Caring For Your Salal Plants: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: January 3, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.
Salal Plants
Photo by courtesy of rdparis22

Are you looking for a low-maintenance but beautiful addition to your garden? If so, salal plants may be the ideal choice for you! Salal plants are native to the Pacific Northwest and are characterized by their lush evergreen foliage, making them great for landscaping and groundcover. With just a bit of effort, salal plants can thrive in various conditions, giving you years of enjoyment. Here, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to care for your salal plants. Let’s get started!

What Are Salal Plants?

Salal plants, or Gaultheria shallon, are dense evergreen shrubs native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America. These low-growing, spreading shrubs are hardy, easy to care for, and can tolerate many different environments. Salal plants have both edible and ornamental qualities, making them a versatile addition to any garden.

Their glossy, dark green foliage makes them an attractive ground cover for flower beds or a great addition to rock gardens. When you factor in the hundreds of white to pink, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in the summer and the bright red, edible berries that appear in the fall, salal plants are truly spectacular specimens for any yard.

These plants are an excellent choice for gardeners who want less effort to tending them. Salals are low-maintenance and require little pruning or maintenance. They are also quite drought-tolerant and can go until late summer without needing to be watered.

So if you’re looking for an evergreen that’s attractive and easy to care for, look no further than salal plants!

Growing Salal

Growing salal is a rewarding experience that can add a gorgeous green touch to any outdoor space. Salal is a versatile, evergreen shrub that flourishes in the Pacific Northwest and provides a beautiful backdrop for gardens, yards, or parks. Growing salal is straightforward and involves selecting the right location and providing necessary care.


Choosing the right location for your salal is key to their health and growth. The ideal location for a salal plant is partially shaded and has moist, well-draining soil. Salal plants should be placed in an area sheltered from strong winds, which can damage delicate leaves.

When deciding where to plant your salal plant, consider the native habitat of the species. Salal plants are native to the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific Coast, so it’s best to mimic these conditions when you plant your salal plant. This will help to ensure that the salal plant will thrive and grow.

Soil Requirements

Growing salal plants can be an exciting and rewarding garden project. To ensure that your plants thrive, you must ensure they have the proper soil. Salal plants are known to flourish in slightly acidic and moist soils, with a pH balance of between 5.5 and 7.

To determine the pH balance of your soil, you can buy a soil testing kit online or at your local nursery. Add some organic matter, such as peat moss, manure, or compost, to the soil to raise the pH. Or, if you have naturally acidic soil, you can add some lime to the mix to help adjust the pH balance.

Salal plants need soil with good drainage and aeration. To add more drainage and aeration, you can add some compost or aged manure to the ground or mix in some coarse sand or small gravel.

When planting salal plants, use well-rotted compost to help ensure that there is enough moisture and nutrition in the soil. You can also use a store-bought potting soil mix specifically designed for acid-loving plants, such as rhododendrons and azaleas.

It is also important to mulch around the base of salal plants to help maintain consistent soil moisture levels and discourage weeds. You can use bark mulch or a variety of other organic materials. Make sure to keep the mulch at least four inches from the base of the plants to allow plenty of room for air and water to reach the plant’s roots.

Watering Needs

Salal plants need to be watered more often than other plants, typically once every two days. However, this may vary depending on your environment. In hot, dry climates, you may need to water your salal plants daily. In cooler temperatures, every two or three days may be sufficient. The key is ensuring the soil is constantly damp, not wet.

When watering your salal plants, it’s best to use tepid water. Cold water can shock the plants and cause them stress. You can use a watering can or hose, but ensure the water is gentle and doesn’t disturb the soil too much.

It’s also important to water the soil around the plant evenly. You should avoid wetting the leaves and stems since this can encourage fungal diseases. Instead, water the ground first and then allow the water to percolate through the soil to the roots.

If you live in an area with scorching weather, you can help keep your salal plants cool by providing occasional misting. This will keep the leaves and stems hydrated and prevent overheating.

Finally, remember to water your salal plants sparingly. If the soil is constantly wet, it can cause root rot and other problems. Be sure to let the soil dry out between waterings, and check the ground daily to ensure it doesn’t become too dry.

Fertilizing Salal

Before starting any fertilization regime, know the nutrient needs of your salal plant. Check the label on the pot for the recommended fertilizer for your specific species to ensure you buy the right kind.

When it’s time to fertilize, the process is pretty simple. Start by lightly soaking the soil of your salal plant until it is moist. If the soil is too dry, it won’t be able to absorb the fertilizer, so be sure to give it a good soak first.

Once the soil is ready, you can apply a balanced fertilizer, such as one with a 10-10-10 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can find these at any garden store. Apply the fertilizer according to the label instructions, and give the plant a light watering afterward.

When fertilizing, it is essential to remember that salal plants prefer acidic soils. If the ground has a pH much higher than 6.5, an acidifying fertilizer can help reduce the pH and make the earth more hospitable for the plant.

To help keep your salal plant healthy, it is essential to fertilize it regularly. Aim to fertilize your plant every few weeks during the growing season. During the winter months, fertilizing once a month is usually sufficient.

Pruning Salal

Salal is a shrub that is easy to shape and can grow up to ten feet tall. It is native to western North America and famous for many home gardens. Pruning Salal is done for various reasons, including to shape the plant, encourage new growth, or remove dead or diseased branches.

Before pruning, you should inspect your Salal plants for damage or disease. Diseased branches should be cut away, as they can spread to other parts of the plant. Dead branches should also be removed as they do not benefit the plant.

Once the plant is inspected, you can begin pruning Salal. Dead, diseased, and unwanted branches should be cut away using sharp, clean pruning shears. Any remaining units should be clipped at a 45-degree angle, approximately three-quarters of an inch above a bud or leaf joint. This will encourage new growth in the area.

After pruning, protecting your Salal from pests and diseases is essential. You can use an insecticide or fungicide to prevent infestation. It is also necessary to ensure that the soil around your plant is well-drained and free of weeds. If the ground is not adequately drained, it can cause root rot and other problems.

Finally, make sure that you water your plant thoroughly after pruning. This will help keep the plant healthy and will encourage new growth.

Pests and Diseases

Common pests associated with salal plants include aphids, mealybugs, mites, thrips, and whiteflies. These will typically cause damage to the foliage, resulting in yellowing leaves, deformed new growth, and wilting of the plant. The best way to address a pest infestation is to remove any affected leaves and use an insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, leaf spot, and anthracnose can also affect salal plants. These diseases can mar the appearance of the foliage, cause defoliation, and even kill the plant if left unchecked. To prevent fungal infections, ensure that your salal plant has adequate space and air flow, water the plant at its base instead of the foliage, and avoid wetting the foliage when watering. If your salal plant does become infected with one of these fungal diseases, remove any affected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide.


Taking care of your salal plants requires patience and dedication, but the result is worth it! Your salal plants will thank you for following these steps and provide a low-maintenance source of beauty to your garden. You’ll enjoy these lush green plants for many years with the right location, soil, fertilizing, and pruning. And don’t forget to watch out for pests and diseases so your salal plants can remain healthy! With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to growing the salal plants of your dreams.


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