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Zones 4-24
Full Sun
Minimal Water

Fremontodendron mexicanum

Southern Flannel Bush
Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees, Flowers


Most are native to California. Fast-­growing plants with a typically irregular shape, reaching 20 ft. tall and 12 ft. wide except as noted. Leathery leaves are dark green above, felted beneath. Very showy, typically saucer-shaped ­yellow blossoms in spring. Flowers are followed by persistent conical seed capsules covered with bristly, rust-colored hairs; some people consider them unsightly, and they can irritate skin.

Plants are completely drought tolerant and will accept occasional moisture during their normally dry period in summer only if drainage is excellent (hillside planting is recommended). Roots are ­shallow, so stake plants while young to prevent them from being blown over in windy areas. Pinch young growth to encourage branching; prune off overly long shoots. Remove lower branches to shape into small trees. Locate in front of a sunny wall in marginal climates. ­Plants are usually short lived.

Fremontodendron mexicanum

Endangered species from Southern California and northern Mexico. Brilliantdisplay of orange-tintedyellow blossoms to 2 1/2 in.across. Blooms less profuselythan F. californicum, but flowersappear over a longer period—from late spring well into fall. Leaves reach 3 in. long and have three to five distinct lobes.

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