Monday, January 2, 2012

Arizona Native Trees and Shrubs That Grow 10 Feet High or Less

When you are looking for low-growing trees and shrubs, those growing under ten feet in height, there are many to choose from. If you are looking to be better to the environment by finding native trees and shrubs that fall into that category, that’s even better. For those in Arizona, these are the native trees and shrubs that will grow under 10 feet tall for your hardiness zones.

Aloysia gratissima

Common Name: Whitebrush, Bee-brush, Privet Lippia, Beebrush

Lifespan: Perennial

Description: Growing up to 10 feet high, this vanilla-scented plant has small white flowers on spikes and green clustered leaves. Bloom season from March to November. Bark is light gray and there may be sharp-tipped branches. Fruits are drupes, small, and have two nutlets.

Planting Guide: Aloysia gratissima prefers sun or partial shade and moist rocky soils. It does fine in limestone soils as well as sandy or clay soils. It is drought tolerant.

Propagation: Whitebrush is propagated by seed and softwood cuttings. Softwood cuttings from tips taken in spring or first part of summer are best, cut just before a node. Seed can be collected in summer and stored without treatment until spring.

History: This tree can be pruned and made into a small tree or hedge. It is a plant that both wildlife browse and honey is made from. It does well as a cover plant and a nesting plant for birds and small animals.

Warnings: It can form a base of stems that become a thicket.

Distribution: Aloysia gratissima is found in AZ, NM and TX.

Forestiera pubescens

Common Name: Stretchberry, Spring Herald, Elbow Bush

Lifespan: Perennial

Description: This shrub grows 5 to 10 feet high with arched branches and opposite leaves. Flowers are yellow and in small clusters, blooming between January and March. Dark blue fruits are fleshy. Branches help name this as an elbow bush due to their right angles.

Planting Guide: Forestiera pubescens prefers any type of lighting and any type of soil. It is very adaptable and drought tolerant.

Propagation: Stretchberry is propagated by cuttings.

History: It attracts birds and butterflies, especially hairstreak butterflies.

Warnings: To make into a dense shrub, much pruning will need to be done.

Distribution: Forestiera pubescens is found in AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, OK, TX and UT.

Justicia californica

Common Name: Hummingbird Bush, Chuparosa, Beloperone

Synonyms: Beloperone californica

Lifespan: Perennial

Description: This twiggy shrub grows up to 6 feet high and 12 feet wide. Oval leaves are gray-green with succulent green stems. Flowers are tubular and showy, in colors of red, yellow or orange. Bloom season is between March and June.

Planting Guide: Justicia californica prefers dry rocky soils and full sun conditions. It can also grow in spots with some standing water.

Propagation: Hummingbird bush is propagated by seed. Seed can be sown without any treatment prior to planting.

History: This is a larval host plant for the Texan crescentspot (Anthanassa texana) butterfly.

            One of the common names, Chuparosa, is “hummingbird” in Spanish, due to the attraction hummingbirds have for the plant.

Warnings: While native to desert washes, it does not tolerate a desert drought.

Distribution: Justicia californica is found in AZ and CA.


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