A Chief ingredient (Chieftain manzanita)

Arctostaphylos x coloradensis Chieftain manzanita Plant SelectSeasoning up a landscape? Substitute those other artificial landscape flavors with something o’natural – Chieftain manzanita (Arctostaphylos x coloradensis ‘Chieftain’). Establishing stands of Chieftain around any structural element in the landscape will deliver a sense of nature in our man made urban environment. Plant them around large pine trees, over retaining walls and as foundation plantings around homes and businesses.

This plant is truly the chief of all Plant Select® manzanitas. It grows to a mature height of 3’ and the soft green fleshiness of the rounded leaves persist all year.  Chieftain brings  the presence of serenity and prosperity in the landscape.  This plant is believed to be a cross between the groundcover kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and the bushier growing Arctostaphylos nevadensis.  These plants prefer a well-drained soil, so be sure to amend the soil to increase drainage when planting this gem in the urban environment.  A few handfuls of sand in an oversized planting hole will do for each two gallon container planted. Water them regularly for a few years (like you would other woody shrubs). As they establish, you will notice that the Chieftain requires reduced watering and even flourishes in low water conditions.  Be prepared to exercise your patience for a few years. Even manzanita propagators needed patience to bring mass quantities of this plant to market. Decoding consistent propagation techniques took some time.

Plant maintenance is minimal to none. Prune the occasional branch for the simple reason of redirecting growth. For those who are meticulous about garden cleanliness, the mature height of 2 plus feet make this broadleaf evergreen easy to clean out using a small blower. Chieftain is really a texture plant, however, and you’ll appreciate its other characteristics when you get up close and personal with it.  The smooth reddish-caramel bark and petite white flowers with hints of pink that emerge in April will tantalize your taste for these plants all year.  Make Chieftain manzanita the “leader” of your landscape.

View the plant profile here or watch the video here.

Chieftain manzanita (Arctostaphylos x coloradensis ‘Chieftain’ )
Evergreen groundcover
Height: 18-36”
Width: 5-8’
Blooms: April
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Moderate to xeric, once established
Hardiness: USDA zones 5-8
Culture: Well-drained loam or sandy soil

Thanks to Ross Shrigley, Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery for writing this piece.

14 responses to “A Chief ingredient (Chieftain manzanita)”

  1. tish varney says:

    Is Chieftain manzanita deer resistant?

  2. Phyllis Fleming says:

    Do we need a zone three adapted plant for Windsor, Co

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      A zone 5 will work in Windsor. I some some great examples of Manzanitas at the garden Treasure Island there in Windsor. Those plants are labeled as well.

  3. Francine OConnell says:

    How do I tear panchito manzanita out of my slope? I has taken over everything.

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      Glad to hear it is so vigorous! If you cut it off at the base of the trunks, that will do the trick. No need to dig it out.

  4. Elizabeth C Rivers says:

    We live in Colorado Springs and have been trying to purchase the Chieftain Manzanita, but no nursery has them. Can you tell me where we can purchase on in this area?

  5. Julie monley says:

    Should I use compost when planting Manzanita?

  6. Cynthia Smith says:

    Where can you purchase “Chiefan” Manzanita in the Sale Lake City area?

  7. Juliann says:

    I am assuming that this plant does OK in windy conditions. Is this a correct assumption? We are in Monument, CO, and it gets really windy here! Thanks in advance.

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      This plant grows at high elevations (8125′). It should work well in Monument, CO. Does anyone else have one growing there?

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