Growing Creosote Bush Plants

Growing Creosote Bush Plants

Creosote bush plants can possesses wonderful medicinal properties and has fascinating adaptive abilities. These plants are unusually well suited to arid desert periods and is predominant in parts of Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and other North American desert areas. Like other desert plants, creosote bush is extremely drought tolerant. It can be used successfully in low water gardening and xeriscaping, and takes readily to shaping by pruning, allowing people to control the appearance and growth habits of the plant. Creosote bush prefers full sun and gardeners should be aware that the plant has developed some interesting methods of limiting competition. Creosote bush plants put out chemicals to kill plants near their roots, ensuring that they get enough water. This trait is not uncommon in plants native to desert regions. Creosote bush plants can live to be hundreds or thousands of years old. As plants age, they produce clones of themselves as older branches die off and their young tips root. This creates a distinctive ring-shaped growth habit as the clones take root and the parent plant dies off. One clonal colony, known as King Clone and located in California, was estimated to be almost 12,000 years old when it was originally identified in the late 20th century.

People interested in growing creosote bush plants will need to live in hot, harsh, dry climates. Throughout the plant’s native range, it can be cultivated as an ornamental, and may be used for specimen plantings and hedges. When seedlings are initially established, they should be given some watering support to allow them to take root and develop. After the first several weeks, however, the plants tend to thrive on benign neglect and periodic pruning, if desired.

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