High Desert Plant Finder & Guide

shrub

Fragrant Sumac

Rhus aromatica

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Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) at Moana Nursery

Fragrant Sumac fruit

Fragrant Sumac fruit

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) at Moana Nursery

Fragrant Sumac foliage

Fragrant Sumac foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  3 feet

Spread:  6 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  3

Other Names:  Rhus trilobata

Description:

A rugged and durable medium-sized shrub with interesting foliage turning brilliant colors in fall and bright yellow flowers in spring; tends to sucker, forming a dense spreading mass, attractive for a garden background or for naturalizing, good in shade

Ornamental Features

Fragrant Sumac has yellow flowers along the branches from early to mid spring. It has green foliage throughout the season. The serrated compound leaves turn an outstanding orange in the fall. The brick red fruits are held in clusters from late summer to late fall.

Landscape Attributes

Fragrant Sumac is a dense multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and can be pruned at anytime. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

Fragrant Sumac is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Fragrant Sumac will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 6 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 25 years.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Characteristics
Massing  Garden  Groundcover  Naturalizing 
Applications
Flowers  Fruit  Fall Color  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features

Please note: Our Plant Guide is all about plants that will work in the high desert. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a current list of plants in stock on hand at each location or at our farm. We purposely do not sell or ship plants via the internet. Plant questions and availability are best determined in-store.