in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Encelia farinosa: Brittlebush

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Form: Shrub.
Leaf retention: Winter evergreen but drought- and frost-deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 3-5' high and wide.
Flowers: Yellow rays with orange to brown centers on tall stalks above leaves.
Bloom: Mid-fall through winter to mid-spring.
Fruit: Seed within center of dried flower head.
Leaves: Triangular to oval, silvery blue-green, fine hairs.
Stems: No thorns, brittle and easily broken. An aromatic resin exudes from broken stem ends.
Wildlife: Attracts butterflies, especially when nothing else around is blooming. Browsed by deer.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-10 in arid regions.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Monthly. Overwatering causes excessive growth.
Soil: Very well drained, dry, low organic content, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline).
Prune: After flowering, trim tall flower stalks down to leaves. Deadheading spent flowers reduces reseeding. Can be cut to near ground level in mid-spring to avoid shaggy summer appearance.
Litter: Low except for pruning.
Propagation: Seed. Reseeds freely.
Uses: Ornamental, xeric garden. Aromatic resin has been used as chewing gum, a glue, to waterproof containers, and burned as incense. Leaves and stems brewed as tea for arthritis treatment by native Americans.

Not useful forage for cattle. Reseeding allows it to invade large areas.

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Encelia farinosa: Brittlebush - flowers

Encelia farinosa: Brittlebush