New Jersey Tea

As a native nitrogen fixing shrub with diverse functions, New Jersey Tea ranks among my favorite permaculture plants to fill out the shrub layer.

Common Name: New Jersey Tea
Scientific Name: Ceanothus americanus
Family: Rhamnaceae

A young New Jersey Tea plant gets ready for winter.

A young New Jersey Tea plant gets ready for winter.


  • Attracts pollinators
  • Body wash and laundry detergent (flowers)
  • Dye (green from flowers; red from root)
  • Honeybee forage
  • Medicinal (root)
  • Nitrogen fixer
  • Rain gardens (highest areas)

Medicinal Properties

  • Astringent
  • Blood purifier
  • Lymphatic remedy

Forest Garden Designing

  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Leaf Type: Deciduous
  • Layer Use: Shrub
  • Flowering: June-July
  • Leaf Shape: Alternate, broadly oblong-ovate with smooth to finely serrate margins
  • Height: 4′
  • Width: 3-6′

Planting Considerations

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Light: Full-part sun
  • Shade: Tolerates moderate shade
  • Moisture: Prefers dry soils
  • pH: 6.8-7.2


Root division in the fall, softwood cuttings forced in the greenhouse in spring, or by seed.

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