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Products > Rhagodia spinescens
Rhagodia spinescens - Creeping Australian Saltbush

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoots)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Insignificant
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [R. deltophylla, R. spinescens inermis]
Height: 2-4 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): No Irrigation required
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Rhagodia spinescens (Creeping Australian Saltbush) - A dense low growing shrub to 6 to 18 inches tall with an 8 foot spread and small soft gray leaves that completely cover the stems. It has remained prostrate in our Santa Barbara garden but can clamber higher onto other shrubs, fences or other structures and tends to get taller when over irrigated or when grown in moister northern California gardens. As with most other saltbushes, it tolerates adverse conditions such as drought, frost and salty seaside conditions. Best in full sun but surprisingly tolerant of fairly deep shade. Give this plant little or no supplemental irrigation. A great groundcover for a dry sunny site or can be grown up a chain link fence to make a vertical wall. Completely hardy to low 20 F - actually survived 18 F in our winter 1990 freeze with the stems literally splitting and then healing with otherwise little damage. This species can be found throughout central and eastern Australia in every state but this low growing spineless selection is considered to be one of the best for landscape plantings. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'rhagodes' meaning "berry-like" in reference to the fruit and specific epithet means "somewhat spiny". We received this plant in 1989 from the University of California, Santa Cruz Arboretum who got the plant in the late 1970s from the Australian National Botanic Garden Canberra. At the UCSC Arboretum they originally envisioned this beautiful gray plant as a solid groundcover under blue hibiscus, Alyogyne huegelii, but in cool moist Santa Cruz it became too tall and likely climbed up and over the Alyogyne as we have noted it will do if interplanted with taller plants or if planted too close with each other - best out in the open and welll spaced where it remains flatter. The specific epithet is a bit misleading as this selection of Rhagodia spinescens (sometimes called variety inermis) is soft and completely spineless. We have grown this great plant since 1990.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Rhagodia spinescens.