This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum “New Front Yard” series, 41 can’t-fail, easy-care, drought-tolerant plants well adapted to our region.
Size: Wide range, from under 1 foot to 20 feet.
Bloom season: Winter
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Pruning needs: Little or none
Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month
Snapshot: More than 40 species of manzanita – which means “little apple” – are native to California, with dozens of cultivars and hybrids available commercially for home gardens. Manzanita is well-known for its smooth, almost wine-red bark. In late winter, it also sports dense clusters of light-pink blooms, a favorite for hummingbirds and beneficial insects. Vine Hill manzanita ( Arctostaphylos densiflora “Howard McMinn”) is one of the few manzanitas that can tolerate Sacramento’s clay-loam soil. It also stays relatively compact, forming a shrub 4 to 6 feet tall. With its attractive foliage, it looks good year-round with very little water or care. You can see specimens in the arboretum Terrace Garden on the UC Davis campus.• For more on the New Front Yard, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
See photo galleries of the arboretum’s Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at sacbee.com/home_garden .