Alphabetical Plant Listing

Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur Buckwheat)

Sulphur-Flower Buckwheat, Sulphur-Flower Wild Buckwheat, Sulphur Buckwheat, Sulphur Flower


A very bright addition to hot, dry gardens, Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur Buckwheat) is an evergreen to semi-evergreen perennial forming a broad mat of woody stems set with small, vertical, spatula-shaped leaves, 1 in. long (2.5 cm), that are green above, white and felted beneath. The foliage warms us to red tones in the fall, extending the season of interest of the plant. Opening from red-tinted buds, brilliant sulphur yellow flowers bloom for months from early summer to fall. They are held in dense, frilly clusters, 4 in. wide (10 cm), atop leafless flowering stalks. They attract a large number of butterflies and bees. The blossoms dry to a pretty red rust color and can be used in dried arrangements. The seeds develop into valuable wildlife food and attract birds. Native to dry rocky soils in rocky forests, foothills, mountain slopes and mountain ridges of southwestern North America, Sulphur Buckwheat is an exceedingly variable species with many different varieties and subspecies. Tough and easy to grow, Sulphur Buckwheat tolerates very dry conditions and is a great choice for desert gardens or water-wise gardens.

  • Grows up to 6-12 in. tall (15-30 cm) and 12-36 in. wide (30-90 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun, in dry to medium, well-drained soils. Needs low amounts of summer irrigation. This plant tolerates drought, poor soils, rocky soils and high heat.
  • Great for banks and slopes, rock gardens, butterfly gardens or as a groundcover.
  • Generally pest and disease free. Keep an eye out for rust and powdery mildew.
  • Propagate by seed as it is very difficult to transplant or divide the long taproots of mature plants. No seed treatment is necessary, but a 3-month stratification may improve germination.
  • Native to southwestern North America from southern British Columbia south to California, and eastward to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and New Mexico.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 8
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Spread 1' – 3' (30cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Showy, Evergreen, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Ground Covers
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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Debbie Ballentine,Plant Right, Flickr

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 8
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Spread 1' – 3' (30cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Showy, Evergreen, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Ground Covers
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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