Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'

Common Name
Howard McMinn Manzanita
CA Native
California Native
Plant Type
5' - 6' x 7' - 10'
Flower Color
Bloom Time
  • Spring
  • Winter
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects
  • Bees
  • Bird Habitat
  • Hummingbirds
  • Seed and Fruit for Birds
Growth Rate
Adverse Growth Factors
Special Features
  • Low Maintenance
  • Showy Flowers
Water Use
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Low
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Not Particular
Well Drained
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

Howard McMinn is a medium-sized evergreen mounding shrub with intensely showy clusters of tiny pinkish-white flowers in late winter and beautiful reddish-brown bark. This manzanita is considered to be one of the most dependable and adaptable manzanitas for garden situations. It can be used as a specimen plant or as a hedge. Plant it with smaller manzanita such as 'Sunset' or 'Harmony' and edge it with a low Ceanothus such as 'Carmel Sur'.

If possible plant in the fall to take advantage of the winter rains. Plant slightly above soil grade in a sunny or part shady, well-drained spot.  Do not disturb root ball. Do not add amendments or fertilizers. Mulch top of soil around the plant in a 2' - 3' diameter circle. Water extensively. This plant tolerates a variety of soils, even heavy clay as long as there is adequate drainage. Water sparingly in summer (1 - 2/month).

This is a great plant for a bird garden and is a nectar source for native bees and other beneficial insects.

No serious pests or diseases as long as it has good drainage.

Master Gardener Comments

This is a wonderful California native and looks lovely as a specimen plant in a drought tolerant garden.


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