Ceanothus americanus

Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea


 Confirmed Request

A deciduous shrub that grows just 3' tall and is compact and rounded by nature.  The dried leaves of New Jersey Tea make a flavorful tea that was popular during the Revolutionary War.  Deep tree-like roots of this shrub make it drought-tolerant but difficult to move once established so choose your spot wisely.  Light preference is full or part sun and medium-dry soil.  Deer and rabbits do like this shrub, especially when it is young so protect new transplants in the early years. The beautiful white flowers attract many pollinators. New Jersey Tea is one of the host plants of the Spring Azure.

The boiling water treatment (Germination Code: B) helps break open the hard seed coat. This may happen naturally with freeze/thaw cycles, but better germination can be expected if hot water treatment is done before fall planting outside, or artificial cold-moist stratification in a fridge (Germination Code: C).

Potted plants (3-packs and trays of 38) ship when all plants are well-rooted and transit-ready, early May through June.
Click here if you prefer to mix/match up to 6 species in a tray.

Ceanothus americanus - New Jersey Tea

Map Key

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

4 Questions asked on Ceanothus americanus

Q Jenny • November 6 Is this shrub tolerant of run off from roads treated with road salt?
A Prairie Moon • November 8 Road salt and plant hardiness/adaptability is a great question but unfortunately one that hasn't been studied a lot - at least on native plants. Our own experience on a small site next to a moderately-salted road have shown that similar upland prairie plants to Ceanothus, like Dalea purpurea, Asclepias tuberosa, and Aster ericoides, did very well after a few seasons of this abuse. We think it would be worth trying and would love to hear your experiences.
Q Margaret • June 4 Is New Jersey Tea late to green up in the spring?
A Prairie Moon • June 5 Certainly as a true shrub, it will show signs of life later than some herbaceous forbs. But it's June 4th here in SE MN (zone 4-5) and our New Jersey Tea is leafed out (both from the ground and on last years' stems) so if you don't see this by early June, I fear yours winter-killed.
Q Betty • October 7 Almost embarrassed to ask this but I'm new to natives/gardening. Bought seeds from Prairie Moon for fall planting. Do I need to soak these in hot water Germ Code B before planting mid-October? Thanks!
A Prairie Moon • October 7 Hi Betty, Great question! Germination Code B is a little unusual. We do suggest soaking them in hot water. Specifically, boil some water, remove from heat, pour the water over the seeds, and the seeds sit in the water for about 24 hours. After that you can sow the seeds outside.
Q Mary • November 16 Do blooms grow off new growth or old growth in this species? I love my established NJ Tea and want to prune to encourage the most blooms. Thanks!
A Prairie Moon • November 16 Hi Mary, The blooms do grow off of new growth. New Jersey Tea doesn't like heavy pruning, so try to stay away from the woody stalks that are thicker than a pencil.

Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds


We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants


Trays of 38 plants and 3-packs leave our Midwest greenhouse based on species readiness (well-rooted for transit) and based on order date; Spring shipping is typically early-May through June, and Fall shipping is late-August through September. Plant cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting instructions/care are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges:
SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free! Custom seed mixes or wholesale seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $7.50
over $50.00: 15% of the total plant cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season:

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within a day or two upon receipt.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 38 and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve).  We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May.  Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
B     C(60)
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Full, Partial
Soil Moisture
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
3 feet
Bloom Time
June, July, August
Bloom Color
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, bees and birds Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Number