Mature Size (H x W): 3-6’X 3-6’
Blooming Season: Early Spring
Flower Color: White
Region: New Mexico
A dramatic member of the Heath family native to New Mexico, the Pointleaf Manzanita is one of the few true broad-leafed evergreens that can handle the challenges of our cold, dry climate. It’s found in open pine forests and piñon-juniper woodlands, from 3000’ to 8000’ elevation, with a native range from California to Nevada to Texas. Hardy to at least -20 degrees. Tolerant of some alkalinity, and of soils ranging from sand to clay. Birds love the summer display of pea-sized bronze-colored fruits, which follow clusters of urn-shaped soft pink flowers. This eye-catching native also attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. This plant can stand alone as a specimen or be clustered with other evergreens as part of a hedge or screen. Its exfoliating mahogany-colored bark and matte green leaves lend contrast when planted near sage or blue juniper foliage.
Tips for success with this sometimes-challenging plant: Start with small plants, and make sure to choose a good long-term location, as Manzanitas don’t like to be transplanted. If you plan to highlight the Pointleaf Manzanita’s sinewy structure, begin pruning up at a young age to develop an open structure, since they tolerate pruning of mature branches poorly. This plant should be watered deeply every 2 weeks in summer and monthly for the rest of the year.
The only thing missing with this wonderful shrub may be easy availability, so be sure to mention to your local garden center that you’re interested! North America boasts around 60 plants in the Arctostaphylos genus, and numerous cultivars are available, so also keep an eye open for the Pointleaf Manzanita’s botanical relatives during your travels!