Alphabetical Plant Listing

Chamaebatiaria millefolium (Fernbush)

Desert Sweet, Fernbush, Tansy Bush


Noted for its lacy foliage and profuse flower clusters, Chamaebatiaria millefolium (Fernbush) is a densely branched, aromatic shrub boasting a profusion of small, showy, creamy-white flowers in mid summer to fall. The blossoms are magnets for bees and butterflies. The twice-pinnately compound foliage resembles minute fern fronds and is particularly attractive. It is pleasantly aromatic when brushed against. The silvery gray leaves and fragrant flowers are clustered at the ends of the branches. The flowers give way to ornamental seed heads that ripen to bronze. Evergreen in mild climates, Fernbush drops its leaves in cooler areas, revealing the beautiful smooth cinnamon bark. Native to the western states from California through to Arizona and Northern New Mexico’s scrublands, woodlands and forests, Fernbush requires little to no maintenance and is virtually pest and disease free. It is a good choice for harsh dry areas as an accent or specimen plant. It is also perfect for the sunny border where it can be paired with other drought-tolerant perennials and grasses.

  • Grows up to 3-6 ft. tall and wide (90-180 cm).
  • A full sun lover, this plant is easily grown in moderate to xeric, well-drained soils. Grows well on gravel, sandy loam, loam, and clay loam soils. Drought tolerant once established, however it is recommended to provide periodic deep watering during hot, dry spells to maintain the density of its foliage.
  • Low maintenance, this plant needs little pruning. Prune moderately in early winter to encourage bushier growth.
  • No serious pest and disease issues. Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by seed. Hormone treated cuttings will also increase the plant. Clumps may be divided while the plant is dormant.
  • Desert sweet is distributed from Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming, south through eastern California, Nevada, Utah, and northern Arizona.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 7
Heat Zones 4 – 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spacing 36" – 72" (90cm – 180cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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Jim Morefield, Joe Decruyenaere, Matt Lavin, Brewbooks, Flickr

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 4 – 7
Heat Zones 4 – 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spacing 36" – 72" (90cm – 180cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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