Ceanothus – Growing Information

Q: I would like to grow ceanothus and wonder whether you have had any experience with it.

A: Horticulturist Mike Dirr says his camera almost imploded when he saw a sky-blue ceanothus in Edinburgh. There are dozens of other ceanothus species; out West they’re called California lilac due to the immense trusses of blue flowers in spring. I have not had any experience with this plant. My research indicates that the awe-inspiring Western species do not tolerate high summer humidity like we have in Georgia.

Ceanothus americanus is commonly called New Jersey Tea and is said by Dirr to grow along highways in the Northeast. Local plant expert Shannon Pable says she has one planted on the edge of her woods and it has done well for a couple of years. My advice is to prepare a sunny bed with a high proportion of gritty sand and ground pinebark mixed with a bit of clay. Fertilize very lightly, water only in the deepest drought and let me know in a few years how your ceanothus plant fares.

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