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.
(Vinca minor* and cvs.)
Photo: Steve Aitken
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