These Mediterranean natives are notable for their attractive foliage, profuse summer show of small, round, buttonlike flower heads, and stout constitutions. All are aromatic if bruised. Unpruned plants tend to become sparse and woody in the center. Cut back yearly, before spring growth begins; you can simply trim as needed around the edges (as if giving the plant a haircut) or cut the whole plant back to a few inches high. After blossoms fade, shear or clip off flowering shoots. Remove and replace plants if they become too woody. In coldest part of range, plants may die to the ground, but they should grow back from roots. Good as ground covers, bank covers, edgings for walks or borders, low informal or sheared hedges. Grow in any well-drained soil. Not usually browsed by deer.
S. chamaecyparissus. LAVENDER COTTON. To 2 ft. tall, 3 ft. wide. Brittle, woody stems are densely clothed with rough, finely divided, whitish gray leaves. Bright yellow flower heads. Smaller versions of the species include 'Nana', to 1 ft. tall and 23 ft. wide; and 'Pretty Carol', to 16 in. high and wide. 'Lemon Queen', to 2 ft. tall and wide, has creamy yellow flowers.
S. pinnata. Grows to 2212 ft. tall, 3ft. wide; narrow, tooth-edged, dark green leaves, cream-colored flowers. S. p. neapolitana grows to 1215 in. tall and has silvery foliage and bright yellow flowers.
S. rosmarinifolia. GREEN SANTOLINA. To 2 ft. tall, 3 ft. wide, with narrow, green leaves like those of rosemary (Rosmarinus). Leaves may have tiny teeth or none at all. Bright yellow flowers. 'Morning Mist' is similar but more compact; tolerates wet conditions better than species. 'Lemon Fizz', to 112 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide, has golden leaves and creamy yellow flowers.