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Regional Picks: Plant This, Not That – Northeast

Fine Gardening - Issue 153

new jersey tea
Photo: Jerry Pavia
Japanese spirea

Overused: Japanese spirea

(Spiraea japonica* cvs.)

1. New Jersey Tea

Name: Ceanothus americanus

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8

Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

New Jersey tea is a small, attractive, deer-resistant summer-flowering shrub that won’t reseed itself like the popular—but invasive—Japanese spirea. In midsummer, large white puffs of honey-scented blooms cover this Northeast native, attracting butterflies and pest-eating predatory insects. Drought tolerant, it grows in poor, rocky soils without any fuss or fertilizer. Use it in foundation plantings or perennial beds where you don’t want too much height. A hard winter pruning every few years keeps it neat and tidy but is not necessary.


Photo: Joshua McCullough

Overused: Periwinkle

(Vinca minor* and cvs.)

Photo: Steve Aitken

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