n evergreen prostrate or low growing shrub to small tree, Arctostaphylos or manzinita are native to areas from, Canada to California, generally a tough genus and require a well drained soil.
Looking best when the brilliant red berries appear, contrasted against the glossy green foliage, the plant is also known as the bearberry. The smaller varieties are excellent as a spreading ground cover plant and are used in the garden border or in the rock garden. white fragrant flowers and reaching a height of 1 – 3ft. Larger growing types can be used as a drought tolerant hedging plant.
Arctostaphylos manzinita Dr.Hurd is perhaps the largest growing variety reaching around 15 ft. Arctostaphylos uva – ursi is a low growing species reaching around 2 ft tall, again drought tolerant and excellent as a groud cover plant in sunny positions.
These are a hardy plant and cope well with poor soils and low water once established. For best performance try these steps.
- All like a well drained soil.
- A sunny position is best
All Arctostaphylos form large swollen root or ‘burl’ at soil level. In the natural environment they will re shoot from here after fire or heavy grazing.
Hard pruning is possible, however we suggest a less aggressive method. Try tip pruning on a regular basis to the plant in shape and size under control.
Another method is to remove the lower foliage and stems to create a sort of ‘cloud pruned plant’, a more sculptural approach that may or may not work for you.
- Arctostaphylos uva-ursi – low growing ground cover.
- Arctostaphylos hooveri – Excellent for coastal plantings reach around 6ft.
- Arctostaphylos pungens – The Point leaf manzanita
- Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Wood’s Compact.
Propagation is easy by taking softwood cuttings in late spring, semi hardwood cuttings in fall are also suitable, best wintered in a cold frame.
Where to buy
DIGGING DOG NURSERY phone (707) 937-1130
PO Box 471 Albion CA 95410