One of the North Coast’s most important pollinator plants can be easily found thriving along local beaches and bluffs.
Tolerating little water, full sun and brisk wind, coastal buckwheat, Eriogonum latifolium, attracts numerous insects, bees, butterflies, moths and birds. It is quite easy to grow in local gardens.
Each summer, coastal buckwheat puts on a good display of pink pom-pom-like flower clusters on long stems. Gray, woolly foliage forms a low mound and spreads up to three feet wide. Flowering period is from late spring through fall.
Coastal buckwheat is not a long lived perennial, but it reseeds dependably, so you will always have it in your garden. It needs full sun on the coast and requires very little water once established.
Planting in well-drained soil is a must, however. One way to achieve success if your garden soil is on the clayey side, is to mix in plenty of grit or perlite into the planting hole.
In the landscape, coastal buckwheat combines well with other local natives. It makes a great planting companion with ceanothus, twinberry, lupine, silk tassel manzanita and beach aster, to name a few.
If you would like to see coastal buckwheat in action come to the Humboldt Botanical Garden in Eureka. It grows happily in the Lost Coast Brewery Native Plant Garden.
Terry Kramer is the site manager for the Humboldt Botanical Garden and a trained horticulturist and journalist. She has been writing a garden column for the Times-Standard since 1982. Contact her at email@example.com.