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Rhus ovata (Sugar Sumac)

Sugar Sumac, Sugarbush, Sugar Bush

Rhus ovata, Sugar Sumac, Sugarbush, Sugar Bush
Rhus ovata, Sugar Sumac, Sugarbush, Sugar Bush

Beautiful year round, Rhus ovata (Sugar Sumac) is a rounded, evergreen shrub or small tree with stout reddish twigs clothed with large, ovate, lustrous dark green leaves, 3 in. long (7 cm), slightly folded at the midrib. The foliage alone makes it worth planting. In spring, dense white to rose-pink flower clusters appear at the branch tips on female plants. They are followed by conspicuous wine-red fruits that are attractive to birds as well as large and small mammals. Tough, easy to grow, disease resistant, very fast-growing once established, and incredibly low maintenance, Sugar Sumac is great to control erosion and slope stabilization. It also makes a handsome hedge or specimen shrub or small tree in the garden.

  • Typically grows up to 4-10 ft. tall and wide (120-300 cm), but can be shorter or taller, upright or spreading.
  • Full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in a variety of soils as long as they enjoy good drainage. Extremely drought tolerant. Tolerates summer water up to once per month, but should not need any once established.
  • Perfect for banks and slopes (erosion control) or hedges.
  • Keep an eye out for oak root fungus. Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by treated seed or root cuttings.
  • Native to southern California, Arizona and Baja California.

Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 11
Climate Zones 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Anacardiaceae
Genus Rhus
Common names Sugarbush, Sumac
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 4' - 10'
(120cm - 3m)
Spread 4' - 10'
(120cm - 3m)
Spacing 96" - 120"
(240cm - 3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants California, United States, Southwest, Arizona
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)
Rhus copallinum (Winged Sumac)
Rhus aromatica (Fragrant Sumac)
Searsia lancea (African Sumac)
Rhus trilobata (Skunkbush Sumac)
Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac)

Recommended Companion Plants

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon)
Encelia californica (California Brittlebush)
Sisyrinchium bellum (Blue-Eyed Grass)
Ceanothus (California Lilac)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Small Trees and Shrubs That Attract Birds
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.
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Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 11
Climate Zones 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Anacardiaceae
Genus Rhus
Common names Sugarbush, Sumac
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 4' - 10'
(120cm - 3m)
Spread 4' - 10'
(120cm - 3m)
Spacing 96" - 120"
(240cm - 3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants California, United States, Southwest, Arizona
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Rhus (Sumac)
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Rhus (Sumac)
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