Encelia californica

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Encelia californica
Encelia californica

Species Name: Encelia californica
Common Name: Coast Sunflower or California bush sunflower

A common local native, Encelia is easy to grow and adaptable to many soil types. Great for habitat gardens, as it attracts many pollinating insects, especially butterflies and native bees. Without any supplemental water, it will go completely dormant in summer, but an occasional watering will keep it greener. Bloom season can be extended as well with frequent deadheading of spent flowers.

Plant Family: Asteraceae
Plant Type: Shrub
Height by Width: 3' H x 5' W
Growth Habit: Many slender branches from base
Deciduous/Evergreen: Semi-deciduous
Growth Rate: Fast
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Soil Preference: Adaptable
Water Requirements: Drought-tolerant to moderate
Cold Hardy to: Frost tender
Flower Season: Spring/Fall
Flower Color: Yellow
Endangered?: Not Listed
Distribution: South Coast, southern Central Coast, western Peninsular Ranges, western Transverse Ranges.
Natural Habitat: Coastal scrub. Elevation: below 1800'.

Songbird iconA.jpg Butterfly iconA.jpg Clay iconA.jpg Fragrant iconA.jpg Slope iconA.jpg

Care and Maintenance
  • Older established plants can be cut back hard in late fall to refresh. Deadhead frequently in spring to extend bloom season. Supplemental water in summer will improve appearance.
  • Introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne.
  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: An attractive plant of spreading habit, 2 to 4 feet in height. Seen on many banks and hillsides especially near the coast, blooming profusely in late winter and spring. Flowers somewhat resemble a single sunflower, bright yellow with dark brown centers. Excellent for cutting. A good subject for planting on dry banks. Under cultivation with water, the plants have a long season of bloom. Gallon, 40c.
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.