Fremontia (flannel bush)
Planting areas: Zones 8 to 10
Size: Up to 20 feet and 20 feet wide
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Bloom season: Late spring to summer
Exposure: Full sun
Pruning needs: Avoid hard pruning.
Water needs: Low water once established.
Snapshot: Fremontia is a fast-growing evergreen shrub with fuzzy leaves, inspiring its nickname, flannel bush. (Warning: The fuzz on its leaves is easily brushed off upon contact and can be a skin and eye irritant.)
Native to the Southwest and Mexico, this shrub is drought-tolerant with a shallow root system.
From spring to summer, fremontia explodes with bright, showy and intense yellow flowers that attracts bees and butterflies. Landscape companion plants that would add to the show-stopper effect include purple-flowered salvia, blue-blossomed ceanothus and manzanita, which has light pink flowers.
Fremontia grows in an unruly shape — so if space is not an issue, allow this plant to do its own thing and your reward will be a massive amount of gorgeous bright yellow flowers.
If space is limited, prune fremontia in late summer or early fall, which will allow for fast healing of pruned surfaces. Be careful to only prune crowded sections, damaged branches or diseased growth. Once established, Fremontia has a low-water requirement, a very attractive trait for a drought-tolerant landscape.
Got a gardening question?
In San Luis Obispo, call 805-781-5939; Arroyo Grande, 805-473-7190, and Templeton, 805-434-4105. Visit us at http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Instagram at slo_mgs and like us on Facebook. Informative garden workshops are held the third Saturday of every month at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. To request a tour of the garden, call 805-781-5939.