Our May Plant of the Month, Fremontodendron 'California Glory' is a large evergreen shrub reaching 20 feet tall and wide at maturity. The dark-green to grey-green leaves are deeply lobed and covered with velvety brown hairs. In spring through summer, this plant puts on quite a show with tons of 3-4 inch lemon-yellow flowers often rimmed in a reddish-orange.
This Flannel Bush is a hybrid between Fremontodendron californicum and F. mexicanum, and has more garden tolerance than some other varieties. It was introduced by the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in 1962, and in 1965 received the Award of Garden Merit from the California Horticultural Society, followed by a First Class Certificate from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1967.
California Glory Flannel Bush grows best in a location with full sun and well-drained sandy soils. Fremontias are drought-tolerant and require no supplemental summer irrigation once they are established (after one to two years). In hotter areas, it is okay to give a little extra water to your Flannel Bush in spring and fall, but watering in summer will actually kill it! Fremontias are hardy to about 15 degrees F. This California native is well-suited for a variety of plant communities including Chaparral, Coastal Scrub, Joshua Tree Woodland and Yellow Pine Forest.
Be cautious of the stellate hairs covering the foliage which can cause skin irritation when working with or around this plant.
Fremontodendron 'California Glory' is in currently in bloom at your local nursery, make a visit and find one for your garden today! Or try Fremontodendron 'Ken Taylor' for smaller sites. Happy Gardening!