Las Pilitas Nursery

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Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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Manzanitas of California, (Arctostaphylos species)

You can grow a manzanita if you live in the Western United States. Manzanita is the common name for the genus Arctostaphylos. There are more than forty species of Arctostaphylos in California not to mention all the, cultivars, subspecies and hybrids. We are commonly growing 70 different types in the nursery. Manzanita species grow from two inches (some of the coastal species) to twenty feet tall (many interior species). Manzanitas are popular for their shiny red or mahogany colored bark. Manzanitas have urn-shaped flowers that vary from pink to white and are popular with hummingbirds. They are very drought tolerant and evergreen, always looking green and healthy even in the hottest, driest part of the summer. Manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp) is of the family Ericaceae. Plants in this family are highly mycorrhizal (associated with symbiotic fungi). This allows them to survive in many harsh environments; however, it also makes them very susceptible to over watering and fertilizing. They really do not like to be summer watered nor fertilized. If grown correctly these plants, especially the larger forms, will grow for more than 100 years.

Manzanitas are easy in most of California and missing from most landscapes.
Let's see, they like to be washed off once a week, they hate drip and fertilizer, and look good for decades. Sounds like my bio.
The only problem areas are the desert areas(use Arctostaphylos pungens or Arctostaphylos glauca) and the areas of beach sand or adobe clay. The sandy areas need to use the sand lovers, the clay areas the clay lovers.

Manzanitas are great wildlife plants. Providing nectar for butterflies, hummingbirdsand native insects (they're cool!). Many of the manzanitas regulate their nectar to attract different insects, butterflies and hummingbirds during the day. See Arctostaphylos otayensis, Otay Manzanita for more.

Use manzanitas to replace plants like Rhaphiolepis (Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn'), Privet (Arctostaphylos 'Mama Bear'), Honeysuckle as a ground cover and Lantana (Arctostaphylos franciscana), Ivy, (Arctostaphylos 'Wayside' ) Escallonia, (Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' or 'Seninel' ), Abelia (Arctostaphylos 'Sonoma') to name a few.

Mix with Ceanothus and monkey flowers for more color!

Anna Hummingbird on the flower of Ian Bush Manzanita - grid24_6
Manzanitas are used by all sorts of native birds and butterflies. Here is an Anna Hummingbird on an Ian Bush.

Manzanita Hybrids

Many of these hybrids are similar to one of the parents but have more flowers or are more tolerant of humans.
A Red Admiral Butterfly on Arctostaphylos Austin Griffin - grid24_6
'Austin Griffith' Manzanita is a hybrid between Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Sentinel' and Arctostaphylos manzanita 'Dr. Hurd'. It grows to 10 ft or so tall and 6 feet wide. In our garden it has been easily held to 6 ft. tall. It prefers a sandy soil but will tolerate clay.

A short video about  Austin Griffiths Manzanita'

Austin Griffith is a hybrid between Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Sentinel' and Arctostaphylos manzanita 'Dr 1. 'Austin Griffith' Manzanita - grid24_12
 Austin Griffiths Manzanita' is large bush that can be used a a hedge. It is one of the best nectaries for Hummingbirds, pollinators and butterflies.
A hedge of Arctostaphylos Austin Griffin will grow to about 10 ft. tall and 12 ft. wide.
'Austin Griffith' Manzanita's bark is dark brownish red. It has red stems and large flower clusters of small pink flowers with the older foliage a glossy green.

Baby Bear Manzanita has deep pink, almost red flowers that the native bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love.
Baby Bear Manzanita starts out slow and then explodes in a tangle of red, green, purple and pink. With life all over it.

A short video about Baby Bear manzanita

Wow! The color is amazing on the Baby Bear manzanita. - grid24_12
If Baby Bear manzanita is grown as a dryland plant it will be a small tight shrub, give it water and it can grow to 8 ft.

Emerald Carpet, for those of you that want a lawn, but do not want to mow. If you do not want to water, use a higher manzanita. - grid24_6
Emerald carpet is for the lawn lovers. It needs lawn water and almost lawn care. It does tolerate drip.
This is an old photo of Arctostaphylos 'Greensphere', a hybrid manzanita, very slow growing, and may do well for bonsai.  - grid24_12
Greensphere Manzanita is an evergreen shrub, incredibly slow to 5', dark green foliage, rounded form.
John Dourley Manzanita leaves. The new leaves are reddish the old leaves are a dull green. - grid24_12
John Dourley manzanita grows a couple feet tall and maybe 6 ft. wide.

Arctostaphylos Ian Bush Manzanita usually grows fast to 5 feet, then slowly to 6. Seems to grow reliably in beach sand, decomposed granite or loamy clay.
Arctostaphylos Ian Bush Manzanita has a good flower show that the Hummingbirds, pollinators and butterflies. like it.
Manzanita plants are beautiful! They look good all year and most need little water and care in coastal California. In Interior California they'll need some extra winter water. Most of the shrub manzanitas do fine in the interior valleys.

A short video about Arctostaphylos Ian Bush Manzanita

Ian Bush Manzanita makes a decent five or six foot hedge. Ian Bush is fairly fast.
Arctostaphylos Ian Bush Manzanita makes a great 5 foot hedge. It's evergreen, pleasant to look at, and be around. You'll love the plants
Arctostaphylos Ian Bush with an Anna Hummingbird. This manzanita is easy in most of coastal California. - grid24_12

La Panza manzanita grows into this little gray ball that gradually makes it to maybe 4 ft. tall. The flowers are nearly pure white. La Panza manzanita seems to be very drought tolerant, sun or shade tolerant and soil tolerant. It was a seedling that appear in the nursery back in the 1990's, seemed to be stable and stayed small. This manzanita has flowers that seem to be a good nectar source and is visited by hummingbirds and butterflies.

A short video about La Panza manzanita

Mama bear manzanita is a 6-8 ft. shrub with a profusion of pale pinks flowers. Mama bear manzanita makes a good hedge. On cold years the flowers are pink, warm winters they are whitish.

A short video about Mama bear manzanita

Colder weather seems to make the manzanita flowers pink - grid24_12

This form of Arctostaphylos glauca we called Margarita pearl because of the large flowers. - grid24_12
Margarita Pearl is mostly a Big Berry manzanita, but the flowers and berries are bigger.
Arctostaphylos pechoensis Margarita's Joy with a Anna's Hummingbird - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos pechoensis Margarita's Joy is a mini-manzanita. The leaves and flowers are smaller than others on a very small bush. This one can work as a 2 foot border.
Arctostaphylos Pacific Mist makes a great groundcover in both heavy and sandy soils. Pacific Mist manzanita also tolerates drought near the coast, regular water inland.

A short video of Arctostaphylos Pacific Mist

Arctostaphylos Sonoma Manzanita Bush is a dark green little bush with bright pink flowers. Somona manzanita prefers heavy adobe soil but tolerates most other soils.

A small movie of Arctostaphylos Sonoma Manzanita when in flower.

Arctostaphylos Sunset Manzanita has been on of our mainstays. We'll commonly mix Sunset with Harmony to make a large scale grondcover that is drought tolerant and stable in most of California.

A little movie about Sunset manzanita. This manzanita has bright red new growth. Sunset has been tough and reliable in most places.

The new growth of Sunset manzanita can be amazingly colorizing in a landscape.  - grid24_12
Sunset manzanita's new growth is orange-red.
Sunset manzanita bush as a  ground cover. - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos Sunset Manzanita makes a wonderful high groundcover. A little top trimming and it will stay about 3 ft. tall.

That's all for now...