Articles in Category: Shrubs

Vitex agnus-castus

on Tuesday, 20 July 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Chaste Tree

Vitex edThis drought tolerant Mediterranean native absolutely thrives here in the Rogue Valley! Vitex needs consistent heat in order to bloom profusely, and our long hot summers give them exactly what they like. From mid-summer into early fall, Vitex is covered with long spikes of flowers ranging in color from soft lavender to dark blue. The blooms slowly open from the base to the tips, eventually reaching up to 12 inches long and lasting at least 4 to 5 weeks; attracting bees and hummingbirds from far and wide.

VitexFlipSide editVitex’s fragrant leaves are very attractive in their own right. Their shape is similar to a lace leaf Japanese Maple; and are a lovely shade of soft blue-green. Most varieties are gray-green underneath, but Flip Side features a dark purple reverse – making them truly stunning in a breeze. As an extra bonus, the fragrance helps make this plant quite deer resistant.

One of the fun things about Vitex is that you can grow it into whatever form you like, multi-trunk or single trunk tree, or a large, broad shrub. The straight species, and varieties like Shoal Creek get about 10-15’ tall and wide. Varieties like Flip Side and Delta Blues are smaller – maybe 8-10’ tall and wide at maturity. Vitex bloom on new wood, so they take very well to a severe pruning, even all the way back to the ground if needed. We have also seen them be used successfully in large containers against hot walls and parking lots.

Vitex grow slower with drought conditions and grow fairly rapidly with regular water and richer soil, but will tolerate both conditions well. We have been very impressed with the cold hardiness and drought tolerance of these shrubs as well as their many uses. Vitex are one of the few choices for a small tree or large shrub that thrives in the heat and has lovely blooms late in the season!

Amelanchier

on Wednesday, 16 June 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Fall Color, Edible, Trees, Shrubs

Serviceberry or Juneberry

Amelanchier Autumn Brilliance flower

For those of you who are not already familiar with Amelanchiers - aka: Serviceberry, Juneberry, Saskatoon (they have a LOT of common names), let this serve as an introduction to what might well become your new favorite shrub/small tree!

Serviceberries are one of those rare plants that provide year-round interest here in the Rogue Valley. In the spring, this charming member of the Rose family is covered by clouds of white flowers that are a big favorite with pollinators.

Summer brings truly delicious blue-black berries (hence the name Juneberry) that taste like a cross between a blueberry and an apple, and are as popular with birds as they are with humans.

The fall color of Serviceberries – especially ‘Autumn Brilliance’ – rivals maples for color and intensity. And even when they drop their leaves, the branching pattern of Serviceberries provides nice visual interest in the winter garden.

They’re also relatively carefree and easy to grow, and do well in full sun to light shade with average water. Most Serviceberries are somewhat drought-tolerant at maturity, and will only need deep watering once or twice a month during the summer.

Shooting Star Nursery regularly carries three varieties of Amelanchier:

 Autumn Brilliance plant crop edit'Autumn Brilliance': We are absolutely in love with this plant! It works well as either a small single-trunked tree or large multi-trunk shrub, reaching about 15’ to 20’ tall and wide at maturity. As the name suggests, ‘Autumn Brilliance’ puts on a truly spectacular show of color in the fall. 

Spring Flurry edit‘Spring Flurry’ has more of an upright tree form (28’ tall by about 20’ wide) than Autumn Brilliance’. It has a strong, dominant central leader and is a great choice for a small street tree: low maintenance, abundant spring flowers, and nice fall color too.  is generally available in tree form. 

Our native western serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) is a bit smaller than the two cultivars listed above - generally reaching about 12' by 6' at maturity - and can be found growing right here in the Rogue Valley and surrounding areas. They bloom and fruit about a month later, are easy to care for, and are excellent wildlife-friendly plants: the berries are heavily visited by a variety of pollinators, birds love the berries, and the plants also provide nice nesting sites for songbirds.

Elaeagnus

on Tuesday, 18 May 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Berries Attract Wildlife, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

A Deer-Resistant, Evergreen Shrub!

elaeagnus fruitlandii leavesElaeagnus (pronounced “ellie agnus”) are a group of sturdy, fast-growing evergreen shrubs that are drought-tolerant once established, make a good addition to a firewise garden, and work beautifully as a screen or a hedge. Some species even fix nitrogen in the soil!

These qualities alone would make Elaeagnus a ‘must have’ plant in your garden. But what we really love about them is that they’re one of the very few evergreen shrubs we’ve found that seems able to resist the depredations of deer here in the Rogue Valley. Maybe it’s the tough leaves; maybe it’s the small thorns on the stems. But so far (knocking wood, fingers crossed…) deer mostly seem to leave them alone. 

E Fruitlandii flowerElaeagnus grow well in full sun or with a little light shade, but sun-grown plants will be fuller and denser. In fall, small cream-colored intensely fragrant flowers appear – followed by small reddish berries. The berries are generally too small for humans to bother with, but birds enjoy them. In fact, they’re a nice source of food that helps migrating and overwintering birds lay on a fat store to survive the winter months.

Shooting Star Nursery generally carries the following varieties of Elaeagnus:

‘Fruitlandii’ Rich olive-green leaves covered with small silver scales (shown above). Plants reach 6’ to 10’ tall and wide at maturity, but may be kept a bit smaller with careful pruning.

 

E. Clemson Variegated crop‘Clemson Variegated’ Lovely gold-centered leaves with dark green margins. About 10’ by 10’ at maturity.

 

 

E. Gilt Edge‘Gilt Edge’ Coloring is the reverse of ‘Clemson Variegated’; dark green leaves with rich gold edges. Smaller than the two varieties above – roughly 5’ tall and wide at maturity.

 

Elaegnus‘Hosoba Fukurin’ Similar to ‘Gilt Edge’, but the leaves have cream-colored margins rather than golden yellow ones. 4-'5 tall and wide, with extremely fragrant autumn flowers.

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Rotundifolius'

on Wednesday, 28 April 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shrubs, Flowering Plants

Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus (False Holly)

osmanthus_rotundifolia

This is one evergreen shrub that looks great all year round. No leaf spot, no diseases or weird pests, no old brown leaves - just glossy, thick leaves that start out light green and darken to a beautiful holly-like blue green.

The Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus is very easy to grow and seems to be happy in any location. We have one planted on the east, west, and north sides of buildings and all seem to be thriving. It wouldn't necessarily be our first choice for a hot spot against a south wall, but they do seem to acclimate to where they are placed and will even tolerate clay soil.

Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus will be more drought tolerant in a shadier location, but our established ones are rudely ignored and haven't complained. A thick mulch layer will help any evergreen shrub - or any plant for that matter - retain moisture and withstand the changes in temperature. This variety of Osmanthus is hardy to Zone 6 and has shown no winter damage through Rogue Valley winters. Like most Osmanthus it produces small, white, fragrant flowers, typically in the fall.

Rounded Hollyleaf Osmanthus will get about 4'x4', but can be pruned a bit tighter. It is not fast growing but puts on steady growth each year and won't overrun it's location. It is a great foundation plant or background for showier perennials. If the spines of Hollies are not your favorite this could be a good substitute since the rounded leaves only have slight spines - nothing to cause damage to the pruning gardener.

It can be deer resistant once established since it has thick, leathery leaves. But in heavy deer country it can have a hard time getting settled if the deer constantly eat the new growth. So cage it until it can get big enough to withstand the occasional deer browsing or test it out first - it seems to depend on the deer population on this one.