- Author: Jackie Woods
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Jackie Woods UCCE Master Gardener
Planting Areas:widely distributed from coastal scrub lands to dry, sunny hillsides
Size: up to 6' H x 8' W
Bloom season: Spring
Exposure: Full sun
Pruning needs: None
Water needs: first year only to establish the plant, then drought-tolerant.
Narrative: Ceanothus, also known as California lilac, is the envy of every garden for many different reasons: they are fast growing, evergreen, require very little water once established, produce stunningly beautiful blooms ranging from cobalt blue to violet in color (some even come in white or pink), have a sweet fragrance, attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other beneficial insects and are easy to grow and care for. These shrubs are very versatile in that varieties can be sprawling or low-growing or grow tall and hedge-like. Ceanothus will grow in a range of different soil types – although they do prefer well-drained soil - and most varieties are alkaline tolerant. With Ceanothus, gardeners can expect a lifespan of 20-25 years or longer, as long as they refrain from putting them on drip irrigation, avoid frequent summer watering and do not use soil amendments or fertilizer. Ceanothus prefer to fend for themselves as they do when growing in the wild. A good time to plant Ceanothus here on the Central Coast is in late fall to early winter.