Plant of the Month – November 2014

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Creosote may be among the least appreciated but valuable landscape plants in the Southwest. As perhaps the most drought-tolerant plant in North America, it will thrive in your yard with just occassional water, producing flowers most of the year.

Creosote may be among the least appreciated but most valuable landscape plants in the Southwest. As perhaps the most drought-tolerant plant in North America, it will thrive in your yard with just occassional water, producing flowers most of the year.

Creosote

Larrea tridentata

 

  • Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 6’ tall & 8’ wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Peak bloom Spring & Winter (Nov – May); sporadic rest of year
  • Native to: California, Utah, Arizona, to W. Texas and Mexico below 3,500 feet
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 5°F

 

Creosote survives on its own in the hottest, driest deserts of the southwest US, but when invited into a landscaped setting, this open-branching plant will surprise you as it will become a more full, rounded shrub with dense foliage. Sometimes called greasewood, this very long-lived, aromatic shrub is what gives the desert its distinctive smell after a rain. Lemon yellow flowers or fuzzy white seeds may appear most of the year, although Creosote blooms most profusely in spring. Although it needs no water after its established, extra summer water will speed up growth, but overwatering or fertilizer will kill it. Creosote can be pruned into a multiple-trunk, tree-like form, or trimmed like a hedge to stimulate denser branching and more lush foliage. A great evergreen screen or border hedge, or as an accent for xeriscape and cactus gardens.

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