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01.02.2015 admin
This week wraps up our series on using drought tolerant plants to achieve certain sorts of landscapes, from tropical to Spanish to modern.
In previous posts, we learned that a Spanish garden is much more about the species of plants (those that come from the Mediterranean) like olives, rosemary, lavender and citrus, while a modern landscape is more about the form and use of plants – vertical, globe, geometric and repetition.
A second must-have for the Asian garden is conifers – both upright (3) and spreading (4). Asian gardens are also recognized by the open form and exposed, often twisted trunks of small trees and shrubs like the iconic Japanese maple.
Deep purples are also an attribute of the Japanese garden, often provided by maples, but which can be had in grasses like the pennisetum (2) and smoke tree (6) above. We are a locally owned and operated retail nursery and garden center based in North Park, San Diego. This week, we continue our series on drought tolerant plants for certain styles of landscape, in partnership with Mooch Exterior Designs. Gardeners who want a burst of crimson color in fall should learn how to grow a burning bush (Euonymus alatus).
The arching stems are decorated with clusters of finely pointed leaves that droop appealingly from the branch. You can plant a dwarf form of the bush in small spaces or to minimize maintenance, especially since the plant’s 15-foot height may be too great for some landscape applications. Burning bush grows well in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 to 8 but can become invasive in the warmer ranges. There is little to know about caring for burning bush, as this plant is versatile and hardy.

Burning bush care also includes occasional pruning to keep the size down and remove any broken or damaged branches. Click on any of the images below to see a slideshow of this garden design with a Mediterranean feel. We’re ending with an exploration of the perfect low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plants for Asian-themed lanscapes, be they a Chinese zen garden or Japanese oasis.
The Asian landscape falls somewhere in between – it is important to use both certain kinds of plants and shapes of plants to achieve the desired result.
They provide lushness, movement, texture and color all for very little water and maintenance. Bonsai’d trees can act as statement or specimen trees in the landscape and can be purchased that way or pruned to suite your personal needs. Because Japanese maples require a lot of water and shade, they are not ideal selections for the drought-tolerant or Southern California garden. Excellent choices are Japanese mock orange (Pittosporum tobira, 7) and Rhaphiolepis indica. Call our friends at Mooch Exterior Designs, or stop by North Park Nursery to pick up all the supplies you’ll need!
The plant is also called winged Euonymous because of the ridges that arise on young burning bush growth.
Burning bush plants may get 9 to 15 feet tall and are suitable for full sun to partial sun locations.
However, when growing burning bush, it’s best to place the shrub in sites with excellent drainage but lightly moist soil.

The natural shape of the bush is appealing, so pruning is not necessary, but if you wish to trim the plant, do so in very early spring before leaves appear.
Ophiopogon japonicus (1) and Pennisetum orientale (2) are excellent choices as their names imply. Many conifers are drought tolerant including junipers (4), cypress and false cypress as well as certain species of pine such as Pinus nigra (3), Pinus eldarica, Pinus halapensis and even California native pines like Pinus radiata and Pinus torreyana.
However, there are some excellent alternatives, including various types of upright manzanitas (5) with their beautiful, peeling orange-red bark, and smoke trees (Cotinus coggygria, 6) with their deep purple leaves and multiple slender trunks.
Native to Asia, this large bush has a natural open form that shows well in borders, beds and even containers. The plant produces only on early flush of new growth in spring, so you should apply fertilizer very early to maximize the effect. Care of burning bush is minimal too, which makes the plant an excellent choice for even novice gardeners.
They are sucking insects that can reduce the vigor of the plant if they are in large populations.

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