Oceanspray Holodiscus discolor

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care


The plant commonly known as Ocean Spray is recognized for its arching branches and frothy clusters of creamy white to pinkish small flowers that create a feathery, plume-like appearance. The flowers are densely packed on elongated cone-shaped clusters that cascade elegantly at the ends of its branches. Its leaves are deciduous, somewhat rounded with deep lobes, resembling large oak leaves. They have a toothed margin and a somewhat fuzzy texture with a rich green color that can turn yellow to a rich russet tone in the fall. The bark of this plant has an attractive peeling effect, revealing a reddish underneath that contrasts with the older grey exterior. The overall appearance of Ocean Spray is lush and adds a delicate, soft texture to the landscape when in bloom. When the plant is not flowering, it maintains interest through its lobed leaves and reddish peeling bark.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Ocean Spray, Creambush, Ironwood, Rockspirea.

    • Common names

      Holodiscus dumosus, Holodiscus microphyllus, Holodiscus aequivalvis, Holodiscus ovatus, Spiraea discolor, Spiraea dumosa, Opulaster discolor, Opulaster dumosus.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant known as Ocean Spray is not typically considered highly toxic to humans. However, like many plants, it may cause mild stomach upset if ingested in large quantities. Symptoms of such non-specific gastrointestinal distress could include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It's always best to exercise caution and avoid eating any part of ornamental or wild plants unless they are known to be edible.

    • To pets

      Ocean Spray is also not known to be highly toxic to pets. That being said, the ingestion of plant material could potentially lead to mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals, similar to the effects in humans. Symptoms in pets could include vomiting or diarrhea if they consume parts of the plant. It's advisable to monitor your pet and consult a veterinarian if they have ingested any part of the Ocean Spray and are showing adverse symptoms.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      8 feet [2.44 meters]

    • Spread

      6 feet [1.83 meters]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Wildlife Habitat: Holodiscus discolor, commonly known as Ocean Spray, provides a natural habitat and food source for various species of birds, insects, and mammals.
    • Erosion Control: The plant's root systems help stabilize soil and prevent erosion, particularly in sloped areas.
    • Drought Resistance: Ocean Spray is known for its ability to withstand dry conditions, making it an ideal choice for xeriscaping and water-conserving gardens.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: With its arching branches, creamy white blooms, and peeling bark, Ocean Spray adds visual interest to landscape designs.
    • Ecological Diversity: As a native plant in many areas, it contributes to the ecological diversity and resilience of natural ecosystems.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, Ocean Spray requires minimal care, which is beneficial for both casual gardeners and ecological restorations.
    • Seasonal Interest: The plant provides year-round visual interest with its changing foliage, flowers in spring and summer, and dried seed heads in autumn and winter.
    • Pollinator Friendly: Ocean Spray serves as a food source for pollinators like bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, thereby supporting the pollination of nearby plants.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antidiarrheal: Holodiscus discolour has been traditionally used by some indigenous communities to treat diarrhea.
    • Anti-inflammatory: The plant may potentially possess anti-inflammatory properties that could be used to address inflammation-related conditions.
    • Antirheumatic: There are historical accounts of the plant being used to relieve symptoms associated with rheumatic conditions.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • The wood from the ocean spray plant has been traditionally used by Native Americans to craft small items such as combs, needles, and hairpins, due to its strength and durability after being treated by fire.
    • Dried clusters of ocean spray flowers can be used for floral arrangements and decorations, adding a natural and rustic charm to interior settings.
    • The flexible branches of ocean spray can be woven into traditional baskets and artistic weavings, showcasing the cultural practices of indigenous artisans.
    • Fishermen have occasionally used the stems of ocean spray for making fishing rods and other fishing tools, appreciating the wood's flexibility and fine grain.
    • The plant's dense growth habit provides shelter and breeding grounds for various species of birds, contributing to maintaining healthy local ecosystems.
    • Ocean spray can be incorporated into landscaping to stabilize slopes and prevent soil erosion, thanks to its extensive root system.
    • In the past, the plant has been used to concoct a naturally occurring dye for coloring fabrics and materials, although it is not widely used for this purpose today.
    • The leaves of ocean spray can serve as fodder for livestock, particularly in rural areas where other sources of forage might be scarce.
    • Ocean spray's attractive blooms make the plant a prime candidate for use in pollinator gardens, designed to support bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.
    • Youths and hobbyists might use the plant's seeds in various small-scale crafts and educational projects to learn about plant biology and ecology.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Ocean Spray is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Ocean Spray is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Holodiscus discolor, commonly known as Ocean Spray, thrives in a variety of environments, symbolizing the ability to endure and flourish in diverse conditions.
    • Purification: The name 'Ocean Spray' suggests a sense of cleansing and purity, akin to the spray from the ocean waves, symbolizing the washing away of negativity or impurities.
    • Beauty in Simplicity: Ocean Spray is not known for flashy flowers, but its simplicity and delicate appearance represent finding beauty in the understated aspects of life.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Ocean Spray should be watered deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out a bit between watering sessions. In general, watering once a week during the growing season with about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water should suffice. During the fall and winter, you can reduce the frequency to once every two weeks or less, depending on the climate and soil moisture. It is not necessary to water uniformly if rainfall is sufficient, but during prolonged dry spells, make sure to water the plants to maintain a consistent moisture level.

  • sunLight

    Ocean Spray thrives best in full sun to partial shade. The ideal spot would be one where the plant receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, with some afternoon shade if located in very hot climates. A location with dappled sunlight throughout the day is also suitable.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Ocean Spray is hardy and can tolerate a range of temperatures, typically thriving between 60 and 80°F. It can withstand minimum winter temperatures down to about 0°F. The plant may become dormant and drop leaves if the temperature dips below this threshold.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Ocean Spray is important both for shaping the plant and encouraging healthy growth. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Prune away any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, as well as any overly dense areas to improve air circulation. You can also cut back the plant every few years to rejuvenate it and encourage flowering.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Ocean Spray thrives in well-draining, loamy or sandy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. A mixture of two parts garden soil, one part sand or perlite, and one part compost or aged manure would suit it well. Regular mulching can help maintain soil moisture and health.

  • plantRepotting

    Ocean Spray does not need to be repotted often; it is typically repotted every 2-3 years or when it has outgrown its current container. Ensure the new pot has adequate drainage holes.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Ocean Spray prefers moderate humidity but is quite adaptable to different levels; ensure the environment is not too arid. A typical indoor humidity range of 40-60% is appropriate.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ocean Spray needs bright indirect light and moderate watering.

    • Outdoor

      Place in sun or partial shade, well-draining soil, water regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of Holodiscus discolor, commonly known as Ocean Spray or Creambush, begins with seed germination, usually facilitated by stratification to break seed dormancy. Seedlings emerge in the spring and grow into juvenile plants, which consist of a rosette of leaves and a developing root system. As the plant matures, it develops woody stems and a shrubby form, typically reaching full size in several years. Creambush matures and starts to produce flowers, which are cream-colored and arranged in dense, spray-like clusters, in early to mid-summer. The flowers are pollinated by insects, leading to the development of small, dry fruits containing seeds. After seed dispersal in late summer or fall, the plant may enter a period of dormancy during the winter before resuming growth in the spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: For the Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor), a popular method of propagation is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This is typically done during the late summer. To prepare a cutting, a gardener would select a healthy, disease-free branch from the current or previous year's growth and cut a piece around 4 to 6 inches (approximately 10 to 15 centimeters) long. The lower leaves of the cutting should be removed, and the base dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root development. Then, the cutting is placed in a well-draining soil mix within a pot and kept in a shaded, humid environment until roots have developed, which can be checked by gentle tugs on the cutting after a few weeks. Once established, the new Ocean Spray plants can be transplanted to their final location in the garden. This method is favored for its relative simplicity and effectiveness in producing new, true-to-type plants.