california native flora

a drought tolerant patio garden of mostly natives

Island Bush Poppy Journal

Dendromecon Harfordii – Island Bush Poppy

June 27, 2010. - Island Bush Poppy - Dendromecon Harfordii.
Click Image To Enlarge

Island Bush Poppy is a large evergreen shrub native to the California Channel Islands. Thought not as hardy as mainland Bush Poppy (Dendromecon Rigida), this plant has a longer bloom season and is a bit more tolerant of garden conditions. Bright yellow flowers up to 3″ in diameter cover Island Bush Poppy from winter through spring and it continues to bloom for most of the year. The foliage is leathery light green to grey-green. Older leaves will turn pale yellow but it’s ok to remove those by hand since they do tend to hang on past their welcome.

Fast growing to 7′ or more, Dendromecon Harfordii will do very well in the right spot. That right spot requires good drainage, full to part sun and preferably some shade from the hot afternoon sun if you are not near the coast. Occasional water is ok but best not to fertilize. Growing in a pot might be a wee bit tricky since more frequent water will be needed and a little fertilizer maybe once a year.

Like many plants endemic to the channel islands, this is listed as endangered due to its limited distribution. It isn’t just hard to find in the wild, it’s also tough to find in nurseries although I did notice over the last few months the Theodore Payne Foundation had a lot of them listed in their inventory. Maybe they’ve unlocked the secret to successful propagation?

This plant looks spectacular in bloom. In our wildlife garden I didn’t really notice any animals paying particular attention to Island Bush Poppy but it’s sure to turn heads of the human variety.

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Plant Meta Data

Common NameIsland Bush Poppy
Botanic NameDendromecon Harfordii
Bloom PeriodSpringWinter
Bloom Color
Light RequiredSun
Water ToleranceOccassional
Potential Size (H x W)7' x 7'


Click image to enlarge

Dec 12, 2010. - Island Bush Poppy - Dendromecon Harfordii.Sep 25, 2010. - Island Bush Poppy - Dendromecon Harfordii.Aug 1, 2010. - Island Bush Poppy - Dendromecon Harfordii.June 27, 2010. - Island Bush Poppy - Dendromecon Harfordii.