UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'

ark-toe-STAF-i-los den-si-FLOR-us
Common Name
Manzanita 'Howard McMinn'
Plant Type
Mature Size
5-7 ft tall x 6-10 ft wide
Water Requirements
Very Low: water deeply several times a summer
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun
Flower Color
Whitish pink
  • Bees
  • Butterflies
  • Other birds
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

California native Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' is reputed to be the manzanita most tolerant of typical garden conditions. Manzanitas in general need excellent drainage. In heavy clay soils, be careful not to over water or over fertilize.

If the tips of Arctostaphylos branches are pruned, this large shrub will become very dense and make a good privacy screen. At the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, we have chosen instead to remove the interior stems and leaves to expose the interesting red bark. This is a good approach if you want the shrub to be more of a focal point instead of a background plant.

We planted three 'Howard McMinn' manzanitas at the entrance of the Water Wise Garden. They have struggled there over the years. Damaged by foot traffic and the occasional joy rider, they have not lived up to their reputation. Now, they are receiving too much shade as the oak trees reach overhead. How much longer will we keep them?

Top of page

Webmaster Email: webmaster-mgsantaclara@ucanr.edu