Central and Northern California Lilacs

California Lilacs, or Ceanothus, are some of our most fragrant and colorful shrubs here in California. They are also evergreen and very drought tolerant. They make excellent hedges!

The myth of Ceanothus being short lived is primarily spread by incompetent gardeners that insist on drip irrigation, summer water and soil amendments. California native plants hate all three. Expect a 20-25 year life from your Ceanothus in most gardens.

Ceanothus are notorious for being loved by deer. However, this is not entirely true. Without water or fertilizer a Ceanothus looks much less appetizing to a deer. Some species are still viewed as candy in areas where deer populations are high. But many are OK in low or medium deer areas. If you have high deer problems stick with your local Ceanothus species and whatever you do, don't water after the first season.

Ceanothus gloriosus porrectus, Mt. Vision Ceanothus - grid24_12
An old picture of Ceanothus  gloriosus growing over rocks next to a brick patio. - grid24_12
Ceanothus gloriosus gloriosus, Holly Ceanothus Holly Ceanothus likes to be near the coast. It doesn't do well in the interior. It reaches only a foot tall. It likes sand and sun.
This picture of Ceanothus Louis Edmunds was take in the early 1980's. - grid24_12

Ceanothus griseus, Carmel Ceanothus

Carmel Ceanothus is a small tree or large shrub, growing 3 to 6 ft tall. It likes full sun. It will grow in sand or clay. It has light blue flowers.
Louis Edmunds Ceanothus - grid24_12

Ceanothus griseus, Louis Edmunds, Carmel Mountain Lilac

Louis Edmunds Carmel Mountain Lilac grows 3 to 6 ft tall. Deer love it. It likes temperatures above 20 deg F. It grows well along the coast. It does well in sand as well as clay, it has blue flowers. We've not grown this for quite awhile.

Ceanothus hearstiorum - grid24_12

Deer brush can be a nice little bush. - grid24_12

Ceanothus integerrimus, Deer Brush

Deer brush grows 3 to 6 ft tall. It likes full sun along the coast and part shade in the interior. It has white flowers. It likes clay or sand.
Ceanothus jepsonii, Musk Bush is another low growing Ceanothus. It is 2 to 3 ft tall and equally wide. It likes full sun on the coast and a little shade inland. It grows in clay and serpentine soils. It has blue flowers.
Ceanothus lemmonii has a grey look to it with green and blue mixed in. - grid24_12
Ceanothus lemmonii, Trinity Ceanothus grows to reach 3 ft tall. It has blue flowers and white bark. It is native to Northern California and Northern Central California. It need good drainage.
Ceanothus leucodermis, White bark Ceanothus in the wild - grid24_12
Ceanothus leucodermis, Whitebark Ceanothus grows 8 ft tall. It has light blue flowers and shiny green leaves. It is drought tolerant and cold tolerant. This is the mother plant for our beautiful L.T. Blue Ceanothus hybrid.
Sorry, an old picture of Maritime mountain lilac in full flower. This was in a landscape south of Cambria with no water, full bluff exposure. The plants were blasted by wind and salt spray. (The first week the irrigation flags we were using to mark the plants blew off, just the wire stake left.) Behind are the plants  Salvia spathacea and  Baccharis Pigeon Point. The Ceanothus maritimus is covering the ground only a few inches tall. - grid24_12

Ceanothus maritimus,
Maritime Lilac

Maritime mountain lilac grows only few inches tall. It is native along the bluffs and therefore is quite at home under seaside conditions. However it also requires the fog drip and mild climates of coastal areas. It has tiny little succulent leaves and blue flowers.
Ceanothus maritimus grows on coastal bluffs and covers the ground with blue in spring. - grid24_12
Ceanothus maritimus, Maritime Lilac

Ceanothus papillosus, Wart Stem Mountain Lilac

Wart-stem Ceanothus grows 3 to 9 ft tall. It likes clay and serpentine soils. It has blue flowers. It likes more moisture and con often be found near seasonal creaks.

Ceanothus purpureus, Hollyleaf Ceanothus 

Hollyleaf Ceanothus has blue flowers and holly leaves. It grows 3 to 6 ft tall and will grow in clay or serpentine. Deer don't like it much.

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Edited on Aug 12, 2012. Authors:
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