Plant Feature: Unusual Bark

Crape Myrtle

Genus: Lagerstroemia

This showy summer blooming tree can be grown with a single trunk or multiple branching limbs. With pruning crape myrtles can retain a compact form and dwarf varieties can be used as shrubs. Newly transplanted trees require weekly watering but mature trees tolerate heat and drought conditions well. White blossoms can appear spent more quickly than pink and lavender varieties.


Genus: Arctostaphylos

As an evergreen California native plant with strong visual interest, it is unfortunate that Manzanitas are not used more frequently in our gardenscapes. Manzanitas can be grown either as a shrubs or small trees. The twisting growth habit and distinctive red color of the limbs makes Manzanita excellent focal points. The plants attract butterflies and birds (including hummingbirds). Manzanita look great in rock gardens and do very well with little water once established. California gardeners will want to consider a variety that does well with local soil conditions.

Strawberry Tree

Genus: Arbutus Unedo

This small tree can be grown as a shrub or a multi-trunked tree. The Strawberry Tree which is sometimes called a cane apple, features small flowers and orange-red fruit. The tree retains a nice compact form with minimal pruning. These trees do well with only occasional watering once established. They do prefer a well draining soil. The tree is evergreen and has interesting bark which takes on a peeling effect. Strawberry trees attract birds.

Tea Tree

Genus: Leptospermum

Tea trees are are most often seen as bushes or hedges. Attractive small tree forms are developed with attentive pruning to remove the lowest branches. Pruning is also needed if a symmetrical form is desired. The tea tree trunk develops a fibrous appearance. Abundant small magenta or white flowers appear in the spring lasting through the summer. Water needs are low for established plants.