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A medium to large evergreen shrub with a mounding habit growing 6-10 ft. tall and as wide. Foliage is comprised of 3-5 in. long oval leaves that are pale blue-green; intense sulphur-yellow flowers are cupped upward, reach 2-3 in. across and are very showy during spring.

Island bush poppy is native to Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands where it grows on exposed slopes, bluffs and canyons within the chaparral plant community. It is a stunning flowering accent plants during its spring flowering cycle, and is otherwise appreciated for its soft pale green foliage color. This can be a temperamental plant to poor drainage and should be planted on slopes or in coarse rocky and sandy soils to insure good drainage. In spite of its sometimes difficult-to-grow concern, this is a stand-out plant when mixed with other California natives.

Water Needs

The island bush poppy is well adapted to sunny garden locations on well drained soils and with low amounts of supplemental water during summer. 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; more water in the spring will result in a longer flowering season.

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
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Dense
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 6 ft. - 10 ft.
Width: 6 ft. - 10 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green, Blue green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Sand, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Function: Specimen, Slopes, Flowering accent plant, California native, Background plant


Grows primarily in the cool season. Normal lighter prunings are not necessary if everything is looking good, but light thining or shaping can be done after blooms finish for the season, to avoid cutting off flowers or flower buds (which would likely happen if done earlier) (5,S). If plants are looking ragged or have poor form, they can be cut back by up to half in the late fall, once weather cools. Pruning toward the beginning of this window will preserve more of the spring / summer blooms the following season, by giving the plant the most growth time to develop new flowering branches after the cut back (18,S).



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