Oceanspray is native to western North America, most commonly found in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. This fast-growing deciduous shrub gets 8-10′ tall and 3-7′ wide. Its small toothed leaves are 2-4 inches long. Cascading clusters of white flowers drooping from the branches give the plant two of its common names, oceanspray and creambush. The flowers have a faint sugary scent, and each one bears a small, hairy fruit containing one seed which is light enough to be dispersed by wind.
Oceanspray is found in a variety of habitats, from wet coastal forests to drier, cooler mountain peaks further inland. It often grows in areas dominated by Douglas-fir. The plant is found in areas prone to wildfire, such as chaparral communities. It is often the first green shoot to spring up in an area recovering from a burn or logging.
Many small solitary bees, bumblebees, and native butterflies visit this plant for nectar. It can also be considered a pollinator “nursery”, as pale swallowtail, spring azure, Lorquin’s admiral, and brown elfin butterflies all lay their eggs on it.
These attractive shrubs thrive on dry slopes in sun to part-sun, and spread well in favorable conditions. Long-leaf Oregon grape and salal do well in their shade, and they pair well with hazelnut to make a woodland border. Combine with red-flowering currant or vine maple for a deciduous screen.
- Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade
- Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
- Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
- Growth Rate: Fast
- Spreads: Yes
- Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
- Fire-resistant: Yes
- Edible: No
- Mature Height: 8-10ft
- Mature Width:3-7ft