Answer: Gardening zones are a way to categorize plants into areas where they will perform well. By knowing your zone (USDA zone 10) you can choose plants that will grow well. Zone 10 typically has warm winters so some plants will not be happy in your zone because they need a pronounced winter chill in order to grow well (lilacs, apples and tulips are examples). Other plants will thrive in your area because they can grow almost all year around (roses are an example). So, when you're cruising through the garden center, just check the label on the plant to see if it is recommended for your gardening zone.
Low maintenance plants are usually native plants because they are well adapted to the growing conditions in any particular area. Some that I would recommend include California honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula) which can sprawl on the ground as well as climb up a fence; Salvia apiana compacta (Compact White Sage); Salvia clevelandii (Cleveland sage or Musk Sage) - It has large blue flowers and is very floriferous. It is loved by hummingbirds. Cleveland sage is also very drought tolerant. Or, you could simply plant a row of irises or gladioli and enjoy the spring and summer flowers show and the foliage the rest of the time.
Hope this information is helpful!
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