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The Lester Rowntree manzanita grows into a medium to large shrub with a mounding habit, 8-10 ft. tall and 10-15 ft. wide. It has attractive colorful pink flowers and new foliage growth with reddish tips during the winter; mature leaves are slate gray-green. Large clusters of red-blushed fruit mature in early spring and are among the most attractive of the manzanitas.

Lester Rowntree manzanita has the potential of becoming an attractive garden specimen plant that needs 8-10 years of growth to attain some size and caliper to its trunks and stems. Mature plants can be pruned to reveal dark purple-red bark that is a strong contrast to its blue-gray foliage. Like other manzanitas, this cultivar does best in well-drained soils and with low amounts of summer water. It is well adapted to both sun and partial shade locations in most garden settings.

Water Needs

The Lester Rowntree manzanita grows best on well drained soils with normal winter rains and low amounts of supplemental water during summer. Young plants will grow faster with moderate amounts of water during dry winter spells; 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 understory of the plant 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: Moderate
Height: 8 ft. - 10 ft.
Width: 10 ft. - 15 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Flower Color: Pink
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Acidic soil
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Screening, Hummingbird plant, Foundations, California native


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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