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The John Dourley manzanita is one of the most garden adapted manzanita cultivars for Inland Empire gardens. It grows into a small to medium size evergreen shrub that first develops for several years as a low spreading plant with a twisting branching habit. As it matures it forms a mounding shape, growing 3-4 ft. tall and 5-6 ft. across. New growth is bright orange-red; mature foliage becomes pale blue-green. Small clusters of deep pink flowers accent the plant in early spring, followed by colorful reddish berries that develop and persist on the branches for several months.

John Dourley manzanita is attractive at all stages of growth and age; young plants have a mat-like form and mature plants develop interesting branching and bark character. Avoid extremely hot and sunny afternoon areas when planting in valley and foothill areas. This cultivar can be grown on banks, in raised planters, along borders and in containers to show off its foliage, flower and fruit characteristics.

Water Needs

The John Dourley manzanita is well adapted to normal winter rains and periodic summer irrigation. Established plants grow well with periodic deep irrigation in the summer. Manzanitas are 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 marked 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 stems 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"

  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: Spreading, Mounding
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.
Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green, Blue green
Flower Color: Pink, White
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay, Acidic soil
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Hummingbird plant, Foundations, California native, Borders


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).



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