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Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’ (photo courtesy of Richard Shiell)
Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’ (photo courtesy of Richard Shiell)

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Zone
Zones 5-11, 14-24
Full Sun
Full
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Baccharis pilularis

Dwarf Coyote Brush
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Evergreen, Ground covers, Shrubs

BACCHARIS

These plants are tough and able to grow in difficult conditions: they withstand heat, wind, and poor soil. Most are densely foliaged. Male and female flowers, borne on separate plants, are inconspicuous. Female plants produce cottony seed clusters that can make a mess when blown about by wind; grow male varieties if they’re available (or hoe out unwanted seedlings if they appear).

Baccharis pilularis

Native to Northern California coast. This shrub has remarkable climate and soil adaptation. Near the coast it thrives with no water at all; inland it looks better with monthly watering. In California’s high desert, the most common form of it is the most dependable of all groundcovers. Everywhere, it’s a very valuable, reliable bank and flatland cover for low-maintenance areas in sun.

Makes a dense, rather billowy, bright evergreen mat; shrub forms are also available. Small (1/2-in.), toothed leaves are closely set on branches. Needs shearing once a year in early spring before new growth starts. Need to cut out old arching branches and thin to rejuvenate. Feed with a nitrogen fertilizer immediately after cutting back. The plants available in most nurseries are produced by cuttings from male plants. Females produce undesirable white cotton.

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