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Description

The Bigberry manzanita is native to the coastal and inland foothills of California from the Bay Area to Mexico. It is one of the largest of our native manzanitas and commonly grows into a distinctive evergreen shrub with pale gray-green foliage color, mahogany-brown bark and a bold branching structure. Plants have a mounding form, 12-15 ft. high, 15-20 ft. wide. Clusters of showy white flowers occur in spring to be followed by hard 1/2 in. diameter red-brown berries.

Throughout its natural range, Bigberry manzanita is a member of the chaparral plant community where it is adapted to areas having excellent drainage, moist winters and long and dry summers with extended periods of heat and drought.

Bigberry manzanita is a striking plant that needs ample space to grow and works best as a specimen plant in dry garden settings. It requires good drainage and needs little or no summer water once established. It is well suited to inland foothills and valley zones in the Inland Empire in full sun and with warm temperatures.

Water Needs

The Bigberry manzanita grows well with normal winter rains and carefully managed summer irrigation. This species of manzanita is quite vulnerable to disease problems when summer irrigation produces moist soil and leaf litter conditions that enable active fungi and bacteria growth.

The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; it is desirable to have leaf litter and the top layer of soil beneath the plant canopy to dry out between irrigation applications.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Spreading, Mounding
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 12 ft. - 15 ft.
Width: 15 ft. - 20 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Blue green
Flower Color: Pink, White
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Acidic soil
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Aridity, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Slopes, Hummingbird plant, California native

Maintenance

In general Manzanitas do not need much pruning. Carefully select the right species or cultivar for a fully mature size that fits your space well. Carefully thin or "skirt up" manzanitas to expose beautiful branches in November, after risk of sunburn from long summer days has passed (1). Manzanitas occasionally get bright red growths on the edges of leaves. This is manzanita leaf gall aphid, a small insect that causes the plant to create this reaction. It is generally not threatening in healthy plants, but can spread. Growth affected by leaf gall aphid may be pruned out after winter-spring flowering (4).

References

Associations

Plant Lists