These tough Mediterranean natives are notable for their attractive foliage, profuse summer show of small, round, button-like flower heads, and stout constitutions. All are aromatic if bruised.
Unpruned plants tend to become sparse and woody in the center. Cut back yearly, before spring growth begins; you can simply trim as needed around the edges (as if giving the plant a haircut) or cut the whole plant back to a few inches high. After blossoms fade, shear or clip off flowering shoots. In coldest part of the range, plants may die to the ground, but they should grow back from roots.
Good as groundcovers, bank covers, edgings for walks or borders, or low informal or sheared hedges. Grow in any well-drained soil.
Grows to 2 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide. Brittle, woody stems are densely clothed with rough, finely divided, whitish gray leaves. Bright yellow flower heads. Smaller versions of the species include ‘Nana’, to 1 ft. tall and 2–3 ft. wide; and ‘Pretty Carol’, to 16 in. tall and wide. ‘Lemon Queen’, to 2 ft. tall and wide, has creamy yellow flowers.Santolina pinnata
Grows to 2–2 1/2 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide, with narrow, tooth-edged, dark green leaves and cream-colored flowers. S. p. neapolitana is 12–15 in. tall; has silvery foliage and bright yellow flowers.Santolina rosmarinifolia
Grows to 2 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide, with narrow green leaves like those of rosemary. Leaves may have tiny teeth or none at all. Bright yellow flowers. ‘Morning Mist’ is similar but more compact.
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