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.
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!