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
See photo galleries of the arboretum’s Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at sacbee.com/home_garden.