New Jersey tea

Ceanothus americanus

Other Common Names

northeastern ceanothus

Plant Type

Shrub (less than 10 ft)

Life Cycle


Typical Size

2 - 3 ft. tall
3 - 5 ft. wide

Tolerant of

Drought, Salt Exposure

Inolerant of

Poorly Drained Soil

Plant Propagation Notes

Can be propagated by seed, and cuttings of soft or semi-hardwood.

Seeds may need scarification and soaking. They also need a 60 – 90 day stratification.

Plant Planting Notes

This plant can be difficult to transplant due to its deep root system.


It is susceptible to leaf spot, powdery mildew, and root rot (in wet soil).

Wildlife Benefits

Nectar/pollen source for pollinating insects, Host plant for butterfly larvae


Leaves are simple, entire, alternate, oblong to ovate, and feel rough They are 3 – 6 inches long and 1 – 3 inches wide. The fall color is gold/yellow.


The flower panicle consists of many small cream/tan, pink, or white flowers. The flowering period is typically from May to June.


The small, 3-lobed seed capsules mature to dark brown/black and are present in the summer.


The bark is dark brown.


No known toxicity.


The dry leaves can be used to make a tea.

Ethnobotanical Use

Native Americans used it to treat respiratory infections as a tea.

Ceanothus americanus

USDA Hardiness Zones

4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Light Exposure

Full Sun, Part Sun/Shade

Soil Moisture

Dry, Medium

Soil Drainage


Soil pH

Neutral (6.0-8.0), Basic (greater than 8.0)

Native in South Carolina?


Plant Native Habitat

Occurs in open deciduous forests, forest edges, and meadows.

Global Conservation Status (NatureServe)

Secure (G5)

Federal Conservation Status (USFWS)

Not Listed

Distribution Notes

New Jersey tea can be found throughout South Carolina.


Ceanothus americanus var. americanus

Ceanothus americanus var. intermedius