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Arctostaphylos for Pacific Northwest Gardens

Articles: Arctostaphylos for Pacific Northwest Gardens

Hairy manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana) in habitat above the Columbia River. Photographs by Joshua McCullough, PhytoPhoto, except as noted

No other shrub is more symbolic of the Pacific Coast than manzanita (Arctostaphylos). From British Columbia to Baja, one species to many are endemic from the beaches to the mountains. Comprising more than fifty species and dozens of cultivars, they are one of the most distinctive shrubs of the far West, familiar to campers and hikers but little known in Pacific Northwest gardens—beyond the ubiquitous groundcover kinnikinnick (A. uva-ursi ).

We have been cultivating a wide variety of shrubby manzanitas at our nursery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and have been delighted to see them capture the imagination of Northwest gardeners. Once thought of as finicky in our region, it turns out that many, including those native to California, are ideally adapted to our naturally dry summers, and are surprisingly tolerant of winter cold as well. In California—where the majority of species are native, and where a multitude of cultivars are readily found in nurseries and at plant ...


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