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St. Catherine's lace buckwheat is a large evergreen shrub with a strong branching habit, capable of growing 8-10 ft. tall and as wide. Its distinctive foliage is comprised of fuzzy white to gray-green leaves. Large at umbels of white flowers develop from late spring through summer. Mature flowers turn reddish-brown and are sometimes used in dry arrangements.

Saint Catherines lace is a member of the coastal sage and chaparral plant communities located on Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands. It has shown good adapted to many soils, including clay and calcareous types, and adapts well to all parts of the Inland Empire. It needs good drainage and easily grows with normal winter rains and monthly summer watering. This species can be pruned as it matures to reveal interesting branch character and be grown on banks, in raised planters and as a foliage and flowering character plant in California native garden plantings.

Water Needs

St. Catherine's lace buckwheat is highly 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, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Open, Mounding
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 8 ft. - 10 ft.
Width: 8 ft. - 10 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay, Calcareous soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Coastal salt air, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Flowering accent plant, Banks, Background plant, Attracts butterflies


In its first year of growth, pinch back branches to encourage a bushier form that will both look nice and better structurally support future giant flower clusters (3). To control size, cut back as much of the new-ish growth as desired while not in flower (April-ish). Do not prune in late spring as you will remove forming buds which will form this season's blooms. After flowering, leave spent flowers to dry into red / brown clusters. This is part of the desired look of native buckwheats. The seeds develop into valuable wildlife food and help shade the plant in the summer heat (1). "Deadheading" buckwheats would be tedious and time consuming and would take away much of what there is to love about this plant. Keep things easy and don't worry about it (S). If desired, remove dried seed heads beginning in mid-September and into the fall (1). 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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