Species Profile New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

It’s finally here! The weather has taken a turn for the better, and that means that Southern Ontarians are looking forward to (optimistically) five months of beautiful, bright, sunny days to spend out in their gardens. To celebrate this, we’ve selected a plant that does best in full sun conditions to showcase as our May Species of the Month. The gorgeous New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) will bloom into a beautiful white flower in the proper conditions, and is the perfect way to say, “bring on the sun!”


New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) can grow to be between three to four feet high, and will spread across image of: new jersey teathree to five feet, making itself a great plant to cover some ground in your garden. It performs best in dry soil, shallow, rocky soil, or in drought conditions, so it truly doesn’t need that much water to thrive. What this plant does need, however, is sun. New Jersey Tea will soak up sunlight all day long, and in return, will produce beautiful, showy, white flowers that will add a lovely fragrance to your garden as well.

Did We Say Dry?

That’s right, New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well drained soils. The reason for this is that New Jersey Tea has thick, woody, red roots that go deep in to the soil and help the plant withstand overly dry conditions. Make sure you know exactly where you want to plant it though. Once these roots set up shop New Jersey Tea becomes very difficult to transplant.

What’s In a Name?

New Jersey Tea is a dense, rounded shrub that blooms cylindrical clusters of tiny white flowers on long stalks at the stem ends. It starts to bloom in late spring, and young twigs are noticeably yellow and stand out in the winter. Dried leaves from the plant were used as a tea substitute (without caffeine) during the American Revolutionary War, which is where the plant’s common name, New Jersey Tea, comes from. The plant also works wonderfully as a cut flower.

Pollinators Will Thank You

As is the case with many plants that we write about at St. Williams, New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) image of: Ceanothus americanusattracts pollinators. While we’ll be the first to point out the importance of saving the bees, New Jersey Tea tends to attract hummingbirds and butterflies first, so if you’re interested in a picturesque garden rich with colourful, fluttering butterflies and adorable hummingbirds, then you should seriously consider adding New Jersey Tea to your garden this spring.

We couldn’t be more excited about the warm weather on the horizon, and think you’ll agree that New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) is the perfect flower to welcome the sun into your garden. For more information on availability of the plant click here.

There’ll be more on New Jersey Tea this month, including ‘Fast Facts,’ ‘Did You Know,‘ and a ‘Species of the Month’ video! So stay tuned to stwilliamsnursery.com, and our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.

Species Profile: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)