News & Updates

January 5, 2017

Arctostaphylos – Plant of the Month

Arctostaphylos is a transcontinental genus of drought-tolerant evergreen shrubs, known commonly as Manzanita. At home in California, we are able to enjoy a diversity of native Manzanita species that can be classified as groundcovers, midsize shrubs, and treelike shrubs. At a glance, Manzanita is known for its beautiful bark and intriguing branching patterns. The flowers and fruit are important to native pollinators and wildlife, notably in the winter months while other food sources can be scarce. People eat the tiny, apple-shaped fruit in jams, desserts, beverages, and as a raw snack.

In a garden design, keep in mind that Manzanita is somewhat susceptible to diseases caused by fungi and pests. To promote a healthy planting, first carefully select a site that will prevent problems down the road. Fast-draining soil with an acidic to neutral pH is ideal. Clay, saline, serpentine, and poor soils are tolerable. Avoid areas where root and light competition will put stress on growth. Access to full sun is best, while part shade is okay for certain species. Supplemental water may help young roots to get established, though irrigation in the dry season is not recommended. Plan to prune only in summer while the plant is dormant.

Following is a spotlight on three of the most popular commercial cultivars, each of which serves a different function in the landscape. To learn more about these and other types of Arctostaphylos, visit the Genus Page on Devil Mountain’s Website.

 

Best ground-cover

Arctostaphylos edmundsii ‘Carmel Sur’

arct-carmel-sur

A woody evergreen shrub that works as a neat, fast-growing ground cover. Short, red branchlets grow upright. Small, glossy, deep green leaves are stacked and egg-shaped. New growth is light green. Rarely blooms with drooping, urn-shaped flowers. Native to coastal California.

USDA zones: 8 – 10

Sunset zones: 6 – 9, 14 – 24

Mature size: 4 – 12 inches high and 4 – 6 feet wide

Light needs: full sun, part shade

Water needs: little to moderate water

Soil needs: acidic to neutral

Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

Best mid-size shrub

Arctostaphylos bakeri ‘Louis Edmunds’

arct-louis-edmunds

A woody evergreen shrub with a well-branched, upright, treelike form. Branches are crooked and sculptural. Smooth, purple-brown bark exfoliates once a year. Gray-green leaves are rounded to egg-shaped. Blooms in late winter and early spring. Abundant clusters of rosy-pink, drooping, urn-shaped flowers are beneficial to many hummingbirds and pollinators. The bright red fruit is edible to birds, mammals, and people. Native to California.

USDA zones: 7 – 10

Sunset zones: 4 – 9, 14 – 17

Mature size: 6 – 10 feet high and wide

Light needs: full sun, light shade

Water needs: little to moderate water

Soil needs: acidic to neutral

Learn more

 

Best tree-like shrub

Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’

arct-dr-hurd

A woody evergreen shrub with an open, upright, tree-like form. Branches are crooked and sculptural. Smooth, red-brown bark exfoliates once a year. Large, light green leaves are rounded to egg-shaped. Blooms in late winter and early spring. Clusters of white, drooping, urn-shaped flowers are beneficial to many hummingbirds and pollinators. The red fruit is edible to birds, mammals, and people. Native to California.

USDA zones: 8 – 10

Sunset zones: 4 – 9, 14 – 24

Mature size: 10 – 16 feet high and wide

Light needs: full sun, light shade

Water needs: little to moderate water

Soil notes: acidic to neutral

Learn more


 

ReScape California would like to thank our generous Sponsor, Devil Mountain Nursery, for their input to this blog post.  You can look forward to monthly updates from ReScape CA and Devil Mountain about appropriate plant selection.

Devil Mountain Nursery Logo

To learn more about Arctostaphylos or to purchase plants, visit Devil Mountain’s Website:

www.DevilMountainNursery.com

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