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Inciensio is a fast growing shrub typically developing a mounding form, 3-5 ft. high and as wide with distinctive 3-4 in. long whitish-gray leaves. Intense displays of bright golden-yellow daisy-like owers occur in early spring; a second ower cycle can occur in late fall following the occurrence of rain or summer irrigation.

Incienso is the most widespread species of Encelia throughout the low and high desert regions of California and the southwest. Remarkably, it grows under very harsh climate conditions, tolerating heat, aridity, wind and drought. It has proven to be quite adaptable and easy to grow in Inland Empire gardens and landscapes. Both its foliage color and bright flowering cycle make it well suited as an accent plant in southwestern style gardens. Plant it in full sun, on well drained soils, and avoid overwatering in the summer. It can be clipped in the late fall to maintain desirable size and character.

Water Needs

The desert encelia is well adapted to warm and sunny climate conditions throughout the Inland Empire where it thrives in sun and with normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer water. It is a colorful flowering accent shrubs for courtyard and southwestern plantings in both commercial and residential settings. Monthly deep watering from spring through fall will enhance its spring flowering cycle and help maintain good foliage character. 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 depending upon exposure conditions and size.

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: Mounding
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Spring, Fall
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Slopes, Restoration, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, 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. Expect new growth to emerge within a few weeks (1)



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