Articles in Category: Shrubs

Fruiting Shrubs for the Home Garden - Part 1

on Friday, 07 January 2022. Posted in Edible, Shrubs

Cane Fruits: Blackberries and Raspberries

Are you hoping to add a bit more variety into your edible landscape this year? Consider adding some fruiting shrubs into the mix! This week, we’ll look at a few types of cane fruits (blackberries and raspberries) that make a great addition to the home garden.

Cane fruits all have similar cultural requirements. They do best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, and prefer a minimum of 6 hours of sun a day (full sun is better). With the exception of Babycakes Blackberry and Raspberry Shortcake, most types of berries grow tall enough to need some sort of trellising system to keep the canes (and fruit) off the ground. All types will benefit from seasonal pruning to maximize productivity.

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BLACKBERRIES

Natchez: One of the first producers of the season. A vigorous, semi-erect, thornless plant, with consistent yields of large, elongated, flavorful berries. Requires trellis support, especially when fruiting. Pinch out growing tips to control vigor. Ripens Early June. 4-5’ tall.

Triple Crown: A trifecta of flavor, productivity, and vigor, Triple Crown blackberry may outrun any competition as it gets better known. Plants are semi-erect and thornless and do well on trellises. Ripens mid-July to mid-August. Vigorous vines can grow 12-15’ in a season.

Chester: Thornless with semi-trailing habit and large, very sweet, flavorful fruit, even when firm. Begins to ripen just at Triple Crown finishes. Chester is the most winter-hardy thornless blackberry and is very resistant to cane blight. Provide support for the vines. Ripens mid-late summer. 5-10’ tall.

Black Satin: This thornless, heat-tolerant blackberry is a prolific producer of deliciously sweet and juicy, deep blue-black berries. Small, soft pink flowers appear on second-year semi-erect canes in spring, yielding a reliable crop of large blackberries in midsummer. 5-6' tall. Requires support.

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Baby Cakes (pictured right): A dwarf, thornless blackberry with a compact habit that is perfect for small spaces and patio containers. In summer, large, classic, and sweet-tasting berries ripen in a series of colorful sprays of fruit, sometimes twice in one season! 3-4' tall x wide.

 

raspberryCollage RASPBERRY 

Fall Gold Raspberry: Very large golden berries of excellent flavor. The berries are too delicate to ship, so you’ll mostly only find them at local grower's markets. Wonderful for eating fresh, highly recommended as a fresh topping for vanilla ice cream! They are especially cold hardy and vigorous variety that is perhaps the tenderest and sweetest raspberry around. A primocane berry that ripens in fall. 4' tall x 3' wide.

Anne: An everbearing raspberry with the largest and best tasting berries of all the golden yellow raspberries. A moderate to high producer in this area, but bears very sweet, tropical tasting, quarter-sized fruit from summer into late fall - the same time as ‘Heritage’. Requires good drainage and benefits from a trellis. 4-5’ tall. 

Caroline: Late summer to fall fruiting. High-yielding plant that produces an abundance of large and delicious berries. Bears on new wood (primocane), and benefits from a bit of afternoon shade. Great in preserves, or for eating fresh off the plant! 3-4' tall and wide.

Heritage: An everbearing red raspberry that is considered the #1 fall variety nationwide. Large berries are firm and of excellent quality. It produces a smaller July crop with heavier production in Early September - the same time as the golden yellow ‘Anne’ raspberry. Good vigor and hardy canes that do not need staking or trellising. Rapidly growing to 5-8' tall.

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Raspberry Shortcake (pictured left): A dwarf,thornless, bush-type berry perfect for the patio garden! Raspberry Shortcake gets about 2’-3’ tall and wide and bears abundant crops of delicious, full-sized fruit.

  

 

 

To learn more about the different varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs available here at Shooting Star Nursery, be sure to take a look at the Fruiting Trees and Plants list from our website!

Lycium barbarum

on Monday, 27 December 2021. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Attracts Pollinators, Edible, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Goji Berry

gojiBerry2Also known as 'Wolfberry', the Goji Berry is widely recognized as a superfood - with high nutrient and anti-oxidant properties - makes a great addition to your edible landscape. Both the bright orange-red berries and shiny, oval green leaves are edible with an appealing spicy, nutty flavor. The leaves are traditionally enjoyed as a tea, and the berries can be used as a tea or for snacking, baking, or preserving.

Goji berry is self-fruitful, producing small, purple-pink flowers in late spring/early summer that are highly attractive to the bees. It can take up to two years to bear fruit which will be loved by the birds and other browsing animals. Harvest the small, oval, bright orange-red fruit from summer through fall by shaking each branch so the ripe berries fall onto a large basket or bowl. Avoid touching them to avoid oxidizing the skin which turns them black. It's best to enjoy them fresh, frozen, or dried after washing, or refrigerate the berries unwashed for up to two weeks.

gojiBerryThis is a vigorously growing, thorny bush with woody stems and should be seasonally maintained to keep suckers that grow from the base in check. Luckily, they are well adapted for growing in containers. Deer will be attracted to the edible leaves and berries, but this might be one situation where they could be a welcome helper.

Once established, goji berries are heat tolerant and drought tolerant. They perform best when planted in full sun, (with mid-afternoon shade during the high heat of summer), out of the wind, and in well-draining, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. They can grow 8-12 feet tall and wide at full maturity and can be easily pruned to any desired size.

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'

on Tuesday, 14 December 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Compact Strawberry Tree

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Compact Strawberry Tree is one of our favorites for so many reasons: it can tolerate sun or shade, is drought tolerant, provides fall flowers for the hummingbirds, has long lasting, spectacularly colored fruit and wonderfully shaggy bark - and it's also evergreen!

You can easily see how this relative of our native Madrone and Manzanitas gets its common name of Strawberry Tree. The orange and red fruits resemble strawberries, and although the fruit is technically edible, they are more for suited wildlife as they are bland and mealy in texture (Fun fact: the species name unedo is a combination of the Latin words unum meaning "one" and edo meaning "eat" resulting in "I eat only one", in reference to the technically edible, but distinctly untasty fruit!).

Arbutus medThe honey scented, pinkish-white, urn-shaped flowers can appear from fall into early spring and the fruits often come on at the same time or not long after. As with many other fruiting shrubs, some years seem to have heavier fruit set than others - but the fruits are so decorative and long lasting that they don't qualify as messy. With leathery, dark green, oblong leaves, reddish new stems and shaggy auburn bark it is handsome all year.

Compact Strawberry Tree is not the fastest growing evergreen shrub, but it will grow steadily to 5-7' tall and wide (eventually larger). With annual pruning it can be kept tighter and smaller. This is one of those rare plants that is happy in sun or part shade making it a great choice for a hedge with varied conditions. It is also tolerant of various climates and soils.

Arbutus2 treeLooking for something a bit taller, but with all the same great attributes as the Compact Strawberry Tree? The full-sized species - Arbutus unedo - gets about 10-15’ tall and wide at maturity. In its native habitat (Britain and the Mediterranean), Arbutus unedo usually grows as a multitrunked plant, but we also carry single-trunked specimens which make a really lovely small tree.

Arbutus flower and fruitWe have some planted on the north side of our house that have done wonderfully with no supplemental water after their first year and even survived the 7-degree winter with no damage! In extreme cold they will show some damage; so best to plant where they are not completely exposed to cold winds. The winter of 2013, where we got to zero degrees for several nights, proved fatal to some Arbutus and some rebounded after suffering damage on top.

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' is great in foundation plantings or hedges. You will be hard-pressed to find an evergreen shrub with more year-round interest - plus the hummingbirds will thank you for providing a much-needed winter nectar source!

Distylium

on Thursday, 09 December 2021. Posted in Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Winter Hazel

Distylium2Distylium isn’t a ‘household name’ sort of plant yet – but it should be! It offers Rogue Valley gardeners a great alternative to some of the standard (but often overused) evergreen shrubs like Boxwood, Raphiolepis, Holly, and Skip Laurel.

Not only is Distylium low-maintenance, drought tolerant, and deer resistant; but it also tolerates clay soils well, and is a lovely and graceful-looking shrub. Its leaves are a glossy, rich green and slightly elongated.

Distylium flowersDistylium is related to Witch Hazels (one of its common names is Winter Hazel), and like Witch Hazels they have tiny, exquisite reddish flowers that line the branches in late winter and early spring. They aren’t the sort of flowers that put on a show from a distance, but they’re delightful to see close-up!

Shooting Star Nursery carries several different varieties; giving you a nice range of options for size and shape. There’s basically a Distylium for virtually every place in your garden that needs an evergreen shrub! We generally have the following varieties in stock:

Distylium Emerald HeightsEmerald Heights: Dark green, glossy foliage. Compact with a rounded, spreading shape. 5’ x 5’.

Swing Low: The shortest of the Distylium varieties we carry – about 2-3’ tall by 4-6’ wide.

Vintage Jade: Lovely, layered-looking branches give it a gentle, graceful look (a quality not often associated with evergreen shrubs…). Grows into a spreading, mounded shape – about 3’ tall by 4’ wide.

Distylium LinebackerLinebacker: A taller variety (8-10’ tall by 6-8’ wide), making it a really nice option as a hedge plant. Upright and dense, new growth is reddish-orange, which gradually turns green as the leaves mature.

Distylium grows best in full sun to light shade. These plants are generally disease-free and very low maintenance. A bit of light tip-pruning once a year will help keep plants nice and dense, but even that’s not necessary!

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Dark Knight'

on Wednesday, 11 August 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Dark Knight Bluebeard

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This late summer bloomer goes by several common names - Bluebeard, Blue Spirea, Blue Mist - so we usually stick to calling it Caryopteris! Caryopteris is an easy, deer resistant, drought tolerant (but also tolerant of moist soils), and long blooming addition to your garden border. The plant in the photo is 'Dark Knight' which is a darker shade of periwinkle-blue from the common 'Blue Mist' variety. Both varieties put on a show with hundreds of flowers from July to frost, attracting honeybees and butterflies from all around.

Dark Knight2A low maintenance plant, Caryopteris can be kept at 2-3' tall and wide with a spring pruning but will get larger if left unpruned. We find that our winters do some tip pruning anyways so it is best to clean them up in spring when you see new leaves emerge and pruning right above them, which can sometimes be as low as 6" from the base. They quickly recover into a nice mounded shape, looking dense and uniform. So they are great for the maintenance person that loves to come in and hedge trim everything!

With its aromatic, lance shaped leaves, this shrub has proven to be quite deer resistant. The leaves have a blue/silver tinge that look great with other silvers like Artemesia or contrast with purple foliage like smokebush. We find Caryopteris to be drought tolerant because of its very deep taproot but can look lusher with regular water in well draining soil. Full sun is best and they will tolerate reflected heat.