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Ceanothus americanus

New Jersey Tea /

New Jersey tea is a dense shrub that is ideally suited for the edge of the woods or along the back of a border. It's habit is full and its leaves are bright green throughout the summer. Billowing clusters of tiny, fragrant white flowers appear on long stems in late spring and early summer. Ceanothus makes a lovely and fragrant cut flower! Young twigs are noticeably yellow and provide subtle winter interest. Also effective as a shrubby ground cover for hard-to-grow areas such as dry rocky slopes and banks.


  • The leaves from this shrub make an excellent tea
  • Host plant for Spring Azure, Summer Azure, Mottled Duskywing butterflies
  • Turkeys, quail and other birds eat the seeds
  • Sweet flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Dense, compact form make it small space friendly
  • Yellow twigs are showy in the winter landscape

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow New Jersey Tea in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun or part shade. It grows well in sandy loams or rocky soils with good drainage, but is equally at home in average garden soils. It is not tolerant of wet soils. The thick roots of Ceanothus go deep and help plants to withstand drought, but make established shrubs difficult to transplant.

3-4 Feet


3-5 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

Native Range

Ceanothus americanus occurs in prairies, glades, dry open woods and thickets in most states east of the Rockies. USDA Distribution Map

Native Trivia

Dried leaves were used as a tea substitute during the Revolutionary War since tea was hard to find. Alas, New Jersey Tea has no caffeine.

"New Jersey Tea is a host plant for many butterflies and moths."

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Medium to Tall Shrubs
  • Filtered Shade
  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Sun
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Dry
  • Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
  • Beneficial insects
  • Butterflies
  • Hummingbirds
  • Songbirds
Bloom Time
  • Late Spring / Early Summer
Habitat Collection
  • Butterfly
  • Songbird
Native Habitat
  • Forest
  • Grassland
Foliage Color
  • Green
  • Border
  • Cut or dried flower
  • Drought tolerant
  • Fragrant
  • Hedge, screen
  • Mass plant
  • Naturalizes
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin