Articles in Category: Drought Tolerant

Lycium barbarum

on Monday, 27 December 2021. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Edible, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Goji Berry

gojiBerry2Also known as 'Wolfberry', the Goji Berry is widely recognized as a superfood - with high nutrient and anti-oxidant properties - makes a great addition to your edible landscape. Both the bright orange-red berries and shiny, oval green leaves are edible with an appealing spicy, nutty flavor. The leaves are traditionally enjoyed as a tea, and the berries can be used as a tea or for snacking, baking, or preserving.

Goji berry is self-fruitful, producing small, purple-pink flowers in late spring/early summer that are highly attractive to the bees. It can take up to two years to bear fruit which will be loved by the birds and other browsing animals. Harvest the small, oval, bright orange-red fruit from summer through fall by shaking each branch so the ripe berries fall onto a large basket or bowl. Avoid touching them to avoid oxidizing the skin which turns them black. It's best to enjoy them fresh, frozen, or dried after washing, or refrigerate the berries unwashed for up to two weeks.

gojiBerryThis is a vigorously growing, thorny bush with woody stems and should be seasonally maintained to keep suckers that grow from the base in check. Luckily, they are well adapted for growing in containers. Deer will be attracted to the edible leaves and berries, but this might be one situation where they could be a welcome helper.

Once established, goji berries are heat tolerant and drought tolerant. They perform best when planted in full sun, (with mid-afternoon shade during the high heat of summer), out of the wind, and in well-draining, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. They can grow 8-12 feet tall and wide at full maturity and can be easily pruned to any desired size.

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'

on Tuesday, 14 December 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Compact Strawberry Tree

arbutus-unedo-plant-of-the-

Compact Strawberry Tree is one of our favorites for so many reasons: it can tolerate sun or shade, is drought tolerant, provides fall flowers for the hummingbirds, has long lasting, spectacularly colored fruit and wonderfully shaggy bark - and it's also evergreen!

You can easily see how this relative of our native Madrone and Manzanitas gets its common name of Strawberry Tree. The orange and red fruits resemble strawberries, and although the fruit is technically edible, they are more for suited wildlife as they are bland and mealy in texture (Fun fact: the species name unedo is a combination of the Latin words unum meaning "one" and edo meaning "eat" resulting in "I eat only one", in reference to the technically edible, but distinctly untasty fruit!).

Arbutus medThe honey scented, pinkish-white, urn-shaped flowers can appear from fall into early spring and the fruits often come on at the same time or not long after. As with many other fruiting shrubs, some years seem to have heavier fruit set than others - but the fruits are so decorative and long lasting that they don't qualify as messy. With leathery, dark green, oblong leaves, reddish new stems and shaggy auburn bark it is handsome all year.

Compact Strawberry Tree is not the fastest growing evergreen shrub, but it will grow steadily to 5-7' tall and wide (eventually larger). With annual pruning it can be kept tighter and smaller. This is one of those rare plants that is happy in sun or part shade making it a great choice for a hedge with varied conditions. It is also tolerant of various climates and soils.

Arbutus2 treeLooking for something a bit taller, but with all the same great attributes as the Compact Strawberry Tree? The full-sized species - Arbutus unedo - gets about 10-15’ tall and wide at maturity. In its native habitat (Britain and the Mediterranean), Arbutus unedo usually grows as a multitrunked plant, but we also carry single-trunked specimens which make a really lovely small tree.

Arbutus flower and fruitWe have some planted on the north side of our house that have done wonderfully with no supplemental water after their first year and even survived the 7-degree winter with no damage! In extreme cold they will show some damage; so best to plant where they are not completely exposed to cold winds. The winter of 2013, where we got to zero degrees for several nights, proved fatal to some Arbutus and some rebounded after suffering damage on top.

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' is great in foundation plantings or hedges. You will be hard-pressed to find an evergreen shrub with more year-round interest - plus the hummingbirds will thank you for providing a much-needed winter nectar source!

Distylium

on Thursday, 09 December 2021. Posted in Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Winter Hazel

Distylium2Distylium isn’t a ‘household name’ sort of plant yet – but it should be! It offers Rogue Valley gardeners a great alternative to some of the standard (but often overused) evergreen shrubs like Boxwood, Raphiolepis, Holly, and Skip Laurel.

Not only is Distylium low-maintenance, drought tolerant, and deer resistant; but it also tolerates clay soils well, and is a lovely and graceful-looking shrub. Its leaves are a glossy, rich green and slightly elongated.

Distylium flowersDistylium is related to Witch Hazels (one of its common names is Winter Hazel), and like Witch Hazels they have tiny, exquisite reddish flowers that line the branches in late winter and early spring. They aren’t the sort of flowers that put on a show from a distance, but they’re delightful to see close-up!

Shooting Star Nursery carries several different varieties; giving you a nice range of options for size and shape. There’s basically a Distylium for virtually every place in your garden that needs an evergreen shrub! We generally have the following varieties in stock:

Distylium Emerald HeightsEmerald Heights: Dark green, glossy foliage. Compact with a rounded, spreading shape. 5’ x 5’.

Swing Low: The shortest of the Distylium varieties we carry – about 2-3’ tall by 4-6’ wide.

Vintage Jade: Lovely, layered-looking branches give it a gentle, graceful look (a quality not often associated with evergreen shrubs…). Grows into a spreading, mounded shape – about 3’ tall by 4’ wide.

Distylium LinebackerLinebacker: A taller variety (8-10’ tall by 6-8’ wide), making it a really nice option as a hedge plant. Upright and dense, new growth is reddish-orange, which gradually turns green as the leaves mature.

Distylium grows best in full sun to light shade. These plants are generally disease-free and very low maintenance. A bit of light tip-pruning once a year will help keep plants nice and dense, but even that’s not necessary!

Euphorbias

on Saturday, 04 December 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Wood Spurges

Euphorbia-with-Allium

Another plant we love to sing the praises of: evergreen, usually compact, deer resistant and drought tolerant - with flowers that last 3 months or more. The only thing you have to do to enjoy them is to not overwater, and to prune the flower stems back to the base of the plant after blooming is done.

This photo shows a Euphorbia characias variety in full bloom, with Allium 'Purple Sensation' in the foreground. Flowering begins in early spring and will easily last into July. The flowers are set off by the larger bracts, thus lasting longer than a typical petaled flower. When flowering stalks start to brown or look faded, just prune the flower stem all the way to the ground so the new stems can fill in.

As an added bonus, Euphorbias are evergreen in all but the coldest Rogue Valley winters, and their foliage tends to color up in winter; providing a nice visual interest in the winter garden. Euphorbias will take full sun to half a day of sun and need well draining soil. They all have a white sap in their stems keeping the deer at bay but can also cause a rash in some people, so wear gloves when pruning Euphorbias.

There are many, many varieties of Euphorbia, here are some of our favorites:

Calocedrus decurrens

on Tuesday, 30 November 2021. Posted in Conifer, Showy Bark/Stems, Native, Drought Tolerant

Incense Cedar

Calocedrus with fruit

If you have room for even one large conifer in your yard, Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) would top our list of recommendations!

Incense Cedars are native to the West coast; ranging all the way from northern Baja California up into central Oregon and western Nevada. Unlike many of the popular conifers frequently planted here in the Rogue Valley, Incense Cedar is heat and drought tolerant, and is tolerant of both clay and serpentine soils.

They get their common name from their wonderfully spicy-smelling, aromatic bark. Plants feature flattened sprays of rich green needles, with a rich reddish-brown bark that becomes deeply furrowed with age.

Calocedrus decurrensYoung trees are dense, symmetrical, and pyramid-shaped which – happily – also makes them an excellent choice for a living Christmas tree.

tanner lakes titanIncense Cedars generally grow at a moderate rate (1-2’/year) and will probably reach a height of 60' - 70' when grown in your yard. Wild trees can get much bigger though. In fact, one of the largest Incense Cedars in the world - the Tanner Lakes Titan - is from right here in Jackson County, and is over 137' tall, with an amazing dbh (diameter at breast height) of 12.8'!

Fun fact: the genus name Calocedrus comes from the Greek words kalos meaning beautiful and cedrus meaning cedar tree!