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Drought Tolerant Shrubs
Three Proven Winners® ColorChoice® varieties earn UC Davis Blue Ribbon™
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Dry soil can be an issue for some plants but not for these resilient shrubs.
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Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs found to be among the best low-water plants at UC Davis

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor map published by the National Drought Mitigation Center, most states, Midwest to West, continue to experience severe to extreme drought conditions with no end in sight. This could be bad news for landscapers.

Fortunately, projects like the University of California Landscape Plant Irrigation Trials are giving the horticulture and landscaping industry data they can use to identify plants that can withstand minimal irrigation over a sustained period.

In the UC Landscape Plant Irrigation Trials, UC Davis horticulturists evaluate landscape plants with the potential to be good performers in low-water use landscapes. Cultivars are provided by growers and breeders who want to evaluate their varieties for low-water use in hot California gardens.

Over the course of the trials, plants are evaluated for overall appearance, flowering time and duration, and pest or disease problems on their lowest irrigation treatment. Those that perform best earn a Blue Ribbon™ designation.

US drought monitor map
The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC.
  To earn the Blue Ribbon™, the plant has to stand out in the garden, look good most of the year, and require minimal pruning. In the latest trials, three of the seven plants that maintained these high standards of aesthetic quality were Proven Winners® ColorChoice® varieties. Comments about these varieties taken from the 2018-2020 Trial Results report include:
Buddleia x ‘SMNBDBT’ Pugster Blue®

“Pugster Blue performed beautifully in the Davis heat and receive high marks for overall appearance throughout the season on all treatments, earning it our Blue Ribbon™ award for very good performance on low water.”

Hypericum kalmianum ‘Deppe’ Sunny Boulevard®

“Sunny Boulevard forms a tidy little mounded deciduous shrub with small, bright green strap-shaped leaves that emerged in early May. In Davis, this burst into bloom with bright yellow flowers that continued through July and were very attractive to pollinators.”

×Pyracomeles ‘NCXP1’ Juke Box®

“Juke Box®, an intergeneric hybrid, is a small, evergreen shrub with shiny green leaves. The overall appearance and foliage health were consistently very good in Davis, though the occasional plant developed a non-uniform shape which would be easily corrected with minor pruning.”

More PWCC drought-tolerant varieties are already under evaluation at UC Davis, and the teams at Spring Meadow are feeling confident that their list of Blue Ribbon-earning shrubs will expand exponentially. 

A great showing for Proven Winners® ColorChoice® cultivars as Spring Meadow Nursery continues to evaluate these types of water-wise shrubs for inclusion in its catalog.