Plant Encyclopedia


Chrysothamnus nauseosus

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Rabbitbrush, with stunning yellow flowers

Discover More Information On Rabbitbrush

For those with a xeriscape landscape, you can add a pop of color with the durable Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus). This perennial shrub bursts with color in the late summer with a beautiful display of yellow flowers. When the shrub is in full bloom, it is a favorite stop for those visiting butterflies. If you want a unique bush for your desert garden, make sure to add the Rabbitbrush to your outdoor spaces.

Plant Attributes

This shrub is native to the western regions of the United States. The Rabbitbrush is a multi-branched deciduous shrub that boasts many bright golden-yellow flowers in the late summer to mid-fall. The shrub’s branches are dense and covered with very narrow leaves. The color of the leaves can range from deep blue-green to silvery-green.

The rounded clusters of blooms form at the branch tips, and seed clusters follow the yellow flowers in the winter. Those light tan seeds add more character to your landscape. The colors and texture of the Rabbitbrush will last throughout the winter, and it is a perfect plant to enjoy in your garden during those barren and cold months.

This species is known for its gorgeous flowers and attractiveness to pollinators. The Rabbitbrush is very popular with those who want to add some unique life to their xeriscape gardens. With its deep root system, this shrub can flourish in drier climates. The abundant blooms, silvery-green foliage, and tolerance to harsh environments make it an excellent plant for any desert landscape.

The Rabbitbrush has a noticeable scent, especially after a storm or when the leaves are pressed. For that reason, you might want to plant this shrub away from bedroom windows. With this plant, you will see plenty of wildlife, including butterflies and birds. The butterflies enjoy the nectar of the yellow blooms in the summer. In the winter, the birds feast on the seedheads. You might even see some native birds nesting within the Rabbitbrush’s branches.

Landscape Use

In the wild, the Rabbitbrush grows in semi-desert areas with an altitude of 8,000 feet. These shrubs are hardy, and they can even grow in places that have suffered from fire damage. This shrub grows to about five feet in height and width. In some cases, the Rabbitbrush reaches a height of seven feet. You have to be careful when planting these shrubs as they can quickly overtake an open space.

The Rabbitbrush is a fast-growing shrub. It can reach maturity within two to four years, and it has a lifespan of 20 years. When the bush is two years old, it will begin to produce seeds. Since it grows fast, you might want to keep it away from areas where the seeds will quickly take root.

These Rabbitbrushes make an excellent option for those who want a hedge or privacy screen for their spaces. You can use them as a natural hedge along property lines, driveways, or fences. With its deep root system, the Rabbitbrush is a great shrub to help control erosion in your landscape. However, many people use this shrub to add some extra color to their xeriscape gardens.

Planting & Care

The Rabbitbrush can adapt to many different soils, including sand and clay. This durable shrub thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9, and it can tolerate windy conditions. The young bush will need regular irrigation during the first few years of its life. Once it is established, the Rabbitbrush requires little to no water. For the most part, this shrub is a perfect addition to a drought-friendly landscape.

The Rabbitbrush does prefer full sun, but it can grow in partial shade. They can also do well with the addition of mulch. When the plant gets larger, the Rabbitbrush should have a layer of mulch to a depth of two to three inches.

Additional Information

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The Rabbitbrush is a valuable addition to many gardens. This ornamental plant provides a stunning yellow color in the summer as it brings butterflies and birds to your outdoor spaces. These shrubs will make a great hedge along a driveway or plant them together for a more natural look.

At Arbor Valley Nursery, we can find the right plants, trees, or shrubs for your landscapes, including those xeriscape gardens. If you want to learn more about the Rabbitbrush or any other shrub, make sure to fill out the contact form.

Plant Features

  • Light Requirement: Sun
  • Irrigation Requirement: Very Low
  • Botanical Name: Chrysothamnus nauseosus La Plata
  • Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Light Requirements: Full Sun
  • Flower Color: Yellow, Silver
  • Mature Height: 5-7′ tall
  • Mature Spread: 5-7′ wide
  • Bloom Time: Early to mid-fall
  • Soil Type: Sandy Soil, Clay Soil, Average Soil
  • Soil Moisture: Very Drought Resistant / Very Waterwise, Drought Resistant / Waterwise
  • Amount Of Rain: 10 to 20″, 20 to 30″
  • Advantages: Attract Butterflies, Bee Friendly, Deer Resistant, Native
  • Special Groups: High Country Gardens Exclusive
  • Ideal Region: West, Western Only, Southwest
  • Planting Time: Spring / Summer, Fall
  • Native To: North America

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