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Ceanothus Care and Propagation

Ceanothus is an evergreen or deciduous shrub or small tree. They flower either in late spring or mid to late summer depending on the variety.

They are often called California Lilacs because the flowers of some varieties are similar to the Lilac Tree (syringa),  and ceanothus do originate form California.

The flowers are most noted for the varieties which produce masses of deep blue flowers. But they also come with pink or white flowers.

Quick growing, Ceanothus are great shrubs for filling gaps in a few years. We highly recommend this beautiful shrub.

Key Ceanothus Facts

Botanical Name Ceanothus

Common Name California Lilac

Type Deciduous or evergreen shrub; spring or summer flowering.

(after 5 years)
Varies considerably depending on the variety

Position Full sun.

Soil Light and well-drained

Hardy Yes but depends on the variety

Flower Blue, pink or white

Foliage Dark green

Scent No

Season of
Spring or summer depending on the variety.

Propagate Semi-ripe cuttings in mid July, click here for semi-ripe cutting article.

Ceanothus are frost hardy but not a deep frost. However, if they are given a warm, sheltered and sunny position they will produce a magnificent flower display and lovely glossy deep green leaves.

Name: Lorelei
Date posted: September 30, 2011 - 10:23 am
Message: My California lilacs have brown leaves and before they turn brown they have a grayish film on them. I'm not sure what the problem is or how to take care of it.

Name: Laura Ott
Date posted: June 02, 2011 - 12:20 pm
Message: I've just moved into a property and have one of these shrubs in the garden. It hasn't been looked after and pruned back. It was very tall. I've just pruned it right back. A lot of it was dead and dried up. I have now notices it has new leaves coming on parts of the branches but the stems have got green (looks like disease) all over them is there any thing i can do to save this shrub or get rid of the green?

Name: anne
E-mail: Private
Date posted: January 21, 2011 - 10:06 am
Message: This year with the hard frosts, my california lilac tree is looking very brown... have i lost it do you think ?

Name: Denise
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 13, 2010 - 12:08 pm
Message: Is it ok to put a Ceanothus out now (Lincolnshire area) or am I too late for this year?

Name: Jenny Dandridge
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 24, 2010 - 06:36 am
Message: Can you advise which Ceanthus will be fast growing to replace a tree that has blown down due to age, unknow variety. The birds loved sitting in the branches, we have left it on the ground because they still gather there to feed from the bird feeders.