This is one part in the latest weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “40 Plants You (Probably) Have Never Heard of – But Will Love,” 40 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region but hard to find.
White sky flower
Duranta erecta “Alba”
Size: 10 feet tall by 8 feet wide
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade; it prefers a location protected from cold
Bloom season: White flowers in summer
Pruning needs: Needs selective seasonal pruning to maintain its shape.
Water needs: Medium water; once established, water deeply once a week.
Snapshot: Looking for a pretty flowering shrub that doesn’t need a lot of water? Try this sky flower. Grown for its delicate white cascades of flowers and ornamental fruit, sky flower grows into an arching shrub with a long bloom season followed by attractive orange-yellow berries; hence, it’s also known as golden dew drop. Birds like that fruit, which gives this shrub a third nickname – pigeon berry. Somewhat tender in our area (it’s hardy to about 25 degrees), this shrub is best planted where it receives some protection from extreme cold, such as near the house or a wall that reflects warmth. Evergreen in tropical areas, sky flower grown in the Central Valley will lose its foliage in winter. This shrub also makes a good choice for espaliers or can be grown as a small tree. But be careful when handling; this shrub has sharp spines.
▪ For more on 40 Plants, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.