UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County


Shrub-Tree- Ceanothus

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Arroyo de la Cruz'
Common Name: California Lilac

Botanical Name: Ceanothus spp.

Family:  Rhamnaceae

Description: California native; 50-60 species; majority  are evergreen perennial shrubs; short-lived as a group

Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Drought tolerant

Soil: Well-draining

Ceanothus spp. photo by Bruce Fingerhood
Habit and form: Varies; can be shrubs, low to the ground, mounding or small trees. Leaves can be dark green to variegated.

Flower type: Tiny, produced in large, dense clusters; some are fragrant

Flower color & bloom season: Mostly blue, some are white or pink; blooms; usually blooms in spring

Uses for plant and/or flowers: Attracts bird, hummingbirds, butterflies

Pruning time & method: Varies; prune after flowering; avoid pruning old wood. Can pinch back during growing season to control size

Maintenance tips: Does not like drip irrigation, summer water or soil amendments
Ceanothus spp. photo by Aleta Rodriguez

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