Roughbark Manzanita is a little known species of Arctostaphylos from the central California coast that has turned out to be a great garden plant. Nearly round leaves cling to the winding upward pointing stems. In a short amount of time it forms a rounded, spreading shrub to 3′ tall by 5′ wide (5 years). Late winter bring profuse blush pink urn shaped flowers- followed by clusters of large tight blushed red drupes. Full sun and average, well drained soil with good air circulation. No summer water at all when established. This not only gives it the neglect it adores it increases hardiness to cold in winter. Avoid, exposure to subfreezing winds… not a Manzanita for Gresham or Troutdale but in milder parts a great landscape shrub. Group with other drought adapted shrubs. Handsome smaller scale shrub for hot sunny sites. Develops shredded cinnamon red bark with time. Performs very well in containers. Photo credit below: Lance Wright.
Foliage Color: Mid Green
Arctostaphylos standfordiana ‘Sonoma’
Wonderful smaller Manzanita with clusters of vivid pink flowers, grass green foliage, and deep red/mahogany stems and bark. To 5′ x 5′ in several years. In time it makes a mounding form. The large clusters of pink flowers in February and March hang gracefully like clumps of grapes. Easy to grow for a low hedge or focal point. This is a great shrub to begin spring. Full sun and average, un – amended soil with water to establish then absolutely none after that. Great shrub for baking hot locations and even compacted soil. Both the size of the leaves and flowers which are large makes one think that this would be a very large almost arboreal cultivar- but no. Moderately slow growing. Loved by hummingbirds and native bees to which this is a very important plant. The flowers are slightly less hot pink than A. b ‘Louis Edmonds’. A very very pretty shrub. Extraordinarily drought adapted. No summer water.
Arctostaphylos x ‘Sunset’
One of the very best landscape shrubs for western Oregon. Named for the 50th anniversary of Sunset Magazine way back in 1977- its an excellent, garden tolerant Manzanita. Dense growth emerges orange/red before settling to a mature fashionable army green. The stems and leaf margins are outlined in fine white hairs- an elegant detail. In spring sporadic white flowers appear. Rounded dense shrub for full sun and average to poor soils, including the most compacted. This should be a basic landscape shrub in our climate- To 4′ x 6′ it covers the ground well. A perfect candidate for such places as frying hot circular planters in a sea of asphalt. This remarkable shrub will thrive and not flinch without a drop of supplemental irrigation- and it will still always look good. In fact, soil that is too rich or too much additional summer water leads to an initially massive plant that is then not long lived. A little rough living adds years and slows down what has got to be natural hybrid vigor. May be tip pruned to encourage density if required- and may even be sheared quite severely and still maintain its self respect. The shredding cinnamon/brown bark is handsome with time but the foliage mostly obscures it. Excellent cold hardiness. A truly climate adapted shrub. A Xera favorite shrub that we’ve grown for close to 20 years.
Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Sentinel’
Consistently one of the very best performers in Western Oregon. ‘Sentinel’ accepts many soil types and aspects with superior cold hardiness as well as disease resistance. Fast growing rounded shrub to 7′ x 7′ in 4 years. Attractive sage green leaves are held perpendicular to the red stems to avoid moisture loss. The bark exfoliates to a smooth muscular deep mahogany with time. Excellent specimen or even informal hedge row. In late winter pink urn shaped flowers appear in clusters and turn to russet fruits consumed by birds. Little to no supplemental water ever. Easy to grow. Provide good air circulation. A great Manzanita. ‘Sentinel’ can compete with invasive grasses and still grow and perform. Immensely drought adapted. It may be aggressively tip pruned or sheared carefully to produce a smaller, denser plant. First rate landscape evergreen shrub.
Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Harmony’
A handsome, easy, and adaptable Manzanita that is a great plant for beginning gardeners. Sharp tipped bright green rounded leaves clothe stems of smooth mahogany/orange. Fast growing evergreen to 7′ x 7′ in 7 years. Average, unimproved soil that has good drainage. Even adaptable to heavy clay soils if strictly unwatered in summer. Urn shaped pink flowers change to white upon opening and draw hummingbirds. The maroon berries that follow are gobbled by birds and seldom spend much time on the shrub. Full sun to light shade and little to NO summer water. Tip prune after blooming to limit size, encourage density. As with all Manzanita it abhors crowding and should be given excellent air circulation. Dependable, hardy and easy to grow.
Arctostaphylos x densiflora ‘Howard McMinn’
A FANTASTIC Manzanita ‘Howard’ forms an extremely handsome evergreen shrub to 7’ tall and as wide in as many years. Striking mahogany bark is smooth with dark glossy deep green leaves. Profuse clusters of pink urn-shaped flowers appear in late winter and change to white over a period of six weeks. Maroon berries follow in summer. One of the most adaptable to landscapes, tolerates some summer irrigation but absolutely avoid boggy conditions and heat. A fantastic performer in our climate. Excellent as a specimen, basic landscaping shrub, or even informal hedge. Tip prune in summer to limit size and shape if required. Somewhat formal appearance year round. Very nice as an informal hedge and wonderfully adapted to steep slopes. Very good black spot resistance. Verdant and healthy year round. Adaptable to very HIGH overhead shade in woodlands. Avoid rich soils and do not improve. Best in un-amended native soils. Great formal looking shrub for rough conditions. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Exceptionally long lived in our climate.
Cobra lily or Jack in the Pulpit from Japan with exotic striped flowers in mid-spring but the bold and glossy foliage steals the show. Forming large patches in rich, WELL DRAINED soil with regular summer irrigation. Shade- protect the amazing leaves from blasting sun. They will stand prominently up to 2′ tall- triple lobed, glossy and good looking. One of the more reliable of the genus in fact we think this is the best adapted Jack in the Pulpit for our climate. Mix with other bold shade perennials. Mulch with compost annually. Disappears entirely in winter. A Xera favorite perennial.
Common butterfly weed native to the central parts of the continent makes a striking long blooming perennial in our gardens. To 2′ tall flat cymes of brilliant orange flowers appear in July and re-bloom until frost. Emerges late – not until May and then rockets out of the ground and almost immediately commences blooming. Fantastic plant for all pollinators. Remarkably showy perennial for very well drained soil- try a slope and deep but infrequent irrigation or add a few handfuls of pumice to the planting hole. Mine thrives in the heat and rigors of my hellstrip. completely deciduous in winter.- its good to remember where you planted it. Butterflies, Oh the god damned butterflies. Excellent combined with blue and purple flowered perennials such as Verbena rigida with the same cultural requirements and bloom time.
Toothed leaved Azara is a somewhat obscure evergreen tree native to South America. Closely related to the more common Azara microphylla, this species has much larger leaves and MUCH larger gold flowers. The puff ball gold flowers deck all the boughs in an opulent spring display that lasts for weeks. An upright broad spreading evergreen whose crown usually assumes a conical outline. Spreading branches hold the foliage which is very substantial. To 18′ tall and half as wide in 10 years. Best in a protected location, out of east wind, on the edge of a woodland or near a house. The large flowers truly are a spectacle and emit a light sweet fragrance. Full sun to high overstory shade in rich soil with occasional deep soaks in summer. Grows 1′-3′ per year and faster with attention to water. More tender as a youngster gaining full cold hardiness with age. Established trees endure 5ºF by losing many leaves- they can also disappear in particularly enthusiastic bloom seasons but it regains foliage very fast by early spring. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Very elegant tree. Chile/Argentina.
This species is one of the progenitors of modern Tuberous- non-stop Begonias. In of itself a tough perennial that if you are patient will make an appearance year after year. To 2′ tall (slightly taller) angel wing shaped bold green leaves are a wonderful backdrop to the masses of striking orange/red flowers that appear from July to October. Each of five petals recurves as it opens to an elegant effect. Very easy to grow as a container plant. To over winter simply let the plant die back in late autumn and move the container to a sheltered site. Mine goes against the wall of a covered outside patio and in 15 years I’ve never lost a plant. Grows surprisingly well in the ground in well drained rich soil in part shade. Be aware that returning plants emerge late – Often not showing their presence above ground until mid-June. Best with an annual application of organic fertilizer. Regular water, but never permanently boggy. Excellent performance in our climate. The outrageous amount of flowers produced make this plant a regal winner.
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