Sun: Part Shade, Full Sun
Moisture: Extremely Low, Very Low
Summer Irrigation: Max 2x / month once established
Ease of Care: Very Easy
Cold Tolerance: Tolerates cold to 25° F
Soil Drainage: Fast, Medium, Slow
Soil Description: Many soil types. Soil PH: 5.0 – 8.0
Common uses: Bank Stabilization, Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens
Companion Plants: Toyon, Scrub Oaks, Chaparral Mallow, Laurel Sumac, California Encelia, California Sagebrush, Yucca spp, various cactus species
Maintenance: Takes pruning very well; may be pruned or sheared as desired at any time of year. May be pruned as a hedge or tree form
Sunset Zones: 8, 9, 14*, 15, 16*, 17*, 19, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*
Site Type: Coastal canyon slopes and flats, foothills
Climate: Annual Precipitation: 3.6″ – 39.3″
Lemonade Berry is a shrub or small tree, with a variable form. They tend to grow upright (10- 30 feet tall) when somewhat inland, and low and sprawling (3-6 feet tall by up to 30 feet wide) when close to the ocean. It is native to Southwestern and Pacific coastal California from Santa Barbara County to western San Diego County, with its range extending to north-central Pacific coastal Baja California and some offshore islands like Cedros. It is a member of the chaparral plant community and is often found in coastal canyons below elevations of 900 meters, where it sometimes blankets entire hillsides. There is a small inland population on Mount Palomar at over 1000 meters. The Lemonade Berry’s leaves are evergreen and leathery, ranging from two to four centimeters wide on reddish twigs; length of leaves is five to seven centimeters. Leaves are toothed or not with a waxy appearance above and a paler tone below. The flowers, which appear from February to May are small. The fruit is red to gray, glandular, and has a tart flavor which gives the plant its name. Lemonade Berry is an important wildlife plant. The berries are a significant food source for birds and small mammals, and the thick sprawling form provides excellent animal shelter.
Lemonade Berry is tough and easy to grow. It is very similar in appearance to Sugar Bush, though with leaves that are can be cupped and are rectangular and leathery. This plant is extremely drought tolerant and once established, will stay green and healthy looking year round without any supplementary summer water. It is a great plant for bank stabilization, and is fire retardant.
Lemonade Berry is very closely related to Sugar Bush. Sugar Bush is the predominant species inland and Lemonade Berry more common along the coast. A good rule of thumb for landscaping applications is within 5-10 miles of the coast, Lemonade Berry is a better choice. More inland, Sugar Bush does better.
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Pick -up of purchased plants will be Saturday, July 25, from 9-11 am at the CNPS pick-up location off of Broad St in San Luis Obispo. (Note: there is no actual address for this location. It is at the East end of Francis Street in San Luis Obispo, behind Rizzoli’s Auto Repair. Please park on Francis St. while picking up plants.) A sign will be posted on the street. GPS coordinates for Pick-up location: Lat: 35.266967 degrees, Long: -120.651302 degrees. Please only place your order if you are able to pick up your plants on July 25 between 9 and 11 am. There are no options for other pickup times or dates, or shipping of these live plants.