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The pink-flowering sumac is a medium size evergreen shrub growing with a dense branching habit, 4-8 ft. tall, 5-6 ft. wide. Its broadly elliptic leaves are leathery in texture, pale bluish-green in color, have wavy margins and distinctive veins. Colorful bright rose-pink flowers grow in terminal clusters in late winter to early spring and attract hummingbirds. Large flattened berry-type fruit are produced in summer.

Pink-flowering sumac is native to dry habitat conditions of Baja California and Cedros Island where it grows on bluffs, in canyons and among desert scrub vegetation. Throughout this range it shows good adaptation to heat, sun, aridity and limited summer moisture. Both its size and colorful flowering make it suited to ornamental gardens across the Inland Empire. It is adapted to full sun, good drainage conditions and in combination with other California natives that are sustained with low amounts of summer water.

Water Needs

The pink-flowering sumac grows well with normal winter rains and 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; young plants will grow faster and larger with the higher amounts of supplemental moisture in this range.

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, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 4 ft. - 8 ft.
Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Pink
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Screening, Parks and open space, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Banks, Background plant, Attracts butterflies


Prune by heading back as much of the new-ish growth as desired and shape to encourage long-term nice form and branching pattern in May (1). Feel free to lightly prune outer branches if shaping is needed in early Fall, but try to reserve any more substantial pruning for late spring (1). Light pinching back over time will encourage denser form. It can even be turned into a formal hedge if desired. Pruning can be used to shape into a small tree or dense hedge. If hedging, remember to taper the hedge, narrower at the top, and wider at the base, so it gets good sunlight access to the entire plant (2). Hedged plants can be cut back two or three times per year. Although it is rare, some people have an allergic reaction to the sap, somewhat like a poison oak rash. Sometimes plants grow very slowly or not much after planting, but within a few years begin to grow more rapidly (3)



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