Sunset manzanita is a medium to large evergreen shrub that grows with a mounding habit, 8-10 ft. tall and as wide. Deep green leaves grow to 1 1/2 in. long, have a broad base and pointed apex. Clusters of colorful light white-pink flowers can cover the plant in late winter. Shredding and peeling bark develops on larger stems and branches and easily distinguishes this cultivar from other manzanitas, particularly when older plants are pruned to reveal their branching structure.
Sunset manzanita was introduced into nurseries and gardens in commemoration of Sunset Magazine’s 75th anniversary. Over the years it has proven to be a handsome plant that is relatively easy to grow in the Inland Empire. For many years it grows as an attractive foliage plant with reddish new growth and a neat mounding shape. It becomes more of a special interest and feature plant when pruning reveals lower branching and distinctive bark character.
Sunset manzanita is a good shrub for use in background areas, on slopes and for screening in combination with other native plants. It is adapted to full sun or light shade, well-drained soils and with low amounts of summer moisture. Over time it has the potential to become a small specimen with unique branching and bark character.