Alphabetical Plant Listing

Larrea tridentata (Creosote Bush)

Creosote Bush, Greasewood, Hediondilla, Governadora, Guamis


Delicate and graceful in form, Larrea tridentata (Creosote Bush) is an evergreen shrub of open-branching habit with slender, erratic stems bearing tiny, resinous, dark green leaves composed of 2 leaflets. Very aromatic when wet, they perfume the air with an intriguing and refreshing desert aroma. A profusion of small, yellow, velvety flowers bloom on and off throughout the year. They are followed by fluffy seeds covered with shiny white or rusty hairs that facilitate wind dispersal. A dominant shrub in hot and dry desert areas, Creosote Bush is incredibly tolerant of drought, saline or alkaline soils. It reproduces by seed and also by sending up new shoots from the roots. A single creosote plant may live one thousand years (!) and form large rings of clones. Creosote Bush is a great choice for desert gardens or water-wise gardens. Use it as a screen or border hedge or in mixed plantings.

  • Grows up to 4-8 ft. tall and wide (120-240 cm). Will grow taller and denser with water, but overwatering kills the plant.
  • Performs best in full sun, in rocky, sandy or gravelly soils. Needs supplemental water once a month in summer. Drought tolerant.
  • Great for waterwise gardens, foundation plantings, rock gardens.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies and birds but is deer resistant. Keep an eye out for the Creosote Gall Midge.
  • Lightly head back to encourage a more rounded growth.
  • Propagate by scarified seeds soaked in water. Seeds germinate slowly.
  • Native to California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico.

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Requirements

Hardiness 7 – 11
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 4' – 8' (120cm – 240cm)
Spread 4' – 8' (120cm – 240cm)
Spacing 96" (240cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Rocky Mountains, Utah, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage

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By Joshua Tree National Park, Andrey Zharkikh (Flickr), IrinaK (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 7 – 11
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 4' – 8' (120cm – 240cm)
Spread 4' – 8' (120cm – 240cm)
Spacing 96" (240cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Rocky Mountains, Utah, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage

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