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Panchito Manzanita – A Low-Growing Evergreen for all Seasons

Panchito Manzanita Arctostaphylos x coloradoensis

Panchito Manzanita is one of my favorite plants- and not just because the name is so fun to say.  What sets this plant apart is that it’s:  1) low-growing, 2) evergreen , and 3) it can handle full sun and minimal watering.  That combination can be difficult to find outside of the standard limited options like the low-growing junipers.

As we convert more lawn areas into Xeriscape to save water, I think the use of evergreen plants is a vital design element to help replace some of the green color of the replaced lawn that is lost.  Panchito Manzanita is an excellent choice because it looks great year-round, stays fairly compact, and requires little maintenance.

Scientific Name:  Arctostaphylos x coloradoensis
Plant Type:  Evergreen Shrub
Mature Height:  12-24″
Mature Spread:  18″-48″ (quite variable, depending on conditions)
Water Requirement:  Low- may need more water the first growing season, but requires little water once established.
Exposure:  Full Sun to very light shade
Best Features:  Unique evergreen foliage consisting of leathery 1″ long leaves.  This plant really looks great year-round.
Flowers:  Small urn-shaped pink to white flowers from February to April
Winter Interest: Very attractive evergreen foliage, reddish colored stems and bark
Disadvantages:  Slow grower the first season or two
Availability and Sizes:  I have been told that this plant is quite difficult to propagate- therefor It can be a little hard to find.  As it gains more popularity and demand for it goes up, it should be available in larger quantities.  Usually it is sold in 1 gallon size containers.  Since it is slow-growing, a 5 gallon size shrub would be even better.
Maintenance Tip:  A low maintenance plant.  You may want to prune a branch or two here or there.
Other:  Named to Plant Select in 2006.  Do not confuse with Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, which prefers much more moisture and shade. 

This is the official blog of Outdoor Design Group, Colorado Landscape Architects.  For more information about our business and our services, click here.

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This is the official blog of Outdoor Design Group, Colorado Landscape Architects.  For more information about our business and our services, click here.

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Here are excerpts from a recent article I came across at the Denver Post (Clarke Canfield, AP), on this emerging trend:

Ever since the invention of the automobile, paved roads have meant progress. Now some cash-strapped towns and counties are finding progress too expensive, and they are tearing up battered roads and putting down gravel.

The high price of pavement and the sour economy have driven municipalities in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Vermont to roll up the asphalt — a mile here, a few miles there, mostly on back roads — rather than repave. (more…)

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