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Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey Tea)

New Jersey Tea, Indian Tea, Mountain Sweet, Wild Pepper, Walpole Tea, Wild Snowball, Redroot, Ceanothus americanus var. intermedius, Ceanothus americanus var. pitcheri, Ceanothus intermedius

Ceanothus americanus, New Jersey Tea, Indian Tea, Mountain Sweet, Wild Pepper, Walpole Tea, Wild Snowball, Redroot, Fragrant Shrubs, Evergreen Shrubs

Low-growing, Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey Tea) is a bushy, upright, deciduous shrub boasting oval clusters of tiny, fragrant, white flowers in spring. Lasting over a moderately extended period, they rise from the leaf axils at the end of the new shoots. The flowers are a nectar source for hummingbirds, butterflies, and native bees. The foliage of broad-ovate, rich, glossy green leaves, 4 in. long (10 cm), with gray, hairy undersides, may develop yellowish hues in the fall. The dried leaves of this nitrogen-fixing shrub were considered one of the best substitutes for tea during the American Revolution. Extremely adaptable, this North American native species can withstand inhospitable conditions, including infertile, dry soils. A great shrub for use as a groundcover on banks and slopes and a nice addition to a butterfly garden.

  • Grows up to 3-4 ft. tall (90-120 cm) and 3-5 ft. wide (90-150 cm).
  • Thrives in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to partial shade. Best in sandy loams or rocky soils with excellent drainage. Drought and dry soil tolerant.
  • Excellent plant for sunny areas, banks, and slopes, shrub borders, or native plant gardens.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for leaf spots and powdery mildew.
  • Easy to grow, this plant is difficult to transplant once established.
  • Propagate by seed (cold stratified for one month), semi-hardwood cuttings, and softwood cuttings.
  • Native to the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada, west to Manitoba, Missouri, and Louisiana.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Rhamnaceae
Genus Ceanothus
Common names California Lilac, Wild Pepper, Indian Tea, New Jersey Tea
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Height 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 48" - 60"
(120cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Midwest, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Northeast, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Southeast, Southwest, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders, Ground Covers
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Ceanothus integerrimus (Deerbrush)
Ceanothus oliganthus (Hairy Ceanothus)
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus (Carmel Ceanothus)
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue Blossom)
Ceanothus cuneatus (Buckbrush)
Ceanothus ‘Remote Blue’ (Mountain Lilac)

Recommended Companion Plants

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
Liatris aspera (Rough Blazing Star)
Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)
Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot)
Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower)
Sorghastrum nutans (Indian Grass)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

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Ceanothus (California Lilac)
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.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Rhamnaceae
Genus Ceanothus
Common names California Lilac, Wild Pepper, Indian Tea, New Jersey Tea
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Height 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 48" - 60"
(120cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Midwest, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Northeast, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Southeast, Southwest, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders, Ground Covers
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Ceanothus (California Lilac)
Not sure which Ceanothus (California Lilac) to pick?
Compare Now

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