Rhus ovata

Sugar Bush
Plant Type




Overall Mature Size


Mature Height & Spread

8-12″ x 8-12″


Full sun


Medium, Low Water

Flower Color


Bloom Time


Special Features

Low Water Use

Container Sizes

#1, #5, #15

Natural Growth Habit


Sunset Garden Zones

9-12, 14-24

Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone


Moderate-growing large evergreen shrub or small tree typically growing to 8-12’ tall and wide, or larger with age. This tough, low-maintenance California native forms an upright-growing, dense, rounded-mound of leathery, glossy, aromatic deep-green leaves accented with clusters of showy pink-tinged white flowers that appear in spring. Flowers are followed by tight clusters of attractive, fuzzy reddish-pink fruit that exhibit a sugary secretion, giving rise to its common name “Sugar Bush”. This species has few known pests or diseases and is well-suited as a background, hedge or screen planting, and is especially useful for planting on slopes or hillsides to help control soil erosion. Older specimens can be pruned into a small tree, where removing the lower-growing branches will reveal its attractive trunk. Drought tolerant once established, this species grows best in well-drained soil and prefers a full sun exposure.

USDA Zone: 7B-11
Sunset Zone: 9-12, 14-24

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