Plant Spotlight – California Flannel Bush

Fremontodendron californicum

California Flannel Bush

I get the opportunity to admire a huge, gorgeous CA Flannel Bush at my neighbor’s house as I drive out of my driveway every day.  What a plant!

Fremontodendrons grow anywhere from 8 feet to 18 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide.  This huge, evergreen shrub is found on dry, rocky hillsides and slopes of California mountain ranges from the Cascades to Baja.  We’re on the coast and my neighbors plant is exploding with bright yellow flowers right now, covering the entire shrub.  The flowers are 3 inches across and have long bloom periods, starting in early spring, depending on where you are.

The Flannel Bush likes full sun to part shade and prefers well drained soil and can be planted in nutritionally poor soil.  California Flannel Bush has olive green to gray green, palmately or pinnately lobed leaves that are fuzzy or “flannel – like”, hence the name.  The little hairs on the leaves and the stems can be an irritant so it is advised that you wear gloves if handling this plant and eye protection if pruning.

Fremontodendron is great for use on a slope, acts as a good screen, or a good focal point in a border because of it’s beautiful golden show in the Spring.  Plant with Ceanothus, Manzanita, Salvia, Mimulus, and other California Natives for a garden that requires no irrigation other than winter rains.  Fremontodendron is truly one of California’s gems!