Closeup of Oceanspray flowers (Holodiscus discolor) - native Oregon shrub. One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Closeup of Oceanspray flowers (Holodiscus discolor) - native Oregon shrub. One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Young Oceanspray shrub (Holodiscus discolor). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Closeup of Oceanspray leaves (Holodiscus discolor) - native Oregon shrub. One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Oceanspray

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Holodiscus discolor

Oceanspray is a large, fast-growing and carefree shrub with a vase-shaped form and lilac-like cascading clusters of creamy white flowers that droop from the branches and attract beneficial insects to the garden all summer long. The flowers are pollinated by insects and evolve into small, hairy fruits, each containing one seed, which is light enough to be dispersed by wind. 

  • Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, large shrub 
  • Size at maturity: 10-16' tall, 8-7' wide
  • Light requirements: full sun to mostly shady (intolerant of deep shade)
  • Moisture requirements: moist to dry soil
  • Bloom time: May - August
  • Growth rate/ease: fast growing, easy to grow
  • Wildlife support: attracts and provides nectar source for adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators, attracts and supports beneficial and other pest-eating insects, caterpillar host plant and larval food source, provides good cover for birds, small mammals and amphibians, such as the Pacific Treefrog. 
  • Native habitat/range: common in a variety of habitats from wet to dry open forests that are often dominated by Douglas Fir, to coastal bluffs and disturbed areas such as logged or burned areas and roadsides
  • Special features & uses: hedgerows, erosion control, flowers and leaves are medical. Also referred to as “iron wood” due to the strength of its branch, which become stronger when put through fire and polished with horsetail. Native people traditionally use the branches as bows, arrows, spears, digging implements, fire tongs, fishing hooks, harpoons, nails, knitting needles, furniture and small utensils and hand tools.

Gardening with Oceanspray: Oceanspray grows quickly and successfully in a wide range of conditions, though it doesn’t like deep shade. It is not picky about soil type nor soil nutrients and is drought-tolerant once established, making it ideal for drier, lowest maintenance areas of a landscape. It is naturally vase-shaped and can be further pruned-up to allow for walking paths beside it and/or planting underneath. Try it in the more open, sunny areas of your woodland garden, next to a building or along a path, in a hedgerow or on slopes for erosion control.

 

Photo Credit 1: "File:Holodiscus discolor in flower.jpg" by ThayneT is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo Credit 2: "Creambush or Ocean Spray" by nordique is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Photo Crediti 3 & 4: Tara Lemezis, Tiny Seed Photography