Fremontodendron 'California Glory'
Common Name: flannel bush
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Malvaceae
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA zones 8-10. This is a vigorous but sometimes short-lived flowering shrub that grows well in Mediterranean-type climates. In winter, it will tolerate temperatures down to 15 degrees F. Best performance occurs in sheltered positions in full sun in a dry summer climate in gravelly, poor-to-average, well-drained soils. Rich soils often produce excess foliage rather than better flowering. Excellent drought tolerance. Poorly-drained soils (such as heavy clays) and excess soil moisture (from rain or supplemental human water applications) often lead to root rot which is typically fatal. Shrubs have shallow, wide-spreading roots. Young plants should be staked to prevent uprooting from strong winds. Grow this shrub against a warm south-facing wall in the northern parts of its growing range. Tolerant of pruning to control size and shape. Propagate by cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fremontodendron, commonly called fremontia or flannel bush, is a genus of two species of evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs or trees from dry slopes in the U.S. and Northern Mexico.

Genus name honors Major-General John Charles Fremont (1813-1890) who made four hazardous journeys exploring the Far West of the United States between 1842 and 1848.

'California Glory' is a fast-growing broadleaf evergreen shrub with an irregular shape that typically grows to 6-10' tall, but less frequently to 20' tall. Regardless of potential height, it can be pruned regularly to 10' tall. It is best noted for producing a spectacular spring to early summer bloom of large open cup-shaped bright yellow flowers (to 3" across), each containing 5 showy petal-like sepals that develop orange/rusty tints with age. Thick, fuzzy-textured, 3- lobed (sometimes 5-lobed), dark green leaves (to 2" long) are densely tomentose beneath (brownish stellate hairs). Leaf surfaces are reminiscent of flannel, hence the common name. Flowers are followed by conical seed capsules which are covered with bristly, rust-colored hairs. Hairs on the foliage and the seed capsules often cause contact dermatitis and ocular irritation in humans. 'California Glory' was introduced by the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in 1962. It is a hybrid cross between F. californicum (native to rocky soils and slopes in sunny mountain areas of California, Baja California and central Arizona) and F. mexicanum (native only to San Diego County and Baja California and is included on the CPC endangered list).

Problems

Root rot or crown rot diseases from too much moisture often result in premature death for this shrub.

Garden Uses

Accent. Backgrounds. Train on south-facing wall.