varieties with the fabulous colors. The most reliable shade plant
Winter Daphne - Daphne odora 'Aureo-marginata'
Great variegated leathery leaves, nice shape. This little shrub works in a pot or in the ground. It blooms in the winter, usually January. One of the best fragrances. Needs some protection from the hottest part of the day, here in Escondido. Can be fussy about drainage.
Carolina Laurel Cherry - Prunus caroliniana
I like to create hedged rooms and this plant is the best for hedging. Fast, easy, well behaved. It is a bit more refined than privet and has fewer health problems than eugenia. It looks sharp when sheared.
Eden Climbing Rose - Rosa hybrid 'Eden' climbing
A pink and white flower that is heavy with petals. After two or so years in the ground, the flowers are so numerous that the actual plant can't be seen. Quite a stunner on a fence or arch or pergola. Flowers work in arrangements too.
Star Jasmine - Trachelospermum jasminoides
Another common plant that works well as a climber or a ground cover. Smells great in the late spring. We like to use it to hide unattractive fences. No diseases or pests to speak of.