A friend of mine gave me a cutting of what I know now is Fremontodendron, Fremontia, or Flannel Bush. I planted it in a corner of my garden against my brown woodland stucco wall, and basically forgotten about it until now. However, this spring-blooming evergreen shrub with its brilliant yellow starfish-shaped flowers, won't allow this plant to be a wallflower anymore.
The Flannel Bush is a native shrub to California and some parts of Arizona, within optimum Zones 4-24. It is a shrub, but can be shaped into a small tree by pruning its lower branches. It is a fast-growing plant, which can reach up to 20' tall and 12' wide. It naturally has an irregular shape, so it benefits by pinching young growth to encourage new branching and shaping by pruning unruly long shoots.
The Flannel Bush likes full sun, and no additional water. It thrives with the average annual rainfall it receives in its native habitat. It is extremely drought tolerant. It has shallow roots, which means young plants may need to be staked. It can be a short lived shrub, and some fellow gardeners consider it a bit finicky to grow. It is a low maintenance shrub.
If you have yellow in your garden color palette, or need a spark of yellow at times in your garden, you might want to plant a Flannel Bush. Plant it, leave it be, and wait for its wonderful spring awakening with its dark green foliage and rich lemon yellow flowers. This is what is blooming in my garden right now.
Please share if you have a Flannel Bush in your garden. Please comment on your experience growing a Flannel Bush.
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Encinitas Garden Festival is Saturday, April 30, 2011. For more detailed information and tickets, please visit Encinitas Garden Festival.