White bark California Lilac is an evergreen shrub to eight feet tall and six to ten feet wide. With the white bark and azure blue flowers, the bush makes quite a show in spring. This Ceanothus is native to dry rocky chaparral slopes in the coast ranges and the Sierra Nevada. Its extensive root system is excellent for soil stabilization. Our L.T. is a seedling of this. The customers always want one when they see our mother plant, young plants not cold hardy, old plants no damage at 5 deg., froze to the ground at 0. With snow cover they are hardy to -15. The root was used by Indians for thread. Associated plants are Ceanothus cuneatus, Arctostaphylos glauca, A. viscida, Aesculus californica, Fraxinus dipetala, Quercus wislizenii, Q. douglasii, Q. agrifolia, Rhamnus ilicifolia, Rhus trilobata, and Toxicodendron diversilobum. In the coast ranges the plants merge towards hybrids of Ceanothus oliganthus and C. sorediatus developing smaller leaves and a very robust growth rate. In the Sierras the leaves are bigger, rounder and have more of a white powdery coating. White Bark Mtn. Lilac needs to be planted in a non-reflected heat site where the soil stays on the dry side. Plant the plant at soil level, place a large rock or flagstone on the south side, put a wheelbarrow full of low nitrogen mulch(oak leaves, redwood bark, pine or oak shreddings) around the rock then water heavily at planting time. If your rainfall is greater than 14-15 inches/year, you can water a few (3-5) times more during the first spring and early summer, and by then the plant should be growing like a house afire. TURN OFF the water and cross your fingers; the plant will either live for 20-50 years with no care or die fairly quickly. If your rainfall is less than 14 inches add extra water in the late winter-spring to bring the rainfall up to 15 inches. If you rainfall is above 30 inches/year this is not the best plant for you. With regular water or summer rainfall, count on this plant dying in 2-4 years. The straight species is beautiful but touchy unless the site is right for it. Use Ceanothus L.T. Blue if you want a more stable form of Ceanothus leucodermis Click here for more about California Lilacs (Ceanothus). Why do the roots of some of the Ceanothus look funny?