Holodiscus discolor | Oceanspray
Oceanspray shrub, also known as Creambush, Cream Bush, Ironwood, or Mountain Spray is a large, fast-growing and carefree shrub with a vase-shaped form. Both Oceanspray and Creambush refer to its cascading, creamy-white flower clusters, and it is called Ironwood due to the strength of its wood.
There are up to ten species of Holodiscus, all native to the Americas, however only two species are recognized by the USDA in North America: Holodiscus discolor and H. dumosus. They range from southern British Columbia to southern California, east to western Montana, Colorado and Arizona.
Holodiscus discolor can be recognized by its oval to triangular leaves that resemble those of Currant or Gooseberry. They are green on the upper surface, and paler beneath. Oceanspray shrub usually has several main stems with brownish peeling bark and branches that arch gracefully outward, displaying cascading clusters of creamy white to blush colored flowers in June-July, which add charm to a garden with its attractive, small, lobed leaves and graceful, arching habit.
Oceanspray grows on dry to moist, open forests or coastal bluffs and is common in open, disturbed areas, such as logged or burned areas and roadsides. It is more tolerant of sun than many other natives, is not picky about soil type, and is drought-tolerant once established, making it ideal for drier, low maintenance areas of the landscape. It is even capable of surviving on the side of freeways without any extra water.
Holodiscus discolor ranges from just 3 feet tall in harsh, cold and windy sites, to 10-16 feet in open coastal forests, but most often grow 5-10 feet in height. Ours has reached 4 ft in 3 years in an exposed, windy site. It is a good choice for a sunny woodland garden, near the back of a shrub bed, or next to a building. It does exceedingly well on dry slopes and at the edge of deciduous forests of alder and cascara. It can also stand alone as a feature plant in a garden, or at the back of a border. Does fine in part shade, but does not do well in full shade. Plants rarely live longer than 30 years.
Provides good cover for birds, small mammals and amphibians, such as the Pacific Treefrog.
Seeds may require a 120 day cold-stratification period, and will germinate readily and abundantly after the stratification requirement is met. However, lower germination percentages may be possible without stratification.
Sun exposure: Part shade to full sun.
Mature height: 8-16 ft
Mature width: 6-8 ft
Hardiness zones: 3-9