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Carpenteria Californica, superb white color

carpenteria californica

Carpenteria californica is a very beautiful spring-blooming shrub.

Core Carpenteria Californica facts

NameCarpenteria californica
Family – Hydrangeaceae
Type – flower shrub

 – 3 to 6 ½ feet (1 to 2 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary

– evergreen – Flowering – summer

Only the most up-to-date are aware of this plant, so here are the tips on how to grow Carpenteria californica.

Planting carpenteria californica

For the planting of carpenteria californica, it is preferable to proceed in spring in case your region has harsh winters.

In other, milder regions, plant in fall to favor root development and renewed growth in spring.

You can also plant carpenteria californica in pots outside of this period as long as you avoid both freezing temperatures and heat waves.

  • Carpenteria californica loves full sun.
  • It fares best in wind-sheltered spots which protect its blooming.
  • It likes rather rich and well drained soil, that is where it flowers best.
  • Adding soil conditioner such as manure and seaweed or fertilizer when planting enhances settling in and root development.
  • Water well during the first 2 years after planting.

Propagating Carpenteria californica

Carpenteria californica is easily multiplied by preparing cuttings from its sprigs in August, it is the simplest propagation method.

Cuttings from carpenteria californica are prepared in summer, when the wood is starting to harden, i.e., it isn’t quite green anymore but isn’t also yet brown.

  • Collect stems from the carpenteria californica that are about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long.
  • Remove the lower leaves so that only the topmost one or two pairs of leaves are left.
  • Plant the cuttings in special cutting soil mix or a blend of peat and river sand.
  • Maintain the moisture of the soil mix while ensuring that it isn’t drowning.

Protect your cuttings before winter

  • Protect your carpenteria californica cuttings with a tunnel greenhouse, a greenhouse or any other solution that is able to keep them at a temperature of 40°F (5°C).

Transplant in spring

  • When the last frosts are past, towards mid-May, transplant in nursery pots one size larger.
  • Planting your carpenteria californica cuttings in the ground will take place in the following fall.
  • Read also: understanding the technique for cuttings

Pruning and caring for carpenteria californica

With proper care, eventually guiding along a trellisOnce it feels at home, Carpenteria californica only requires very little care and the attention you must give it is reduced to the least. Notwithstanding this, you can of course prune it and water it to increase the flowering and growth.

Pruning carpenteria californica

  • Pruning carpenteria californica is best performed after the blooming.
  • Prune the sprigs of the year, by more or less ⅓, when the flowers have died off.
  • A pruned carpenteria californica will be more dense and will thus have a more abundant blooming.

Watering carpenteria californica and addition of fertilizer

Regular watering during the year of planting is recommended to speed root development up.

  • In summer, in case of heat wave or dry spell, you can water in the morning or in the evening.
  • Carpenteria californica hates waterlogged soil.

Specific needs of potted Carpenteria californica

  • Diseases and pests may infect carpenteria californicaFor potted Carpenteria californica, watering is called for as soon as the soil turns dry, because needs are higher than in full earth.
  • At the end of winter, adding flower shrub fertilizer will significantly increase the blooming.
  • In time, needs will increase as the plant develops, so you’ll have to renew this amendment 2 to 3 times during the year.

Learn more about carpenteria californica


Native to California, as its name shows, Carpenteria californica has a very bushy growth and a very beautiful blooming in spring which will last until the beginning of summer.

The first specimen was discovered in 1849 in the Sierra Nevada by the botanist Fremont, who named the plant in honor of William Carpenter, a notorious British botanist.

Carpenteria californica used in landscapingThis shrub is very ornamental and just as hardy down to about 9°F (-13°C), which makes it a very manageable shrub that is within reach of any gardener.

A unique and very prolific flower bearer, Carpenteria californica could quickly become one of the most remarkable shrubs in your garden or terrace.

Read also on shrubs:

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY 2.0: John Rusk, chuck b.
Public Domain: Miwok
CC BY-SA 2.0: David Short
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  • Charles Miller wrote on 1 May 2021 at 2 h 17 min

    How would carpenteria do in the heat and humidity and rainfall in the southeastern US?

    • Gaspard wrote on 1 May 2021 at 3 h 47 min

      As long as you have good drainage, it’ll do fine! Just take care not to plant it in a spot where water accumulates during and after thunderstorms. If you’re not sure whether drainage is sufficient, go ahead a set up a raised bed. That way, excess water is sure to drain away.