Common Name: New Jersey tea
Type: Deciduous shrub
Native Range: Southern Canada, eastern, central, and southeastern United States
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil
Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in sandy loams or rocky soils with good drainage. Thick, woody, red roots go deep and help plant withstand droughty conditions, but make established shrubs difficult to transplant.
Ceanothus americanus, commonly called New Jersey tea, is a compact, dense, rounded shrub which typically grows 2-3' tall (less frequently to 4'). It is native to Missouri where it occurs in prairies, glades, dry open woods and thickets throughout the state (Steyermark). Cylindrical clusters (1-2" long) of tiny, fragrant, white flowers (1/8") appear on long stalks at the stem ends or upper leaf axils in late spring. Toothed, broad-ovate, medium to dark green leaves (to 4" long) are gray and hairy below. Young twigs are noticeably yellow and stand out in winter.
Genus name comes from keanothos which is an ancient Greek name relating to some plants in the buckthorn family.
Specific epithet means from America, North or South.
Dried leaves were used as a tea substitute, albeit without caffeine, in American Revolutionary War times, hence the common name.
No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to leaf spot and powdery mildew.
Shrub borders or native plant gardens. Also effective as a shrubby ground cover for hard-to-grow areas such as dry rocky slopes and banks.