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The California coast sunflower is a medium size evergreen shrub with a mounding habit growing 3-4 ft. tall and 4-5 ft. (occasionally 6') wide. Foliage is comprised of deep green leaves that contrast well with showy lemon-yellow daisy-like flowers with dark centers.

Coastal encelia is a California native plant that occurs on several coastal islands as well as seacoast bluffs and foothills from Santa Barbara County to Baja California. Both its foliage character and its flowering habit make it highly ornamental for use in Inland Empire gardens in combination with other California native shrubs and perennials. It is well adapted to slopes and banks, in containers and in wildlife plantings. One cultivar, E. c. El Dorado, is a robust plant that develops larger flowers, 3-4 in. in dia. with broad overlapping petals.

Water Needs

The California bush sunflower 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 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; more water in the spring will result in a longer flowering season.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  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 to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 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" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
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: Mounding
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.
Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Drought, Coastal salt air, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Slopes, Restoration, Flowering accent plant, Banks, Attracts butterflies


Prune by heading back as much of the new-ish growth as desired in May. In small gardens, spent blooms can be individually removed if desired to extend the bloom period. Remove dead seed heads in the Fall (October), but save deeper pruning for Spring maintenance (1). Consider leaving some of the pruned dry seed heads in the garden for food, nesting material, and habitat for birds and other critters you want around (S). Older plants that look like they need refreshing can be cut back hard into older wood in November (as low as a 4" stubs if desired (7)). Expect new growth to emerge within a few weeks (1). If damaged by frost in the winter, wait a few weeks before pruning damaged areas. You will want to be sure of the extent of the damage first, and the damaged parts can help protect healthy tissue if the cold spell lasts over a few nights (1).



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