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Sunset manzanita is a medium to large evergreen shrub that grows with a mounding habit, 8-10 ft. tall and as wide. Deep green leaves grow to 1 1/2 in. long, have a broad base and pointed apex. Clusters of colorful light white-pink flowers can cover the plant in late winter. Shredding and peeling bark develops on larger stems and branches and easily distinguishes this cultivar from other manzanitas, particularly when older plants are pruned to reveal their branching structure.

Sunset manzanita was introduced into nurseries and gardens in commemoration of Sunset Magazines 75th anniversary. Over the years it has proven to be a handsome plant that is relatively easy to grow in the Inland Empire. For many years it grows as an attractive foliage plant with reddish new growth and a neat mounding shape. It becomes more of a special interest and feature plant when pruning reveals lower branching and distinctive bark character.

Sunset manzanita is a good shrub for use in background areas, on slopes and for screening in combination with other native plants. It is adapted to full sun or light shade, well-drained soils and with low amounts of summer moisture. Over time it has the potential to become a small specimen with unique branching and bark character.

Water Needs

The Sunset manzanita grow best on well drained soils with normal winter rains and low amounts of supplemental water during summer. Young plants will grow faster with moderate amounts of water during dry winter spells; established plants grow well with periodic deep irrigation in the summer. Manzanitas are vulnerable to disease problems when summer irrigation produces moist soil and leaf litter conditions that enable active fungi and bacteria growth.

The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months marked by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; it is desirable to have leaf litter and the top layer of soil beneath the plant canopy to dry out between irrigation applications.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Spreading, Mounding
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 5 ft. - 7 ft.
Width: 5 ft. - 7 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Medium green, Dull green
Flower Color: Pink, White
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay, Acidic soil
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Aridity, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Slopes, Hummingbird plant, California native


In general Manzanitas do not need much pruning. Carefully select the right species or cultivar for a fully mature size that fits your space well. Carefully thin or "skirt up" manzanitas to expose beautiful branches in November, after risk of sunburn from long summer days has passed (1). 'Sunset' can be sheared as a small hedge or older specimens may be pruned up to expose attractive lower branches (6). Manzanitas occasionally get bright red growths on the edges of leaves. This is manzanita leaf gall aphid, a small insect that causes the plant to create this reaction. It is generally not threatening in healthy plants, but can spread. Growth affected by leaf gall aphid may be pruned out after winter-spring flowering (4).



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