Ceanothus americanus

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 3 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: New Jersey tea
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rhamnaceae
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
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

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. Dried leaves were used as a tea substitute, albeit without caffeine, in American Revolutionary War times, hence the common name.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to leaf spot and powdery mildew.

Garden Uses

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