While there is no such thing as a fireproof plant, you can devise a plan to protect your landscape by choosing fire-resistant plants and help reduce the risk.
Fire-resistant plants have little dead wood. Their leaves are moist and pliable, and the branches don’t fuel fire. Plus, these plants provide shelter and food to wildlife, are low-maintenance and require little water.
Five Fire-Resistant Plants
1. Monkey Flower. Endorsed by San Diego County and the Los Angeles and Orange County fire departments, monkey flowers don’t burn in continued flame. Popular for their funny face-flowers that look like grinning monkeys, many varieties are drought-tolerant, deer-resistant and bloom profusely.
2. Oak Trees. Oaks have been found to both suppress the spread of fire and regenerate well after damage occurs. In addition, they create a shady escape from the sun’s rays and are an important resource for wildlife. Oaks can grow 15-40 feet high and 20 feet wide, so allow plenty of room for a mature tree.
3. Snowberry. Vigorous, deep roots make snowberry fire-resistant and perfect for planting on slopes and banks. This quick growing, low-maintenance shrub has an arching, upright manner, produces small pink flowers in summer and feeds birds in winter.
4. Pacific Rhododendron. The leathery, round, dark-green leaves of the pacific rhododendron make it both a popular landscape choice and fire-resistant. It prefers acidic soils, part shade, and is deer-resistant.
5. Agave. Agaves are great fire-smart plants because of their fleshy water-retaining leaves. Their unique shapes make them perfect candidates for contemporary gardens. They grow in most soils as long as they have good drainage.
Avoid plants with needles, sap or papery bark such as upright juniper and dry bark mulch. When planting, leave 100 feet of defensible space around the home.