The best way to Plant, Develop, and Take care of Manzanita

With its peeling reddish bark and mysterious twisting branches, manzanita is an iconic shrub in dry chaparral habitats. This evergreen native grows alongside the Pacific Coast from Baja, Mexico to southern British Columbia and eastward into Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

Thriving in areas with dry summers and poor soils, manzanitas are surprisingly adaptable to nearly any backyard. They’re low-maintenance crops that add attractive burgundy-red coloration and wildlife worth to your backyard. Within the winter, their exfoliating bark gives vibrant mahogany hues that distinction the barren panorama.

Although typically grown as small bushes, manzanitas have a shrubby behavior with a number of sculptural branches that emerge from a central base. The lantern-like flowers of late winter yield to blush fruit clusters in early summer season. The crops are glorious additions to a xeriscape or water-wise backyard. Birds, native bees, and butterflies go wild for the blossoms and fruits.

Manzanitas belong to the Arctostaphylos genus, which incorporates about 60 species of evergreen shrubs, small bushes, and creeping floor covers. This numerous group contains a whole lot of cultivars and varieties, all of them belonging to the Ericaceae (heath) household. This text will concentrate on the widespread manzanita, Arctostaphylos manzanita, with suggestions for rising lots of its cousins as effectively.

Let’s dig into one of the best suggestions for rising attractive evergreen manzanitas in your backyard.


A close-up reveals the reddish hue of manzanita branches, adding warmth to the scene. Emerald leaves gracefully adorn the branches, creating a striking contrast against the rustic backdrop, inviting admiration for nature's intricate beauty.

Plant Kind

Evergreen shrub

Plant Genus


Planting Season

Fall to early winter


Prefers 50-90°F (however hardy to 10°F)

Pairs With

California sagebrush, deerweed, penstemon, ceanothus

Soil Kind

Properly-drained, dry, rocky, slopes

Solar Publicity

Full solar to partial solar


Manzanita leaf gall, aphid


Sudden Oak Demise

Historical past and Cultivation 

Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.) are a genus of chaparral crops identified for his or her curving dramatic stems and reddish-purple bark. They develop from coastal areas to excessive mountains, with species that vary from stout groundcovers to twenty+ foot bushes.

The bark peels as soon as per yr and holds a shocking distinction towards the evergreen foliage. Manzanitas produce aromatic winter flowers formed like dangling urns. In the summertime, they flip into clusters of fruits that seem like tiny apples. In Spanish, manzanita means “little apple.”

It’s essential to discover a manzanita particularly tailored to your local weather, as there may be plenty of variety, vary, and kind inside the genus. All of those crops are drought-hardy and like full solar. 

What’s Widespread Manzanita?

A close-up showcases the delicate branches of a manzanita plant, adorned with green leaves that contrast beautifully against the branches' intricate patterns. Among the foliage, clusters of soft pink flowers add a subtle touch of elegance to the scene.
Arctostaphylos manzanita is an evergreen chaparral shrub with crooked branches.

Widespread manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita) is an evergreen chaparral shrub typically known as whiteleaf manzanita or massive manzanita. It has crooked branches, ovate evergreen leaves, and iconic purple peeling bark.

Though it’s sometimes called a tree, the sprawling behavior is extra shrub-like, solely often forming a central trunk. It’s native to the coast ranges of California and the Sierra Nevada foothills, the place it thrives on dry, uncovered slopes alongside different chaparral crops like sagebrush (Artemisia californica), Ceanothus spp., and coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis). 

The place Does Manzanita Develop?

Numerous manzanita trees, their slender trunks reaching skyward, create a majestic forest scene. The afternoon sun gently bathes their leaves in golden light, casting intricate shadows and illuminating the vibrant hues of nature's palette.
Manzanita crops are native to arid areas of western North America.

Most manzanita crops are native to arid chaparral areas, oak woodlands, and coniferous forests of western North America. They thrive in areas with sizzling, dry summers and delicate, moist winters, from Baja Mexico to California, Oregon, and Washington, and inland to Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

There are greater than 100 manzanita species, lots of that are native to California. It’s essential to decide on a species tailored to your area.

Is Manzanita OK for Wildfire Areas?

Manzanita shrubs stand prominently, their smooth, red-brown branches twisting gracefully against the sky. Surrounding them, tufts of grasses sway gently, interwoven with a variety of shrubs, creating a harmonious tapestry of textures and colors in the landscape.
They pose important fireplace dangers in fire-prone areas like Arizona or California.

Manzanita shrubs are not really useful for firewise landscaping. As a result of excessive content material of unstable oils in manzanita crops, they burn like torches when ignited. Additionally they produce plenty of deadwood that may act as ladder gasoline to a wildfire. That is significantly harmful if the crops are grown close to flammable constructions like your private home.

When you reside in a fire-prone area like Arizona or California and you continue to want to develop these enticing drought-tolerant crops, isolate the shrubs no less than 100 toes from your private home and observe common upkeep by eradicating the deadwood and clearing the bottom.


Widespread manzanita will be propagated by seed, however it’s a lot simpler to develop from slicing.


A close-up of sunlit leaves of the manzanita plant, showcasing their rich green hues. Nestled among them are clusters of small, unopened drupe fruits, adding a touch of nature's bounty to the scene.
Scarification and fireplace publicity enhance seed germination.

Seed propagation of manzanita is troublesome however rewarding. The seeds naturally germinate after publicity to wildfires. You’ll be able to harvest the ripe fruits in the summertime and soak them in water. This can take away the outer fleshy elements of the berries so you’ll be able to entry the seeds or “nutlets.” The nutlets will float to the highest, the place you’ll be able to skim them off by hand or with a advantageous strainer.

Apparently, manzanita seeds germinate within the wild after fires. The seed coats of most manzanitas are fairly laborious, so scarification and fireplace publicity are each needed to enhance germination. 

Scarification means scarring the seed with a pointy knife. Then, you’ll be able to sow the seeds in a flat of peat moss and sand about twice as deep as they’re large. Place the flat on the bottom, and layer 3-4 inches of pine needles on prime of the seeds. Gentle the pine duff on fireplace on prime of the seedbed, taking care to not burn the flat.

As soon as the seeds have undergone the remedies, present reasonable moisture and observe endurance. It’s simpler to allow them to germinate exterior within the backyard, as they’ll take as much as a yr to sprout. As soon as sprouted, you’ll be able to transplant it as wanted.


Sun-kissed manzanita leaves, vibrant in deep green hues, create a captivating play of light and shadow. In the backdrop, a blurred brown mountain emerges, adding depth and contrast to the verdant foliage, creating a serene natural scene.
Take cuttings in early spring to propagate new crops.

Early spring, from March to Might, is one of the best time to take cuttings from manzanita as a result of the terminal shoots are simply rising with new progress. This can be a type of vegetative propagation that primarily clones the unique plant by slicing younger twigs and inspiring them to develop new roots to allow them to mature into their very own plant. 

To take a manzanita slicing:

  1. Use sharp, sanitized pruners or a knife.
  2. Select a mature, wholesome manzanita with no indicators of Sudden Oak Demise illness (see under for signs).
  3. Lower from newly sprouted terminal (finish) inexperienced shoots.
  4. Make cuttings 6” lengthy, together with 1-2” of the woody stem from final yr’s progress.
  5. Dip the minimize finish in rooting hormone.
  6. Place in a moist combination of sand and peat moss.
  7. Recurrently water for a number of weeks till a lightweight tug signifies that the cuttings fashioned roots.
  8. Cuttings will be transplanted into containers or straight into the bottom.


Normally, manzanitas don’t transplant effectively as a result of the roots actually dislike disturbance. To stop transplant shock, deal with the roots very rigorously and transplant shrubs throughout a semi-dormant state.

It will be significant {that a} slicing or sapling has reached a wholesome measurement in its container. Its roots ought to completely fill out the pot with out exhibiting indicators of rootbinding (twirling round in tight, matted circles). 

The best way to Transplant 

In the foreground, a thriving short manzanita shrub with green leaves stands proudly. The lush vegetation forms a picturesque backdrop, showcasing a harmonious mix of various shrubs and trees in their natural environment.
Transplant manzanita begins in late fall or early winter when dormant.

One of the best time to transplant manzanita begins is in late fall or early winter when the crops are usually not actively rising. 

To maneuver this shrub into the bottom:

  1. Dig a gap about twice as large and 1.5 occasions as deep as the foundation ball.
  2. Loosen the encircling soil with a pitchfork or shovel.
  3. Grasp the seedling or sapling from its base and gently shimmy the pot away from the roots.
  4. Place the plant within the gap upright, with the soil stage on the similar place.
  5. Backfill and water completely to assist it get established.


Short manzanita shrubs, with their distinctive red bark and small leaves, cluster beneath the forest canopy, seeking shade and shelter. Towering trees form a lush backdrop, their verdant foliage reaching skyward.
Manzanitas needs to be planted with spacing starting from 5-15 toes.

Widespread manzanitas are finest planted 5-15 toes aside, relying on the range and desired mature measurement. For extra tree-like specimens, select wider spacing and prune away younger aspect shoots from the bottom. 

Different species will differ primarily based on their progress behavior. For instance, Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald Carpet’ is a groundcover manzanita finest planted with about 30” of house between them. Uva ursi (bearberry) crops will be grown simply 3-5 toes aside. Examine your native native plant nursery or college extension workplace web site for extra details about spacing for varieties endemic to your area.

The best way to Develop

These drought-tolerant evergreens are simple to develop in dry areas with full solar to partial shade. They thrive predominantly within the West and Southwest. They don’t do effectively in chilly, humid climates of the East.


A small manzanita plan basks in the warm sunlight. Surrounding it, the ground is adorned with smooth pebbles, adding texture and charm to the natural setting, creating a serene and picturesque scene.
Plant manzanita in an space receiving 6-8 hours of direct solar day by day.

Plant manzanita in an space the place it could actually obtain 6-8 hours of direct solar per day. Whereas they’ll tolerate much less solar, partially shaded shrubs could develop extra branched and stouter with fewer flowers.


A close-up reveals a cluster of delicate pink manzanita flowers adorned with glistening water droplets. The blurred backdrop showcases additional manzanita blooms and lush leaves, creating a picturesque scene of floral abundance and tranquility.
Manzanita crops thrive in arid climates with minimal irrigation.

These arid local weather crops are among the many finest alternatives for xeriscapes and areas with out irrigation. They’re extraordinarily drought-tolerant and like dry, heat summers.

Solely water throughout institution. When you plant a species native to your area, they’ll usually subsist on the pure rainfall alone.


A close-up reveals the intricate texture of brown sandy loam, showcasing its granular composition and earthy hue. Tiny grains intermingle, creating a rich substrate teeming with potential for nurturing growth and sustaining life within its fertile depths.
They thrive in well-drained, barely acidic soils like sandy loam.

Properly-drained soil is good for manzanitas. Sandy to sandy loam and silty loam soil is appropriate. They won’t develop effectively in waterlogged heavy clay. Barely acidic soils are widespread the place this plant grows wild in coniferous forests. Pine needle mulch and peat moss can enhance the pH and drainage.

Local weather and Temperature

Manzanita trees stand tall beneath a cloudy blue sky, their rugged branches reaching toward the heavens. Sunlight filters through the leaves, casting a gentle glow upon their intricate foliage.
Some types of Manzanitas are able to enduring excessive chilly at excessive altitudes.

Most Arctostaphylos varieties are tailored to delicate Mediterranean areas or sizzling, arid climates. Widespread manzanita is solely hardy in USDA zones 8-10, whereas greenleaf manzanita (A. patula) can stand up to very chilly winters at excessive elevations within the Sierra Nevada mountains. Once more, test your selection earlier than planting, as some manzanitas will die at temperatures under 15°F (-9°C).


A vibrant manzanita plant stands out with its striking red branches and lush green leaves, creating a vivid contrast against its surroundings. It is nestled amidst various other plants, forming a harmonious natural arrangement in the garden landscape.
These twisty shrubs thrive in poor soils and develop wild while not having fertilizer.

No fertilizer is important for these distinctive, twisty shrubs. They thrive in poor soils and develop wild with none assist from people.


A manzanita plant stands out with deep red branches contrasting against light green leaves. It thrives amidst a cluster of small shrubs, its distinctive colors adding a captivating allure to the surrounding greenery in the garden landscape.
Encourage deadwood elimination for manzanita crops in wildfire-prone areas.

You’ll be able to calmly prune your shrub after it blooms, however this isn’t needed. In areas susceptible to wildfire, deadwood elimination and cleanup across the base of shrubs is inspired. 


Along with widespread manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita), these species and cultivars make well-liked panorama crops of their respective areas:

Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald Carpet’ Floor Cowl

A close-up reveals the foliage of Arctostaphylos 'Emerald Carpet', showcasing its delicate veins weaving through the lush greenery. The leaves form a captivating frame around the pristine white flowers, creating a harmonious botanical composition.
‘Emerald Carpet’ options shiny inexperienced leaves and shiny purple stems.

If you would like a low-growing groundcover, ‘Emerald Carpet’ is a phenomenal, verdant inexperienced hedge or creeping vine that thrives in drought-prone California landscapes. It has shiny inexperienced leaves and shiny purple stems that develop from 6” to 1 foot tall. 

Bearberry (A. uva-ursi)

A bearberry shrub catches the sunlight, its leaves shimmering with a radiant glow. Amidst the foliage, red berries add a pop of color, enhancing the shrub's natural beauty and allure.
This low-growing species serves as a fire-resistant groundcover in Arizona.

Also called kinnikinnick or uva ursi, this creeping species maxes out at 6 inches and in addition makes a pleasant floor cowl. It’s nice for wildfire-prone landscapes like Arizona as a result of it has a decreased flammability hazard. The uva ursi berries are used medicinally.

Greenleaf Manzanita (A. patula)

A close-up reveals the delicate beauty of Greenleaf manzanita's pink flowers, gracefully dangling amidst green leaves. The juxtaposition of the soft petals against the lush foliage creates a captivating display of nature's intricate details and harmonious colors.
The Greenleaf manzanita is used for erosion management on slopes in western US states.

This mid-sized shrub grows 3-6 toes tall and has shiny pink bell-shaped flowers. It’s extra fire-resistant and typically used as erosion management on slopes because of the simply rooting stems. It’s native from California to Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and north into Montana and Washington.

Pinemat Manzanita (A. nevadensis)

A close-up of Pinemat manzanita leaves showcases their glossy, elliptical shape, each vein intricately etched. Soft pink flowers delicately adorn the foliage, their petals unfurling with a gentle grace.
This floor cowl spreads 3-5 toes large by way of freely rooting stems.

This low-growing floor cowl spreads 3-5 toes large as its intricately branched stems freely root within the floor. The evergreen foliage creates a phenomenal backdrop to pale pink flowers within the early spring. This species is finest for moist, higher-elevation climates.

Yellow Leaf Manzanita (A. pringlei)

Intricate Yellow Leaf manzanita branches in close-up, showcasing their delicate structure and vibrant leaves. The branches are adorned with round red berries, adding a pop of color and a festive touch to the overall composition.
The Yellow Leaf manzanita thrives within the Southwest’s dry rocky slopes amongst chaparral.

Generally known as the pringle manzanita, this species is from the Southwest, rising particularly on dry, rocky slopes of chaparral alongside pinyon pines and juniper bushes. The crops kind dense thickets and develop 5 toes or taller.

Design Concepts

Most species of manzanita thrive alongside different extremely drought-tolerant chaparral native crops.

California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica)

A California sagebrush, thriving in a sunlit environment, showcases its resilience amidst the warmth. The shrub emanates a golden hue, adding a touch of brilliance to its surroundings, capturing the essence of the rugged yet beautiful California landscape.
This resilient shrub enhances manzanita’s mahogany-red stems and darkish shiny leaves.

One of many hardest natives you’ll be able to develop, this resilient shrub thrives in dry, open areas. The silvery-green frilly tops of sagebrush look lovely with the mahogany-red stems and darkish, shiny leaves of manzanita. 

Deerweed (Acmispon glaber)

A close-up of yellow Deerweed flowers showcases delicate petals. Adjacent to the blooms, tiny green leaves add a subtle contrast, enhancing the overall natural beauty of the scene with their fresh hue and intricate foliage.
A pioneer species, the Deerweed requires no water or upkeep.

One other widespread comrade of manzanitas of their wild habitat, deerweed produces intriguing stalks of yellow pea-shaped flowers. This plant is a pioneer species that’s typically the primary to return after wildfires. It doesn’t want any water or upkeep.

Penstemon (Penstemon spp.)

Tall stems of penstemon plants reach skyward, adorned with leaves and delicate pink flowers. In the backdrop, lush trees create a verdant tapestry, providing a serene setting for the flourishing penstemons.
Perennial wild penstemons boast purple flowers attracting hummingbirds.

Wild penstemons are perennial herbs native to Central, Southern, and Baja California, significantly within the excessive desert and chaparral areas. They produce beautiful purple flowers that hummingbirds adore

Ceanothus (Ceanothus spp.)

A close-up captures the beauty of Ceanothus flowers, showcasing clusters adorned with delicate, tiny purple blooms. The glossy leaves surrounding the blooms thrive in harmony, creating a picturesque scene of natural beauty and vibrant color contrast.
These thrive in drought and fire-prone chaparral landscapes alongside manzanita.

The fluffy clusters of ceanothus flowers are extremely aromatic and placing alongside manzanita plantings. Despite their charming look, these shrubs are drought-tolerant and fire-resistant, tolerating the identical circumstances as different hardy chaparral crops listed above. 

Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)

Tall ponderosa pines stand proudly, their feathery leaves catching the sunlight. Against the backdrop of a clear blue sky, the pines create a serene and majestic scene in the wilderness.
Plant manzanita inside 15-30 toes of ponderosas for a local forest backyard.

If you wish to develop a local forest backyard or discover a good complement for pine groves close to the sting of your forest, plant manzanita inside 15-30 toes of ponderosas. This blended tradition is particularly widespread in wild elements of the central Sierra Nevada vary.

Pests and Ailments

Manzanitas are extremely rugged and solely hardly ever face these issues.

Manzanita Leaf Gall Aphid

Green leaves on branches of a manzanita plant. Intriguingly, the leaves bear evidence of nature's intricate balance, as they form distinctive red, pod-shaped galls induced by the presence of tiny aphids.
This gray-green aphid causes manzanita leaves to kind swollen, pod-shaped galls.

When you discover manzanita leaves swollen into pod-shaped galls, it’s probably as a result of this gray-green aphid. The aphids feed on new progress and trigger the leaves to thicken across the wounds, forming shiny purple swollen galls that flip brown as they age.

To deal with it, keep away from over-irrigating or pruning the crops. Don’t fertilize manzanitas, particularly with high-nitrogen fertilizer, as this will appeal to the aphids to the nutrient-rich sap. Horticultural oil or neem can be utilized to kill clustered infestations.

Sudden Oak Demise

A close-up reveals the intricate textures of a dead oak tree's trunk, showcasing weathered bark and intricate patterns. In the background, a gentle blur reveals the towering presence of other majestic trees in the forest.
This lethal illness is brought on by Phytophtora ramorum.

The pathogen Phytophthora ramorum causes a virulent disease that kills some oak bushes, together with coast reside oak and tanoak. The pathogen often colonizes widespread manzanita in elements of northern California. Signs embrace darkish spots on the leaves, typically lined by a black border. Total branches could brown, wilt, and die again. 

The illness spreads by rain splash and human transport of contaminated crops. At all times study a manzanita shrub earlier than planting or propagating. There is no such thing as a treatment, however some fungicides can suppress the illness. It is very important rigorously take away contaminated elements and burn them to forestall the unfold.

Plant Makes use of

A close-up of a Manzanita shrub illuminated by sunlight, showcasing its natural beauty. Its lush foliage boasts ovate green leaves, complemented by the striking presence of yellow and red fruits, adding a colorful flourish to the landscape.
Manzanita bears edible fruits utilized in varied culinary and medicinal functions.

Manzanita is primarily a wild native shrub with use as a drought-tolerant panorama specimen. The fruits are edible and thought of a neighborhood superfood in some locations. The ripe purple berries will be eaten uncooked, made into jam, brewed into cider, or added to smoothies.

Native Individuals used manzanita leaves and berries for medicinal functions. Apparently, the soaked leaves are identified to make an important poultice (prime dressing) for pores and skin with a poison oak rash.

Remaining Ideas

Arctostaphylos is an amazingly numerous and resilient genus of shrubs, most with the enduring purple peeling bark and curvy, twisting branches. Manzanitas develop finest in areas with dry, sizzling summers and sandy, well-drained soils.

The crops have delicate roots, so be very cautious when transplanting. Make sure to choose a species native to your area and keep away from planting manzanita close to your private home when you reside in a wildfire-prone space.

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