Whiteleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita)
Cowboys riding through the chaparral in the Sierra Nevada were not men who needed beauty. There wasn’t much they did need other than a steady horse and a good strong cup of coffee in the mornings. (Or so Hollywood Westerns would have us believe!)
But riding through the chaparral, they were sure to notice the beautiful native Whiteleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita). It grows naturally from Southern California up to Oregon and brings its wild rustic beauty to bear in unlikely places.
With its gray foliage and red bark, it makes a showy planting if you put it in a modern rock garden around boulders and with a thick layer of mulch. Plant it with oaks or pines and you quickly have an Instagram-worthy garden! It lives in red clay and in decomposed granite in the wild, so you know it will handle any poor garden soil you may have like a champ.
It has pendulous white early-summer flowers, but it is the striking red twigs that make it such a knock-out in the garden. They practically sing against the pale silver-gray leaves (which give the Whiteleaf its name). This beautiful shrub always has a bit of ‘cultivated wildness’ to it, so plant it where you can enjoy that aspect. It’s not meant to look formal but can be a real standout in a modern Californian landscape.
|Common name||Whiteleaf Manzanita|
|Botanical name||Arctostaphylos manzanita|
|Height||15 - 20 ft.|
|Width||8 - 10 ft.|
|Sunlight||Full Sun, Partial Shade|
|Soil condition||Most Soils|
|Leaf color||Broadleaved Evergreen|