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Highlights™ Ceanothus

Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis 'MATCEA01'

Highlights Ceanothus, April 2019. Photo: SK Reid.
Highlights Ceanothus, April 2019. Photo: SK Reid.


Highlights™ Ceanothus was such a vigorous grower that we had to perform emergency pruning in June of the second year, because plants were commingling and encroaching on their neighbors. Although the low-growing shrubs were pruned to 1-meter diameter circles, this did not hamper their performance or growth throughout the remainder of the summer and into the fall. There was a scattering of flowers in late March and April in shades reminiscent of worn denim, but the draw of this plant was the rich foliage variegation and vigorous sprawling growth habit. This was our guests' favorite plant at the April Open House and the one most had listed they would recommend. Participants valued the “bright, shiny – almost glowing” “lush foliage,” with one individual remarking it was the “find of the trial,” though they also remarked “the growth seems quick.” As other plants came into their own over the season, Highlights™ was elbowed out of the favorites spotlight, but participants continued to rate the plant highly, with most scoring the plant 4 or 5 on Overall Appearance at the July and September Open Houses (Table 22b).

Due to pruning the plants in late June, the reference month for beginning the relative plant growth index calculation for this cultivar is July (Figure 16b). At the end of the deficit season, the Low treatment had the largest relative plant growth index though this was not statistically significant, showing that regular summer water is not critical for this plant’s growth or health in a shade or part shade situation. Aesthetically the treatments were comparable for the Overall Appearance, Foliage and Vigor ratings (Table 22a). There was a slight decline (from very good to good) in average overall appearance on the Low water treatment beginning in September, but this rating was impacted by two individuals that died in the following month. Since the Low treatment in the shade house was not irrigated over the entire season, this could be the cause of death of these two plants, though the surviving individuals on this treatment were rated between 3 and 5. Despite the mortality on the treatment, trials staff recommend irrigating Highlights™ at the Low level, though providing one irrigation in the late spring and/or mid/late summer could prevent the kind of stress in inland areas that leads to mortality of weaker individual plants.

*Plant width is final 2nd year width after pruning in late June to 1m-wide circle. A much larger width would undoubtedly have been attained without pruning. 

Basic Info

Submitted by: Sunset Western Garden Collection
Trial Exposure: 50% Shade
Year evaluated: 2019
Height & Width
(after 2 years):
3' x 10' - UC Davis
Reported Height & Width
(at maturity):
2-3' x 5-6'
WUCOLS plant type: Gc S N
Water Needs & WUCOLS Zone: Low - Region 2
Mean Overall 
Appearance rating:
(1-5 Scale, 5 is highest)
3.8 - UC Davis
Flowering Months
March-May - UC Davis

Growth and Quality Data

Click Here for Complete Data Set

April 2019. Photo SK Reid.
April 2019. Photo SK Reid.