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

Water Wise Plants

Rhus ovata

rus oh-VAY-tuh
Common Name
Sugar Bush
Plant Type
Mature Size
8 ft. to 12 ft. tall and wide
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun
  • Other birds
Flower Color
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

The California native, Rhus ovata, is an adaptable plant in the garden. This evergreen shrub can be pruned up by removing the bottom branches to create a small tree. It can also be formed into a hedge or left to grow naturally as a large, rounded shrub. Rhus ovata takes sun or partial shade and tolerates occasional water in the summer.

This plant is more of a garden workhouse rather than a star, but a garden full of stars would be overwhelming. These are good background shrubs for places that get no irrigation. The flower bracts, which appears in the fall, are red and show up well against the shiny green leaves. The flowers appear several months later and are small and white.

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