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Holodiscus discolor

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Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor) at Shonnard's Nursery

Oceanspray foliage

Oceanspray foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  10 feet

Spread:  10 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  4b

Other Names:  Ocean Spray, Creambush, Ironwood


A large, dense shrub producing masses of fragrant, cream colored flowers that are long blooming in spring and early summer; flower clusters dry brown and persist into winter; yellow to burgundy fall color; great for borders or as a landscape specimen

Ornamental Features

Oceanspray has masses of beautiful panicles of fragrant creamy white star-shaped flowers along the branches from mid spring to early summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. It has attractive green deciduous foliage which emerges antique red in spring. The textured lobed leaves are highly ornamental and turn burgundy in fall. The peeling tan bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Oceanspray is an open multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Oceanspray is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Oceanspray will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America.

Oceanspray makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Screening  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Foliage Color  Bark  Winter Value  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features