This semi-woody sub-shrub up to 2′ tall is native to the western and central Mediterranean area and is a member of the aster family, Asteraceae that also includes daisy, yarrow, and lettuce. It has evergreen aromatic gray-green foliage with leaves that are up to 1.5 inches long and pinately divided. In summer rounded yellow flowerheads appear that are 3/4″ wide and composed entirely of disc flowers. Plants need hard pruning after flowering to maintain shape and are useful in knot gardens and as an edging. An excellent choice for herb gardens, borders and rock gardens. The genus name, Santolina, may be the late Latin name referring to a related genus. The specific epithet, chamaecyparissus, comes from the Greek words chamae meaning on the ground, humble, and kypárissos the Greek term for cypress, and refers to the short height and resemblance of the leaves to those of cypresses.
Type: Semi-woody subshrub
Bloom: Rounded yellow flowerheads, 3/4″ across and composed entirely of disc flowers, in summer
Size: 1-2′ H x 2-3′ W
Light: Full sun
Soil: Average, dry, well-drained; appreciates medium moisture when young but drought tolerant once established.
Hardiness: Zones 6-8
Care: Cut back in spring or after flowering to maintain shape; deadhead as soon as flowers fade to maintain a long bloom time.
Pests and Diseases: None of significance but can develop rot in poorly drained soil; plants do poorly in humid conditions.
Companion Plants: Roses, California poppy, blue-flowered salvias