Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Rhamnus alaternus 'Variegata'

Common Name
Varigated Italian Buckthorn
CA Native
Non-native
Plant Type
Shrub
Size
6' - 8' x 6' - 8'
Flower Color
Greenish-Yellow
Bloom Time
  • Spring
Leaves
Green with White Edge
Evergreen
Evergreen
Deer Resistant
Seldom Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Bees
  • Bird Habitat
Growth Rate
Moderate
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Low Maintenance
  • Specimen
Water Use
  • Low
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
Exposure
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Not Particular
Drainage
Good Drainage
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

Rhamnus alaternus is an upright growing shrub with beautiful varigated green leaves with a white edge. The flower is unremarkable but is followed by a red berrry which turns black in mid-summer. The foliage is used extensively by florists. This shrub can be used as a hedge or screen that goes through both sun and shade as it is adaptable to both. It can also be used as a foundation or a specimen plant in a shrub border. It can be shaped by pruning as well as trained as a tree.

Plant slightly above soil grade in well-drained location. Add an amendment for faster growth. It also likes calcium in the soil. Water well and add mulch in a 2- 3 foot diameter circle around plant. This shrub does not like to be moved so make sure you have it in the right location. Can be easily shaped through pruning. Takes drought and heat once established. Can be planted where there is summer irrigation. Also withstands strong wind activity.

This plant is largely free of pests and diseases. However, it can develop fungal diseases if it is in a moist situation with poor drainage.

Master Gardener Comments
Varietals

R. alaternus - Fast, dense growth from 12 - 20 feet or more

Top of page

Webmaster Email: banielsen@ucanr.edu