How to Grow Carpenteria — Bush Anemone

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Carpenteria, commonly called bush anemone, is an evergreen shrub with handsome leathery glossy leaves and showy cup-shaped white flowers with yellow centers. Carpenteria flowers look much like anemone flowers.

Carpenteria is very decorative. The older bark is light-colored and peeling; new shoots are purplish. The thick, narrow leaves are dark green above, whitish beneath. The anemone-like flowers are lightly scented.

Carpenteria is slow-growing to 3 to 6 feet tall, with many stems rising from base.

Carpenteria is a genus of just one species. It is native scrubby slopes and pine forests in the foothills of Central California.

Get to know Carpenteria

  • Plant type: Evergreen shrub
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 8 and 9
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 8; in marginal climates, grow against warm wall. 
  • Height and width: 6 feet (2m) tall and wide
  • Foliage: Thick, narrow leaes are dark green, above, witish beneath to 4 inches long
  • Flowers: Shallow, cup-shaped anemone-like white flowers with yellow centers
  • Bloom time: Late spring and summer
  • Uses: Shrub border
  • Common name: Bush anemone
  • Botanical name: Carpenteria
  • Family name: Hydrangeaceae
  • Origin: California
Bush anemone white flower, Carpenteria californica
Bush anemone white flower, Carpenteria californica

Where to plant Carpenteria

  • Plant Carpenteria in full sun or light shade.
  • Grow Carpenteria in well average garden soil that is well-drained.
  • Carpenteria will withstand drought once established.
  • Carpeneria has a deep root system and is best planted where it will not need to be moved.

When to plant Carpenteria

  • Set container-grown Carpenteria in the garden in sprng or autumn.
  • Matrue Carpenteria can be somewhat difficult to transplant.

Planting and spacing Carpenteria

  • Space Carpenteria 6 feet (2m) apart.

How to water and feed Carpenteria

  • Keep the soil just moist for best growth. Mature plants can will grow with little water.
  • Fertilize Carpenteria with an all-purpose, slow-release, organic fertilizer in spring.

Carpenteria care

  • Prune after flowering to shape or restrain growth.
  • Remove the oldest flowered shoots occasionally from the base; this will help shape the plant and encourage new growth.

Carpenteria pests and diseases

  • Fungal leaf spot can be a problem.

Carpenteria propagation

  • Propagate Carpenteria by softwood cuttings in summer or by layering. 
  • Sow seed in warm soil in autumn or spring.
  • Root greenwood or semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

Carpenteria varieties to grow

  • Carpenteria californica. Bush anemone. Evergreen shrub grows slowly to about 6 feet tall and wide and has light brown, peeling bark; leathery leaves are lance-shaped to narrow ovals 4 to 5 inches long; fragrant white shallow, cup-shaped, five-petaled flowers to 3 inches across bloom mid- to late summer. 

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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