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Ceanothus  'Dark Star' California lilac
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Ceanothus 'Dark Star'

(California lilac)

This popular small leaved shrub reaches 4 - 6 ft. high by 6 - 10 ft. wide. The electric cobalt-blue flowers cover the plant in spring and are very popular with bees and butterflies. Plant in full sun and provide decent drainage. Not a good choice for hot, inland areas. Drought tolerant. 'Dark Star' is VERY similar to 'Julia Phelps' but differs mainly in size. 'Dark Star' tends to stay a little smaller. Shrubby Ceanothus provide seeds eaten by bushtits, mockingbirds, quail and finches, as well as cover for birds.
Ceanothus  'Frosty Blue' California lilac
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Ceanothus 'Frosty Blue'

(California lilac)

  A Rancho Santa Ana introduction from the mid 1970's. This upright evergreen shrub reaches 8 to 12 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide with glossy green, textured foliage.  Flowers in late spring with 2-4 inch panicles of beautiful blue flowers with a frosted appearance due to the white bracts on the buds.  Useful as a specimen or screen due to its rapid growth. Amenable to pruning and can be trained into a small tree or espaliered subject. This reliable cultivar tolerates heavy soils better than most upright Ceanothus. Does best in full sun and will be drought tolerant once established. California lilac are valuable additions to the habitat garden. 

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Ceanothus 'Joan Mirov'

(California lilac)

A naturally occurring hybrid from the Sonoma Coast selected by Roger Raiche and introduced by the U.C. Berkeley Botanic Garden. Low spreading habit with a dense form grows 4 ft. tall spreading widely 6-10 ft. or more. The small dark green shiny leaves are topped with an abundance of dark pink buds opening to cobalt blue flower clusters in the spring.  An excellent bank cover where a dense ground covering shrub is needed on a sunny dry site.  When planted inland a little afternoon shade and some summer irrigation is best. Ceanothus are valuable habitat plants where they offer food and cover and excellent forage for pollinators.
Ceanothus  'Joyce Coulter' California lilac
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Ceanothus 'Joyce Coulter'

(California lilac)

A very useful medium sized mounding evergreen groundcover discovered in 1956 by John Coulter. Grows 3 - 5 ft. tall and spreads 12 ft. or more wide. Medium-blue flowers cover this shrub in spring. Tolerates garden conditions better than most Ceanothus. Responds well to shearing and can easily be kept to a more compact size. Plant in full sun where it is drought tolerant but best with some summer water in hot interior sites. Shrubby ceanothus provide seeds eaten by bushtits, mockingbirds, quail and finches, as well as cover for birds.
Ceanothus  'Julia Phelps' California lilac
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Ceanothus 'Julia Phelps'

(California lilac)

This much admired hybrid Ceanothus features a compact and bushy form, about 6 to 8 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide. Spectacular in spring when glowing dark indigo flowers cover the plant, accented by reddish buds. Small and crinkled dark green leaves provide an excellent backdrop for the richly colored flowers. Plant in full sun. Needs good drainage and summer drought once established. Does not do well in hot, interior climates. Very hard to distinguish from 'Dark Star', 'Julia Phelps' is somewhat larger. Shrubby Ceanothus provide seeds eaten by bushtits, mockingbirds, quail and finches, as well as cover for birds.
Ceanothus  'Ray Hartman' California lilac
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Ceanothus 'Ray Hartman'

(California lilac)

Beautiful large shrub rapidly grows 12 - 20 ft. tall and wide. Dark, shiny green foliage with large, medium blue spike-like flower clusters in the spring. Tolerates pruning and can be trained as a small tree or sheered to create a tall hedge. This selection is especially adaptable, tolerating heat, some summer water and drought. Plant in sun or very light shade. 'Ray Hartman' is a cross between the species C. arboreus and C. thyrsiflorus var. griseus. Ceanothus provide habitat and forage for a wide variety of birds.
Ceanothus arboreus 'Cliff Schmidt' island ceanothus
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Ceanothus arboreus 'Cliff Schmidt'

(island ceanothus)

Selected from Santa Cruz Island by Native Son's Nursery, this handsome cultivar has a strong upright habit, growing into a tall and spreading shrub as much as 15-20 ft. tall and wide. Large dark green glossy leaves have white felted undersides. Medium blue flower spikes blossom in late winter to early spring and often again in fall. Excellent for coastal gardens in full sun, give some afternoon shade and a little summer water in warmer inland sites. This large shrub can be pruned into a lovely small tree. Ceanothus are excellent additions to habitat gardens where they provide food, cover and nesting sites for birds and beneficial insects.  
Ceanothus confusus  Rincon Ridge ceanothus
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Ceanothus confusus

(Rincon Ridge ceanothus)

Plant description coming soon.
Ceanothus cordulatus  mountain whitethorn
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Ceanothus cordulatus

(mountain whitethorn)

Plant description coming soon.
Ceanothus cuneatus  buckbrush
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Ceanothus cuneatus

(buckbrush)

One of California's most widespread species offering a variety of forms. Typically buckbrush grows as an arching shrub growing 5 - 8 ft. or more tall and wide with small, thick, leathery leaves. Flowers can range from white to lavender to purple and are produced in small tight clusters in early spring. When in full bloom, the powerfully sweet scent of the flowers engulfs the visiting hiker. An excellent choice for hot dry conditions and difficult sites where it will grow in full sun with little to no water once established. Valuable addition to the habitat garden where it provides food and cover for a wide array of wildlife, birds, bees and butterflies. Said to be deer resistant.

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Ceanothus cuneatus - flat form

(prostrate buckbrush)

This unusual form of the ubiquitous buckbrush comes to us from Yerba Buena Nursery. Reaches a height of only 1 - 2 ft. and spreads out to 6 ft. or more. Pale blue flowers appear in early spring and perfume the air with their sweet fragrance. Bees and butterflies are drawn to the flowers while birds enjoy the seeds which follow. An excellent groundcover for hot, dry banks requiring no irrigation once established. Needs full sun and good drainage. Likely to be deer resistant.

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Ceanothus divergens ssp. confusus

(Rincon Ridge ceanothus)

A species of special concern due to its limited distribution in the wild and continued habitat loss. The Rincon Ridge ceanothus is worth considering for those hot inland gardens where some of the more commonly available coastal ceanothus may not be as long lived. Forms a low growing mound of decumbent stems with small holly-like leaves usually under a foot tall. Flowers in dense clusters in early spring are lavender-purple. Plant in sunny areas with good drainage and little to no water once established. Ceanothus are wonderful additions to the habitat garden attracting a wide array of wildlife. This species is likely to be deer resistant.

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Ceanothus foliosus

(wavyleaf ceanothus)

Not commonly found in the trade, this rugged shrub is native to dry slopes of the Coast Ranges nearly throughout the state. Grows to around 3 ft. tall by 6 ft. wide, with glossy wavy-edged leaves and brilliant blue flower clusters in the spring. Perfectly suited for dry banks and slopes in hot summer areas where it tolerates heat, drought and even winter cold. Not tolerant of summer water once established.  Excellent for the habitat garden where it provides nectar to pollinators, larval food for moths and butterflies and cover and seed for birds.
Ceanothus gloriosus var. exaltatus 'Emily Brown' Navarro ceanothus
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Ceanothus gloriosus var. exaltatus 'Emily Brown'

(Navarro ceanothus)

One of the earliest blooming California lilacs. A low spreading evergreen shrub 2 - 4 ft. tall, 8 - 10 ft. wide with dark green hollylike leaves. Flowers of dark violet blue in 1 inch clusters cover the shrub in early spring. Sun and drought tolerant. Shrubby ceanothus provide seeds eaten by bushtits, mockingbirds, quail and finches, as well as cover for birds. Perhaps the most deer resistant of the ceanothus.
Ceanothus gloriosus var. gloriosus 'Anchor Bay' Point Reyes ceanothus
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Ceanothus gloriosus var. gloriosus 'Anchor Bay'

(Point Reyes ceanothus)

This Point Reyes ceanothus grows 1 - 2 ft. high or more and spreads 8 ft. wide or more with an attractively dense and luxuriant appearance. The evergreen foliage is dark green and holly-like in shape. Flowers of blue-violet cover the plant in spring. Sun to light shade. Drought tolerant along the coast - a little extra water inland but will tolerate up to moderate irrigation. Ceanothus are great additions to the habitat garden offering food and cover for birds and nectar for bees and butterflies. This species is somewhat deer resistant.

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Ceanothus gloriosus var. gloriosus 'Heart's Desire'

(Point Reyes ceanothus)

One of the lowest growing ceanothus, under one foot tall and spreading three or more feet wide. The small, holly-like leaves line stems which tightly hug the ground. Performs better than most ground cover ceanothus on relatively hot inland sites. Flowers of lavender-blue appear in early spring. Sun, decent drainage, moderate to little summer water once established. Ceanothus are excellent additions to the habitat garden offering flowers for pollinators and seeds for birds. Deer resistant.
Ceanothus griseus 'Kurt Zadnik' Carmel ceanothus
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Ceanothus griseus 'Kurt Zadnik'

(Carmel ceanothus)

Selected by Roger Raiche of the UC Berkeley Botanic Garden from the northern Sonoma Coast. Grows about 3 ft. tall and 10 - 15 ft. wide. The flower buds are very dark with beautiful rich indigo blue flowers, perhaps the darkest of any ceanothus. This fine selection is a prolific bloomer and works well to cover large banks in a hurry. Low to moderate irrigation. Shrubby ceanothus provide seeds eaten by bushtits, mockingbirds, quail and finches, as well as cover for birds.
Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis 'Diamond Heights' Carmel ceanothus
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Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis 'Diamond Heights'

(Carmel ceanothus)

Grown for its beautiful golden variegated foliage, this low growing shrub spreads 3 - 5 ft. wide and up to 1 ft. high. Scant, light blue flowers in spring contrast nicely with the yellow foliage. Best with light shade in warmer regions. Enjoys some summer water though drought tolerant once established. Discovered from a colony of cultivated Carmel ceanothus in San Francisco in the area known as Diamond Heights.
Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis 'Yankee Point' Carmel ceanothus
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Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis 'Yankee Point'

(Carmel ceanothus)

An energetic bright green shrub growing up to 3 ft. tall and spreading rapidly to 10 - 12 ft. wide. Powder blue flowers in the spring. A good evergreen weed-smothering groundcover for full sun to light shade. Drought tolerant but appreciates an occasional summer watering and will accept moderate water. Tolerant of hot interior locations as long as some shade and irrigation are provided. Ceanothus are great additions to the habitat garden offering food and cover for birds and nectar for bees and butterflies.
Ceanothus hearstiorum  Hearst ceanothus
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Ceanothus hearstiorum

(Hearst ceanothus)

A rare species with limited distribution in San Luis Obispo County. One of the lowest of the ceanothus, up to 12 inches tall and 6 ft. wide. Often completely flat with a star-like pattern of growth. Medium-blue flowers sit atop the narrow, wrinkled leaves in spring. Sun to light shade. More shade tolerant than most Ceanothus, making it a suitable option for under the dappled shade of oaks. Drought tolerant but will accept occasional irrigation. Excessive irrigation will shorten the life of this species. Provide good drainage.

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Ceanothus incanus

(coast whitethorn)

A common and widespread Ceanothus found in the coast ranges of northern California but rarely cultivated in gardens. Probably best suited to conditions similar to where it would be found in the wild. Sunny slopes, canyons, the dappled shade in woodlands, with decent drainage, no to little summer water and full sun to light shade. Growing 5-10 ft. tall with arching rigid branches, whitish bark, stout twiggy spines and evergreen oval leaves of grey-green. Plumes of fragrant white flowers in the spring attract a wide array of insects, birds and butterflies.  
Ceanothus integerrimus  deer brush
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Ceanothus integerrimus

(deer brush)

Deer brush is an excellent addition to the dry garden, featuring an abundance of blue, white or even pink flower plumes in late spring. One of the few deciduous species, displaying soft flat leaves which fall in autumn and reemerge in spring. Deer brush is an open upright shrub, growing 5 - 12 feet tall with many different growth habits. A variable species found in a wide range of habitats throughout the state. Often used in restoration for its rugged qualities and ability to deal with summer heat and winter cold. This crop, grown from seed collected near Lake Sonoma has white flowers. Plant in full sun to light shade with good drainage. Little to no summer water once established.  

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Ceanothus maritimus 'Point Sierra'

(Santa Barbara ceanothus)

An excellent choice for a small scale ground cover, this rare Ceanothus is found on coastal bluffs and low hills in northern San Luis Obsipo County. Even though it is native to the coast it does surprisingly well inland. Smaller and slower growing than most Ceanothus, it blooms very early often beginning in late January or early February. 'Point Sierra' was selected from Arroyo de la Cruz by Native Son's Nursery. Grows 2-3 ft. tall and wide with small, thick, leathery leaves and a dense mounding habit looking almost like Cotoneaster. Rounded clusters of blue-violet flowers from dusty white buds in late winter provide an early nectar source for pollinators of all sorts. A natural for coastal areas in full sun but has proven durable inland when it is provided a little shade. Tolerates heavy soils. Drought tolerant once established. Somewhat deer resistant.
Ceanothus maritimus 'Popcorn' Santa Barbara ceanothus
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Ceanothus maritimus 'Popcorn'

(Santa Barbara ceanothus)

This groundcover or small specimen shrub blooms clean white flowers in late winter. In spite of its coastal origin it has been long-lived and very drought tolerant here in Fulton. Up to 3 ft. tall by 5 ft. wide. Provide sun to light shade and decent drainage. Ceanothus are fabulous pollinator plants and provide food and cover for birds.
Ceanothus maritimus 'Valley Violet' Santa Barbara ceanothus
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Ceanothus maritimus 'Valley Violet'

(Santa Barbara ceanothus)

Valley Violet ceanothus is a tough and reliable shrub introduced by the UC Davis Arboretum as an "Arboretum All-Star", one of their 100 top recommended plants. This relatively small Ceanothus grows 2 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide with small leathery leaves and gorgeous dark-violet flowers in early spring. Though native to coastal bluffs of San Luis Obispo County, it performs well in both coastal and inland situations. In hot inland sites it may be best with a little afternoon shade. Drought tolerant once established. For a Ceanothus it is slower growing and has proven to be long lived and tolerant of many soil types. A wide array of pollinators are attracted to its flowers. Deer resistant.

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