Plant of the Month – Jan. 2018

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Coffeeberry-plant-0723-RK

Besides being drought-resistant, fire-resistant, and resisting browsing by rabbits, this tidy, evergreen, California native is versatile as either a hedge, screen, border, ground cover, or bank stabilizer — and works in large containers.

Coffeeberry
Frangula californica

  • Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 5-12 ft. tall and wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring – Summer (May-July)
  • Native to: California, southwest Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, northern Baja (below 7000 feet)
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

Coffeeberry is touted as looking “trimmed without trimming”, although this tidy evergreen does take pruning well. This long-lived California native, also known as California Buckthorn, grows naturally in a wide range of habitats, with many available varieties, so check with your local nursery to find the one that best fits your climate. While commonly growing in chaparral and woodland habitats just above our deserts, it performs well in high deserts if given filtered or afternoon shade, and water once a week for its first year. Coffeeberry’s fruits contain seeds that resemble coffee beans. Its light-green, 2 to 4-inch-long leaves mature to a leathery dark green. Inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers in spring produce showy berries that are green, then red, and finally ripen to black, when they are relished by birds. Coffeeberry is fire resistant, resists browsing by rabbits and deer, and makes a great hedge, screen, border, ground cover, or bank stabilizer, and performs well in large containers.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for January