Gardening Tips in San Francisco

Gardening and landscaping services in San Mateo CA

fog during sunrise in the Bay Area

If you live in San Francisco or the surrounding area, you know how beautiful it is each day. Even when the fog rolls in, the beauty of the Bay Area is still unsurpassed. Because of this, you probably want to spend some time gardening.

However, for those who live in a small apartment or perhaps have a home with a yard, there may be concerns about which plants will grow successfully. Yet if you are willing to do your homework, most San Francisco gardening experts agree you can have a garden that will be the envy of everyone you meet.

Know Your Zone

Across the United States, areas are divided into plant or climate zones. Based on average high and low temperatures over a 30-year period in specific regions, these zones will let you know if a plant can be successfully grown in your neck of the woods.

When it comes to San Francisco plants, the Bay Area is in zone 17. This means zone 17 plants will be growing in a “heat-starved climate,” which is another way of saying the fog in the Bay Area tends to block much of the area’s light and sunshine. Yet while this makes gardening here sound like a lost cause, the good news is this San Francisco hardiness zone can grow a wide variety of plants quite well.

Manage Your Microclimate

To put your green thumb on full display and be a successful gardener in the Bay Area, you’ll need to learn how to best manage your microclimate. A term coined to reflect the unique plant-growing atmosphere created by the area’s fog, most local gardening experts agree that once a grower understands microclimates, they can grow literally almost anything.

yard in front of a san francisco house

For example, if you live in the heart of the city where fog is a constant companion, you’ll be able to grow citrus trees with lemons and oranges, as well as various kinds of greens such as kale, spinach, and lettuce. And yes, if you love tomatoes, these too can grow well in a Bay Area microclimate. However, instead of opting for large varieties, smaller ones such as cherry tomatoes work best.

San Francisco Plants to Avoid the Wind

garden packed with plants in san francisco

Even if you live in a part of the Bay Area where wind is constantly blowing, don’t worry. Once you know which plants will work best for you, your garden will not find itself gone with the wind. As an example, if you live outside the city on a hillside with little shelter from the wind, grasses such as lavender, yarrow, and sage work best. Not only do they look pretty and smell great, but they are also used in many recipes. Or if you prefer, plant some ferns in a shady patch of your yard. Since they are virtually wind-resistant, they will add a touch of elegance to any yard.

Another option is to find indoor plants to avoid the wind. For best tips and practices for gardening, visit your local gardener at

By keeping these tips in mind and not being afraid to try something new now and then, you too can become an expert Bay Area gardener.