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Salt Cedar Tamarix ramosissima

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Tamarix chinensis
  • Tamarix gallica
  • Tamarix pentandra
Phonetic Spelling
TAM-uh-riks ram-oh-SIS-ee-muh
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Tamarix ramosissima, or Salt Cedar, is a deciduous, thicket forming, flowering shrub or small tree, growing to 14 feet by 9 feet, and often found in coastal area. The showy flowers last through spring and summer.  It has scaly gray-green juniper like foliage but is neither a conifer nor an evergreen.  It produces true flowers which are pink and appear from June to August. Its branches are long, slender and arching and have an attractive reddish color.  Used in rain and naturalized garden areas, the shrub is valued along the sea shore because of its moderately salt tolerance.  The common name salt cedar comes from not only the plants ability to withstand saline conditions but to actually produce salt. 

The Salt Cedar grows well in full sun in most dry to medium well-drained soils, including heavy clay and alkaline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. Prune as needed in late winter to early spring. It can be pruned hard, as far as several inches about the ground as you would a Buddleja spp. to manage growth and keep the form compact.  Avoid excess fertilizer, this tree has a sparse root system.  It can be used as a windbreak or erosion control on the outer edges of the landscape where its unattractive winter appearance will not distract (the plant is considered a noxious weed in some parts of the mid-west).

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: 

No known diseases or insect pests. Use caution when planting as it can be quite invasive in warm coastal and riparian areas in zones 8-10.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pink Cascade'
    Open, multi-stemmed, 15 foot high shrub with arching branches and fine, feathery foliage.
'Pink Cascade'
Tags:
#invasive#rain garden#weedy#salt tolerant#windbreak#erosion control#sandy soils tolerant#coastal plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pink Cascade'
    Open, multi-stemmed, 15 foot high shrub with arching branches and fine, feathery foliage.
'Pink Cascade'
Tags:
#invasive#rain garden#weedy#salt tolerant#windbreak#erosion control#sandy soils tolerant#coastal plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tamarix
    Species:
    ramosissima
    Family:
    Tamaricaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Gardens, Rain Gardens
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Europe, Asia, Southern Russia to China
    Distribution:
    Western and Central United States, Southern South America, South Africa
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wind Break
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer damage
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 13 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2b, 2a, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are dry capsules that split open and disperse seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Pink, feathery racemes that bloom in spring and summer on new wood.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Fine-textured, juniper-like foliage that is neither evergreen nor coniferous. Pale gray-green scale-like leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Description:
    Reddish, slender, arching branchlets.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Poor Soil
    Salt
    Problems:
    Invasive Species