UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Heteromeles arbutifolia

het-er-OH-mi-lees ar-bew-ti-FO-lee-a
Common Name
Plant Type
Mature Size
10-20 ft tall x 10-15 ft wide
Water Requirements
Very Low: water deeply several times a summer
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun
  • Hummingbirds
  • Other birds
Flower Color
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

Toyon is an attractive dark green, large shrub that can develop into a small multi-trunk tree. This plant is native to many chaparral areas of California and easily adapts to garden cultivation.

It is a member of the rose family, producing small white flowers in early spring followed by showy red berries. The berries remain on the shrub for several months while they slowly ripen. Once ripe, they attract many different species of hungry, grateful birds.

Young toyons may take a few years to settle into the garden but once established, they are easy to grow and can be pruned to manage their size or to keep them looking fresh.

PADG notes: The toyon in the Palo Alto Demo Garden Water Wise Garden was planted in the winter of 2008 from a one-gallon container in a spot where it gets afternoon shade. This toyon is still a modest sized shrub many years after planting.

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