Alphabetical Plant Listing

Capparis spinosa (Caper)

Caper


Enjoying a long history of human use as a food and a medicine, Capparis spinosa (Caper) is an erect or sprawling, thorny, evergreen shrub with attractive white flowers, 2-3 in. across (5-7 cm), adorned with showy brushes of purple stamens. Blooming profusely from late spring to early fall, the blossoms are borne on long pedicils rising from the leaf axils. They last one day, opening at dawn and closing in late afternoon. The unopened buds of these flowers are the culinary capers which are enjoyed world-wide as garnishes or as ingredients to sauces, butters, salads, fish, meats, pizza toppings and hors d’oeuvres. Unpicked buds open to flowers which are followed by oblong, edible fruits known as caperberries. Caperberries and young shoots with leaves may also be picked and pickled for use as a condiment. The foliage of small, round to ovate, dark green leaves, 2 in. long (5 cm), is evergreen.

  • Grows up to 2-3 ft. tall (60-90 cm) and 3-6 ft. wide (90-180 cm).
  • Easily grown in lean, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Thrives in poor, dry, rocky or sandy soils in hot sun. Requires little watering once established. Drought tolerant.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Heavy annual pruning is crucial to high production since the flower buds are produced on the current year's growth.
  • Propagate from cuttings or seed. Seeds are slow to sprout and grow.
  • Native to Southern Eurasia, Australia.

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 10
Climate Zones 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spacing 60" – 72" (150cm – 180cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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By Stphanie Crocq, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 10
Climate Zones 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spacing 60" – 72" (150cm – 180cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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