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.