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Sundrops is a highly ornamental spreading perennial plant that is well suited for springtime color value in mixed perennial borders, on slopes and combined with other low water needy garden plantings. It commonly grows to 12 inches high and spreads 3-4 ft. across and is characterized by fine textured leaves and a dense habit. Colorful lemon yellow flowers cover this plant for 4-6 weeks during the spring for a bright display.

Sundrops is a short-lived flowering accent plant that benefits from pruning in late winter ahead of the spring growth and flowering. It commonly lasts for 3-4 years before needing to be replaced; it's bold color contribution to gardens and more than offsets its short lifespan. It grows best in sunny exposures on well-drained soils; too much moisture during the summer can lead to rotting. Young plants can be damaged by frost, but will regrow quickly in spring.

Water Needs

Sundrops grows well in Inland Empire gardens in areas of full sun and with low amounts of summer water. 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 indicated 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 and you should make irrigation adjustments based on field observations of growth and character. Understory leaf litter should be allowed to dry out in between periodic summer watering to avoid excessive growth and disease problems.

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: Perennial
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading, Dense
Growth Rate: Short-lived, Fast
Height: 12 in.
Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Bright green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, All day sun
Function: Slopes, Rock gardens, Residential spaces, Flowering accent plant, Container plant, Borders, Banks, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces


Trim to edge around borders or if it is growing too far into paths anytime of the year (D). Plants are usually evergreen year-round in our climate, but do look semi-dormant in the coldest part of the year. Branches may die back if there are cold nights with frost, but the plant will re-emerge when the weather warms up. Ideally, cut back plants hard, nearly to the ground, in early spring to stimulate vigorous new growth (10). Larger plantings can be sheared (S). If desired, planted can be lightly "tipped back" (lightly pruned at branch tips) when flowers fade to stimulate new growth and more abundant flowers (10).



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