Viability of Sunset manzanita in part shade?

OregonGrapeNovember 4, 2013

I was wondering if anybody in the Pac NW has had any success with Arctostaphylos 'Sunset' in partial shade conditions. The reason I ask is that I'm seeing conflicting reports on its sunlight requirements (most call for sun/part sun, but a few say that part shade is fine).

I'm reflexively skeptical of any claim that a manzanita will do well in less than 4 hours of full sun. Especially since many of these claims come from CA, where they get a lot more sun than we do. However, Sunset's lineage (A. pajaroensis x A. hookeri) suggests that there may be some merit to the partial shade claim. A. hookeri 'Wayside' is well-known as a good understory shrub. Some of the A. pajaroensis cultivars also reportedly do well in light to partial shade.

Anyway, if anybody has any insight into Sunset's shade tolerance, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

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George Three LLC

i don't have any particular insight into 'sunset', but I would add that many sources consider air circulation to be a consideration for Arctostaphylos as well.

if i were to place sunset in part shade, i would pick a large specimen and make sure to keep it far from other plants and prune branch structure loose.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 2:39PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The main general problem with manzanitas (including the locally native hairy manzanita as well as kinnikinnick) in the PNW is them turning black - I would always plant in the hottest, sunniest and most ventilated part of the property, so that the amount of time the leaves are damp is minimized as much as possible.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 3:34PM
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Thanks for the replies. Air circulation is definitely important, especially when temperatures begin to rise in the spring. The partial shade spot that I'm thinking of is against the west side of my garage, and air circulation may be more limiting here than the relative shade.

A. columbiana (the straight species, at least) is surprisingly leaf spot-prone in cultivation, even when it's in nearly-ideal conditions. Many of the A. densiflora selections from NorCal (Howard McMinn, Harmony, Sentinel) do much better up here.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 4:21PM
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George Three LLC

columbiana is also surprisingly leaf spot prone in its native habitat.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 9:52PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I have one that was given to me a long time ago. I have no idea of the variety. I shear the top once in awhile to keep it in scale with the surrounding plantings. It is getting more and more shade as the years go by, but I'm about ready to remove some over planted 'Nootkas' and change that. Looking east.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 11:18AM
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Thanks, Mike. Nice-looking foliage!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 5:15PM
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