Home & Garden

Arboretum Spotlight: Cenizo a water-wise winner

Green leaf cenizo puts on a spectacular summer show that beneficial insects love.
Green leaf cenizo puts on a spectacular summer show that beneficial insects love.

This is one part in a 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.

Green leaf cenizo

Leucophyllum frutescens

Size: 8 to 10 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide

Bloom season: Lavender pink flowers in summer

Exposure: Full sun

Pruning needs: Prune to shape as desired; can be hedged

Water needs: Low water; once established, deep-water about once a month

Snapshot: Also known as Texas ranger or Texas sage, this Southwest native shrub can be hard to find (at least in California) but deserves more use in low-water landscapes. In the hottest summer months, its silvery gray foliage becomes covered by lavender-pink blooms – delighting bees and beneficial insects as well as people. A medium-large evergreen plant, cenizo needs reasonably good soil drainage and will tolerate hot exposures (such as next to driveways or walls) with full and reflected sun in summer. This shrub also is a good candidate for creating a low-water hedge or screen. In addition to the soft lavender-pink variety, white and darker pink flower colors are available as well as a compact form.

For more on “40 Plants,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

  Comments