Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Rhamnus californica

Common Name
Ca. Coffee Berry
CA Native
California Native
Plant Type
Shrub
Size
3' - 15' x 6' - 8'
Flower Color
Greenish-Yellow
Bloom Time
  • Spring
Leaves
Green
Evergreen
Evergreen
Deer Resistant
Occasionally Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects
  • Bees
  • Bird Habitat
Growth Rate
Moderate
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Attractive Berries
  • Low Maintenance
Water Use
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Low
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
Exposure
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Not Particular
Drainage
Well Drained
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

R. californica is a dense, evergreen, mounding shrub that looks good all year round. It develops red berries in summer which turn black in fall. This is a good plant for hedges, habitat gardensand erosion control.

Plant slightly above soil grade in unimproved soil with good drainage.  Do not add amendments or fertilizers. Mulch in a 2- 3 foot diameter circle around shrub. Plant in the fall to take advantage of winter rains. In coastal Marin plant in full sun, in hotter areas plant it where it will get afternoon shade to avoid sunburn. Prune to control size and shape. Drought toerant but appreciates occasional deep summer watering. This extra water will however, make it grow faster.

This shrub attracts native beneficial insects, bees and birds.

This shrub is free of serious pests and diseases.

Master Gardener Comments
Varietals

R. californica ' Eva Case' - 3' - 8' x 5', denser and more compact shrub with large berries

R. californica 'Seaview Improved'  - groundcover

Top of page

Webmaster Email: banielsen@ucanr.edu