Hardy, deciduous, North American shrub
Description: Clusters of tiny white, fragrant flowers in late spring to early summer; medium to dark green, toothed, ovate leaves; vigorous roots are red and fix nitrogen in the soil
Habit: Compact, upright, rounded shrub grows 3-4 feet high by 3-5 feet wide
Culture: Prefers full sun to part shade and medium to dry, well-drained soil; best in sandy or rocky soil; drought tolerant
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 4
Native to Eastern North America, “Jersey tea” was included in Jefferson’s list of shrubs for Monticello in 1771. While serving as Minister to France, Jefferson also requested that seeds of Ceanothus americanus be sent to him in Paris in 1786, along with plants and seeds of many other native American plants, to share with his French friends. The dried leaves of New Jersey Tea were used as a caffeine-free tea substitute by the colonists during the Revolutionary War period. The showy flowers can be used for cutting and attract hummingbirds and butterflies.