C. ‘Blue Jeans’. Image – Flickr / Oregon State University

Ceanothus are very nice shrubs or small trees to have in the garden or on the terrace. They produce a large number of flowers during spring, something that will undoubtedly bring color and joy to the place; And also, being low-maintenance plants, they are great for beginners.

So if you don’t want to wait any longer to have a very special corner, then we are going to introduce you to the Ceanothus as they deserve 🙂.

Origin and characteristics

View of Ceanothus in habitat

Ceanothus greggii Image – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The genus Ceanothus is composed of 50-60 species of shrubs or small trees native to North America, mainly California. Most species grow between 0,5 and 3 meters in heightbut there are two like they are C. arboreus and C. thyrsifloruswhich reach 7m.

They are usually evergreenbut those that live in areas where winters are very cold behave like deciduous. The leaves are opposite or alternate, depending on the species, they are 1-5cm long and usually have a serrated margin. The flowers can be white, blue, pale purple, or pink. And the fruit is a dry capsule.

Main species

The main or best known species are:

  • ceanothus arboreus: is a shrub or evergreen tree endemic to California. It grows between 3,7 and 11m, and has large dark green leaves.
    • There are many cultivars, among which are:
      • Schmild Cliff: Its flowers are blue, and it is the most compact.
      • Blue Owlswood: blue flowers.
      • Blue powder: with bluish flowers, it is also compact.
      • Trewithen blue: its flowers are dark blue.
  • Ceanothus was impressed: is an endemic evergreen shrub to the central coast of California. It usually grows to 3m, but can reach 7m. It produces a large number of blue flowers.
    • A variety is known:
      • Nipomensis, which has denser inflorescences (groups of flowers).
  • Ceanothus thyrsiflorusKnown as the California lilac or huacalillo, it is an evergreen shrub endemic to California. It can reach 6 meters in height.
    • There are several cultivars:
      • Blue Mound: grows up to 1,5m tall.
      • Waterfall: reaches 8m.
      • El Dorado: has the foliage with the golden border and the light blue flowers.
      • Repens: grows between 1 and 3m.
      • Repens Victoria: it is evergreen and has a creeping bearing.
      • Skylark: reaches 7m, and has blue flowers.
      • Snow Flurry: its flowers are white.

What are their cares?

View of Ceanothus thirsyflorus var repens

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var Repens
Image – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you want to have a copy, we recommend that you provide it with the following care:


The Ceanothus must be abroadeither in full sun or in semi-shade as long as they receive about 3-4 hours of direct light.


  • Flower pot: universal growing medium can be used (on sale here!), but it is advisable to first add a layer of volcanic clay (such as this) so that the water drainage is fast and efficient.
  • the garden: they grow in all types of soils, including calcareous ones.


To know when to water, it is best to check the humidity of the soil since the frequency will not be the same in summer as in winter. Thus, while during the hottest and driest season of the year we will water very often, during the coldest we will do it very occasionally.

So if we need to know whether to pour water on them or not, we can do any of these things:

  • Using a digital moisture meter
  • Introduce a thin wooden stick (if it comes out practically clean when you extract it, we’ll water)
  • Weigh the pot once watered and again after a few days (if we notice that it weighs rather little, we will proceed to water)

And if we still have doubts, we must bear in mind that a dry plant recovers more easily than one that has suffered excess watering; so in these situations we will wait a couple more days before watering.


View of Ceanothus americanus

Ceanothus americanus
Image – Wikimedia / H. Zell

In spring and summer they can (and must) be paid with Organic fertilizers, either guano, cow dung, compost,… The only thing that if they are in pots we will use liquid fertilizers and we will follow the indications specified on the container.


The Ceanothus multiply by seeds and cuttings in spring. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:


  1. First, we will fill a glass with water and put it in the microwave until we see that it boils.
  2. Then, we take it out and place the seeds in a small strainer.
  3. Then, we put the strainer in the glass for a second.
  4. Next, we put the seeds in another glass that contains water at room temperature for 24 hours.
  5. The next day, we will fill a seedbed (pot, tray with holes, milk containers, … whatever we have on hand that is waterproof and has or can have holes for drainage) with universal cultivation substrate, and we water.
  6. Afterwards, we pour the seeds on the surface, ensuring that they are a little separated from each other, and we cover them with a thin layer of substrate.
  7. Finally, we will water again, this time with a sprayer, and we will take the seedbed outside, in semi-shade.

They will germinate in 2-3 weeks.


To multiply them by cuttings, it will be enough to cut branches of soft wood, impregnate the base with homemade rooting agents or rooting hormones and plant them in pots with previously moistened vermiculite. They will emit their own roots in about a month.


The Ceanothus were pruned late winter. We must remove dry, diseased or weak branches, as well as trim those that are growing too much.


Ceanothus jepsonii has leaves with serrated margins

Ceanothus jepsonii
Image – Wikimedia / Eric in SF

It will depend on the species, but in general they resist all cold and frost of up to -5ºC.

What did you think of the Ceanothus? They are pretty, right? 🙂


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