Spice up that Native Garden


Calycanthus occidentalis or ‘Spice Bush’ is native to the west coast from Washington to the Bay Area.
Spice Bush is named for the wonderful scent of its leaves which are reminiscent of oak barrels soaked in burgundy.  The bark and branches give off a powerful camphor scent as well.  All things considered this small tree or shrub (if pruned) is an olfactory delight.  Leaves turn a wonderful reddish color before falling off.  This is a tough California Native, excellent as a seasonal hedge, good as a container plant and particularly well suited for a ‘small tree effect’ in a tiny native plant garden.  Also plant as part of an armory of pest insect repelling plants, her red flowers attract beneficials, her oils and scents repel pests!

Plant in full sun or light shade in gardens close to the bay or if you live in East of the Caldecott Tunnel, plant in part sun under Oaks, Sumacs and Sycamore.
Expect 3′-9′ (+/-) and water to establish or water to support in a drought. Once established she is tolerant of California’s long natural dry season