Autumn Amber Sumac (Rhus trilobata ‘Autumn Amber’)

Autumn Amber Sumac

  • Fast Growing and Easy Care
  • Great for Naturalizing
  • Excellent Plant For Covering Large, Dry Areas
  • Xeriscape Groundcover Plant Tolerates Hot Dry Areas
  • Softens Walls and Other Landscape Challenges
  • Lovely Tri-Lobed Leaves
  • Glossy Green Foliage All Season Long
  • Amber Fall Color
  • Grow Well to 7500 Feet Elevation
  • Deer Tend To Leave This Plant Alone
  • Western Version of Popular Gro-Lo Sumac

We all have those ugly trouble spots in our landscape. Perhaps you have a few wide, bare spots that offer little visual relief. Or mulched areas that require constant upkeep after fall winds and spring rains destroy them. A Hell strip between the road and the sidewalk where nothing grows! Even a Plain Jane retaining wall can be an eyesore for a dedicated gardener.

Try Autumn Amber Sumac (Rhus trilobata ‘Autumn Amber’) as a beautiful answer that grows very well in hot, dry areas of the Western United States. You’ll appreciate its rugged nature and handsome foliage. Let it cover ground for you to easily improve the look of your landscape.

Related to a native North American shrub discovered in New Mexico, its graceful ground-hugging form fills in thickly. No need for mulch!

This very unique, groundcover woody shrub grows quite flat and low to the ground. The stems grow away from the center of the plant and can be easily directed just where you want them to cover. They don’t root in and can be moved and easily pruned.

Autumn Amber is a dependable, fast-growing selection that will establish deep and strong roots in a single season. Once they are established, they cover a sizable space in a flash.

If crushed, the foliage is very fragrant. Enjoy the pretty, deep green foliage all summer. For fall, the color deepens into a rich range of hues from deep amber to bright yellows and oranges from year to year.

Once established, the plant can tolerate drought very well. This is an excellent choice for your xeriscape planting. Autumn Amber Sumac really loves the heat!

How to Use Autumn Amber Sumac in the Landscape

Autumn Amber will soften any harsh hardscapes like terraced walls, rock features and patio corners in a jiffy. It will instantly naturalize your garden with its rambling nature. Or, try planting it at the top of a wall and allow it to grow over the side. It will look like a lovely green waterfall.

Autumn Amber Sumac is an elegant groundcover for dry, open areas or rock gardens. Use it to cover stone and rock mulch.

Use these plants in a modern foundation planting, or in planned garden beds. Give them the space they need to achieve their full spread for best results, although it’s easy enough to prune them to control their size.

To create a mass planting, use a zig-zagging staggered planting pattern and space plants two feet apart on center. You’ll measure from the center of one plant to the center of the next.

Keep new mass plantings watered and weeded until the plants grow together. Consider applying mulch between new plants to suppress weeds and make it easy for yourself.

Tips for Care

Autumn Amber Sumac requires well-drained soils and will thrive in full sun. Make sure they receive at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day.

Give young plants a moderate amount of water on a regular basis to establish them in your soil. After the first season, you will not need to provide supplemental moisture. What a boon for low water gardens!

Pruning is very simple because the outwardly radiating stems do not adhere to anything. They simply lay on the ground. If any of the stems outgrow their allotted space, give them a haircut in early spring just before they start to grow.

Simply pick up the stems and cut them back to the size you like using hand shears. That’s it. You can prune any stray stems any time during the growing season if needed.

It’s also very easy to clean them up after the leaves fall in autumn. Just use a leaf blower or rake. No real care is needed beyond that.

Autumn Amber Sumac is a hard-working, very prostate sport of a native Three Leaf Sumac. You may have heard of or seen Gro-Lo Sumac that works so well for Midwestern gardeners. Well, Autumn Amber is for the gardeners in the Rocky Mountains and the Western United States which grows in hot, dry areas to 7500 feet.

Autumn Amber Sumac (Rhus trilobata ‘Autumn Amber’) Details

Common name Autumn Amber Sumac
Botanical name Rhus trilobata 'Autumn Amber'
Hardiness zone 3-7
Growth rate Fast
Height 12 - 18 inches
Width 6 - 8 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Shade
Moisture Low
Soil condition Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Leaf color Deciduous