Flannel bush fremontodendron californicumFlannel bush is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to California, Arizona, and Baha Mexico where it may found in canyons and on mountain slopes in chaparral and open pine forests. It is fast growing, open and spreading, and has attractive fissured bark. The round, lobed, leathery leaves are dark green on the up and felted below. The solitary lemon-yellow flowers are 1.5″ across and appear all at once in mid- to late spring, attracting both bees and butterflies. The seed capsules that follow are very hairy and contain numerous seeds. Flannel bush flowers best in lean soil and will produce abundance of leaves instead of flowers if grown in soil that is too rich. It tolerates drought well and does not tolerate over-watering making it a good plant for xeriscapes. Several good cultivars are available varying in size and color of flower, and size of plants.

Type: Evergreen shrub or small tree

Outstanding Features: Flowers; drought tolerance

Form: Open, erect to sprawling

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: Solitary lemon-yellow flowers 1.5″ across in mid-to late spring

Size: 3-12′ H x 4-12′ W

Light: Full sun to part shade

Soil: lean, dry, well-drained; especially likes granitic soils

Care: Cut back in late summer to encourage second bloom

Hardiness: Zones 8-11

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, semi-ripe cuttings in late summer

Outstanding Selections:
‘California Glory’ (3″ wide flowers over long bloom time; to 20′ tall)
‘Dara’s Gold’ (Compact to 3-4′ tall; 2″ wide flowers)
‘Ken Taylor’ (Cascaading. 3′ wide flowers)
‘Pacific Sunset’ (Deep orange-yellow flowers up to 4″ wide; 12-15′ tall)

By Karen