A gray mounding ground cover manzanita from the inner dunes and hills around Monterey Bay. With a few summer wash offs and some afternoon shade, this rare species grows fair in our central coast range location. Sandmat Manzanita normally grows two to four high with a spreading sprawling habit that allows the tips to root in the loose sandy soils of it home. In heavy soils Sandmat manzanita can survive and actually flourish, but the summer watering can only be a wash off the foliage after the first summer. Get the ground wet on a hot day, and you may lose the plant(I hate summer thunder showers). Almost half of the rainfall this species receives is in the form of summer fog and the wash downs are needed, without getting the ground wet. Having said all the above, I came across an inconsistency a few years ago when I gave a talk at Rancho Santa Ana. The back garden got watered once per month in the summer, most of the native plants died, (California natives do not know what to do with summer water) but as always with natives, there was an exception, the Arctostaphylos pumila was eight feet tall and twelve feet wide. I've never seen this manzanita this big anywhere else, including a hundred-year old manzanitas in the wild. In a sandy coastal garden mix Sandmat manzanita with Ceanothus Yankee Point' or thyrsiflorus repens for a stable wonderfully varied ground cover. Plant a patch of Salvia spathacea in a cool spot or one of the coastal buckwheats in a sunny place to add more character. Ta Da! You have a wildlife garden. Do not use this, or any other manzanita, where the salt spray comes directly on shore, use the coastal bluff or coastal strand plants.
Arctostaphylos pumila tolerates sand.
Arctostaphylos pumila is great for a bird garden.
Foliage of Arctostaphylos pumila has color reddish-green and is evergreen.
Flower of Arctostaphylos pumila has color white.
Fruit of Arctostaphylos pumila is edible.
Communities for Arctostaphylos pumila:Closed-cone Pine Forest and Northern Coastal Sage Scrub.