Flannel Bush

Flannel bush, Fremontodendron, is one of those beautiful mediterranean plants I grew to love in California (though it actually hails from Mexico).  Snuggled next to stucco walls and tucked under a red tile roof, it just glows, demanding attention.  You may plant it as a background plant, but it will assert itself to be the star.

Some crazy (brilliant) person planted one up here in the PNW, and I’ve been stalking it to see if it lived and thrived.  Fremontodendron doesn’t like wet feet, and we pretty much float the grass 7 months of the year here.  But look, here it is, blooming and brilliant.

Fremontodendron, Flannel Bush

You can see that it grows in a gangly, open habit. I’ve seen it hedged into a shape of some sort and can’t recommend that approach. The leaves are very mallow-ish – they feel like suede and in fact the little hairs can be a contact skin irritant. A small price to pay for it’s incredible yellow brilliance.

It’s a favorite of Ceratina, the small blue carpenter bees, and I’d imagine bumblebees and all the other bees of note like it too.

Picture it: Sapphire Blue Oat Grass or blue Senecio planted about its base. Fabulous contrast. Okay, I’ll stop gushing about it now.