Ocean Spray

Holodiscus discolor

Holodiscus discolor (Cream Bush or Ocean Spray) is a large deciduous shrub native to the coastal western US. It often grows in disturbed soil in open areas and populates roadsides from southern Washington into California. Soft, currant-like leaves adorn arching stems, and gracefully masses of creamy, lilac-like flowers emerge in spring. This highly adaptable shrub is drought tolerant, maintaining a smaller size in dry, hot locations and growing larger (up to 20′ feet) with ample water.

After a bit of research, I decided Ocean Spray would make an excellent addition to our native plant garden, replacing a Pacific Rhododendron that bit the dust (which I initially suspected was some kind of fungus but now think a mole had run rings around it, causing the roots to dry out). Luckily we stopped at Loen Nursery during a trip down to the Oregon coast, where I found a fabulous 5-gallon specimen. Also, luckily, we were able to fit it in our vehicle amongst the luggage and lawn chairs.

Why is this perfect for our native garden? There are several towering conifers that cast quite a bit of shade, and Ocean Spray tolerates full sun to full shade. And it’s very drought tolerant, which is excellent given that I plan to leave this area to its own devices once planting is complete (no water, very little maintenance). But, the soil in this area does stay naturally moist most of the year, so this Ocean Spray should grow on the larger side, creating a lovely backdrop and privacy screen against the street and neighbor’s driveway.

Companion Plants for Ocean Spray

Mahonia, Great Camas, Bitter Cherry, Salal, Red-flowering Currant

    Nursery Tag

    Zones 6 - 9. Drought tolerant. 3' - 20' H, 4' - 15' W. Tolerates full shade.

    Gardener's Log

    07/2023: Planted one 3-gallon in old ivy area near north side property line

    Holodiscus discolor, aka Oceanspray or Cream Bush

    Photo taken July 2023

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