Arctostaphylos canescens var. sonomensis

Our very, very favorite Manzanita and one of the very rare ones in the wild. Occurs on two ridges in northern California- Horse Mountain was one of them and Greg’s dad just happened to have a cabin there. Not an easy Manzanita to cultivate. Low, dense, spreading, very gray shrub to 3′ x 5′ wide in time. The bark is a great glossy mahogany and the winter/spring flowers are white tinted pink. Russet berries are quickly consumed by wild life.  Spectacular shrub for full sun, average to poor, well-drained soil and absolutely no summer water. Loathes the combination of water and heat. Neglect is its friend and you will reap great rewards with this beautiful shrub by strictly ignoring it once it is established.  Ultra cold hardy- hailing from over 4500′ in elevation  and recommended for cold gardens. This species is native to southern Oregon, and though not technically native to Oregon this is our favorite form of this species. Not the easiest to propagate so quantities are often limited. Absolutely NO summer water. Ever. Forms rounded balls of soft silver. Dynamic on slopes. Easily prone to death from soil pathogens if watered in summer. Absolute neglect.

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Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Parkdale East’

This form of our native Hairy Manzanita was found quite far east of the Cascade crest and offers greater hardiness to cold. Unfortunately, it has the same characteristics of the species- it is unpredictable. To 4′ x 7′ with sage gray leaves and white to pink-tinted flowers in spring. Very well-drained soils in an open position with NO summer water when established. Dramatic smooth mahogany bark is an outstanding feature. This is the variety that is best suited to life in the Columbia River Gorge and possibly eastern Oregon in sheltered sites. It should easily tolerate -15ºF.  Best with total neglect and full sun. Russet berries follow the flowers into summer and autumn- always consumed by wildlife. Very limited quantities.   Oregon native plant.

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Arctostaphylos columbiana ‘Wolf Creek’

Our native Hairy Manzanita is one of the most widespread species in the PNW. Unfortunately, its not the most reliable and can be kind of hard to grow. It will grow happily for years and then suddenly decline. No explanation.This can be avoided by strictly avoiding all irrigation once established.  Large-growing shrub with gray green leaves, the telltale hairy leaf petioles and white flowers in spring. Russet berries follow. Its best attribute is its smooth exfoliating mahogany bark. And in time you can remove the tired lower branches to reveal it as well as improve air circulation.  To 8′ x 8′ very quickly in average, well-drained soil. No summer water and little intervention from the gardener. Wild areas, dry hillsides. This form we selected from the southern Willamette Valley. It occurs in specific sites around the Valley and is common at the coast /coast range as well as the Cascades. During the warm interstadial (8000-4000 yr BP) when our climate was a bit milder but with a much more pronounced summer drought it was much more widespread- once found in the city limits of Portland at two sites those have been usurped by development. Excellent performance in hot dry urban sites. Oregon native plant.

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This handsome low growing and compact manzanita has great performance in our climate. Glossy mid-green foliage clothes a dense growing plant to 2′ x 4′. Admirable low ground cover as a massed subject but individual plants have glossy mahogany trunks that develop character with age. Masses of small white urn shaped flowers appear in late winter to early spring. Healthy looking at all times and not prone to black spot.  Takes reflected heat well and even tolerates a light amount of shade. No water necessary once established, but it will take light water on slopes. Great small scale for small gardens. In time you can lift the plant up by pruning to reveal the small trunks. Long lived. One of the finest smaller varieties. Central CA coast.

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Arctostaphylos hookeri ‘Wayside’

At the North Willamette Experimental Station in Wilsonville  where OSU conducted a trial of scores of Arctostaphylos species and cultivars this special ground cover Manzanita has been consistently one of the best performers. Deep green pointed leaves are held perpendicular to the sun on cinnamon red stems. In time it forms glossy red bark that is very showy. Low and dense growing to 2′ tall and 6′ wide. Excellent bank cover or ground cover in any soil that is not amended or boggy. Profuse white flowers in spring. First rate weed suppressing plant for hellstrips, rock gardens, dry borders. Excellent appearance year round. No summer water. Take advantage of its low dense growth to cover and suppress weeds. Wonderful plant for the baking hot locations.  Very easy to grow.

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Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘St. Helena’

A tree type manzanita that has been a stellar performer in our gardens. Rapid growth to 10′ x 10′ in 8 years. Broad, rounded sage green foliage is held perpendicular to the cinnamon red stems to avoid moisture loss (no flat leaves baking in the sun). In winter to early spring, clusters of white flowers are effective and visited heavily by pollinators. Russet red berries follow but do not last long because of animal predation. Open habit with time that exposes the muscular, smooth mahogany trunks. (Its thought the bark exfoliates to deter moss and lichen growth). This is a very hardy drought adapted west coast native shrub to small tree for average, well drained soils and NO summer irrigation. Full sun and room to spread. Avoid rich, amended soils- leaner conditions produce a much hardier and longer-lived plant.

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Arctostaphylos nummularia ‘Select Form’

Stunning glossy perfectly round leaves line wiry stems on this dense, mounding, very happy low-growing Manzanita. New growth is tinted red and settles to bright green. To 2′ tall and 4′ wide creating a dense weed-suppressing dome of foliage. White flowers in spring. Very garden tolerant for full sun to very light shade. Moderately fast growing. Excellent candidate for hellstrips, hillsides, etc. Great performance at the Oregon Coast. Little to no summer water once established. Very very good looking plant. Easy to grow. Cold hardy to 5ºF. Nummularia=  coin shaped, referring to the leaves Takes a little bit of shade- especially if there is a very high tree canopy. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. The glossy leaves and dense nature of this shrub make it hard to capture in photographs.

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Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Lester Rowntree’

Virtually the same as ‘Warren Roberts’ it is completely interchangeable with that cultivar. Why do we grow ‘Lester’? Aside from having amazing blue foliage and clusters of deep pink flowers from January to March we LOVE Lester Rowntree. She was an amazing, intrepid self-taught botanist who roamed California in the 1930’s in her simple pickup truck camping and botanizing throughout that state. Her seminal book ‘Hardy Californians’  is a must read for any gardener on the west coast. And its not just about plants- Check it out. This shrub is large in time to about 4′ tall by 8′ wide. The pink flowers born on the blue foliage is a sublime combination. Following bloom new spring growth is a fantastic red/ orange before settling to blue. Bark is a smooth mahogany with time and the trunks are sinuous and winding. This is an excellent shrub in our climate. Once established it requires absolutely no supplemental water- ever. Sailing through temps in the 100’s and bone dry with NO visible signs of stress. Our kind of shrub. It is cold hardy and completely climate adapted. Hell strips, dry borders, informal shrubberies. Mix with Ceanothus, Grevilleas, Halimiums. Very pretty year round.

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Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Myrtle Wolf’

Always at the top of the list of Arcto Afficianados this is not often seen in gardens. An excellent winter blooming Manzanita has been a fantastic performer in PNW gardens. Upright growing shrub with blue foliage- new growth is briefly tinted red. In January to March copious bright pink clusters of urn shaped flowers appear. Anna’s hummingbirds are not far behind. To  5′ x 5′ in 6 years in full sun and average, well drained soil. No summer water when established. Excellent winter blooming shrub that is always good looking. This is a reliable cultivar for spectacular floral shows in winter. Place close to an exit or entrance where you can stare into the pendulous pink flowers and the winding branch structure. Photos by Chris Hembree

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Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Warren Roberts’

Big beautiful Manzanita that has thrived at our very cold wholesale nursery for almost 20 years and has never been harmed by weather. To 4′ tall and up to 8′ wide the new growth emerges a fiery orange red before settling down to a nice gray/blue. In late winter pink tinted urn shaped flowers decorate the whole shrub. The combination of the blue foliage and strongly pink flowers is magical in winter.  Well drained average to poor soil in full sun is ideal but it can get by with less than ideal conditions. Water to establish the first summer then none in subsequent years. Give Warren room- he’s greedy.

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