Plant of the Week - New Jersey Tea


Okay, this week I am going out on a limb with this one, as even though it’s a great native and pollinator plant (also serves as a butterfly nectar plant, and host plant), it’s still somewhat harder to find in the garden centers.BUT, if we keep asking for it, growers will get the hint and start growing it more. 😊And do not let the common name fool you.Our pick this week is a low, upright growing deciduous shrub (treated somewhat like a woody perennial), that grows around 3-4 feet tall and wide.It has wonderful grayish green leaves, and from late May thru August, those leaves are topped with small white fragrant flower clusters (about 2-3 inches diameter) arising from the leaf axils on the new growth, which eventually turn into rose colored seed capsules.Grows in sun to part shade, enjoys well drained soils, has deep growing red roots to help withstand drought situations, and even grows close to Black walnut trees!No serious insect or disease issues, great in shrub borders, native plant gardens, perennial gardens, pollinator gardens, wildlife gardens, naturalizing, as a cut flower, and massing on dry slopes and hillsides.By the way, the name is Ceanothus americanus, or commonly known as New Jersey tea.The dried leaves were once used as a tea substitute during the Revolutionary War times, as well as teas made from the red roots.And what really makes this one special, is that it is highly recommended by our good friend, native plant expert Bill DeBoer (www.woodywarehouse.com).


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