Native Garden

Ernest Righetti High School


Manzanita - Emerald Carpet

Category: Shrub
Family: Ericaceae (Heaths, Heathers)
Origin: California (USA)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring

Arctostaphylos 'Emerald Carpet' (Carpet Manzanita) - A low-growing shrub 10 to 16 inches tall and spreading to 3-6 feet wide. It is a very compact and dense plant with small glossy deep green leaves that nearly hide the attractive cinnamon red stems with exfoliating bark. Small white flowers appear in mid-winter through spring and are followed by red fruit - flowering is somewhat sparse on this cultivar but its attractive form and foliage makes up for this. This manzanita grows best in a rich, slightly acid and loamy well-draining soil. Requires occasional irrigation in southern California gardens. Hardy to about 15-20 degrees F. Good as a groundcover between a lawn and more drought tolerant plants or as a non-walkable lawn substitute. It is notable as being less inclinded to suffer leaf spots and die back than other manzanita when planted in heavier soils and given regular irrigation. 'Emerald Carpet' was first introduced into the trade by the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation in 1979 but it really is a Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Introduction. It was originally collected by Percy Everett of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, who noted when writing about it in 1969 that he had found it a few years prior while on a collecting trip to Haven's Neck, north of Gualala in Mendocino County and presummed it to be a hybrid between Arctostaphylos nummularia and A. uva-ursi. Everett described this plant as "a wonderfully uniform plant. Very thick in foliage. The leaf colour is a brilliant green all year." It was originally trialled at Rancho Santa Ana, first by Everett and later by John Dourley, but it was the garden director Lee Lenz who named it 'Emerald Carpet'. The name Arctostaphylos was given to the genus by the French (of Scottish descent) naturalist Michel Adanson (1707-1778), who first named the circumboreal Arctostaphylos uva-ursi for plants found in Europe. The name comes from the Greek words 'arktos' meaning "bear" and 'staphyle' meaning "grapes" in reference to bears eating the fruit and the common name Bearberry also references this fact.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Arctostaphylos 'Emerald Carpet'.

San Marcos GROWERS

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