Ceanothus - a closer look

January 2, 2017

 

Family Ramnacea- Ceanothus species at Clearwater Color Nursery

 

Ceanothus, also known as Wild Lilac, or Buckthorns, are a common native to the California landscape.  The name comes from the Greek, Keanthos meaning ‘thorny plant’.  Most Ceanothus species are frost and drought hardy and deer resistant, unless in very dry years.  Apparently they have a reputation for being short lived, due to some landscapers believing that they need soil amendments, fertilizer, or irrigation, all of which WILL cause the plant to lose its ability to survive in the California landscape, for which it is supremely successful.  Some species are Actinorhizal, meaning they fix nitrogen in a symbiotic relationship with the bacteria Frankia, living in nodes attached to their roots. 

We are currently growing 15 species of Ceanothus.  Please check our availability on our website www.clearwatercolor.com for the species that are currently available.  There are 3 different growth patterns of Ceanothus, Prostrate, or creeping, shrubby, or bush form, and thirdly, upright.  We will start with the Prostrate plants, and move on up!

 

Prostrate Species

 

‘Yankee Point’- C. grisius horizontalis - 2-3’ tall, 8-10’ wide.  1-1.5in glossy leaves. Bright blue flower.   Native to Monterey Co. at Yankee Point.  Often confused with our next specimen….

‘Carmel Creeper’- C. grisius horizontalis- 2-3’ tall, 8-10’ wide.  Larger, paler leaves than Yankee point, with lighter blue shade of flower. 

‘Centennial’- C. Hybrid- 6-12” tall, 4-8’ wide, dark green, glossy leaves with blue flowers Native to Sonoma County Coast. 

C. hearstorium- Hearst Ranch buckbrush- 6-12” tall, 6-8’ wide.  ½ in rectangular leaves, discovered at Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo County. 

C. Hybrid- ‘Joyce Coulter’- 2’ tall, 10’ wide, named after botanist John Coulters’ wife, how sweet.  Eliptic glossy leaves and blue blossom. 

C. gloriosus- ‘Anchor Bay’- 1-2’ tall, 6-8’ wide, very dense Holly-like foliage with dark blue flowers.  Found from Mendocino County down to Marin County, California. 

C. maritimus- ‘Frosty Dawn’- 1-2’ tall, 4-6’ wide, grey/green leaves, dark lavender/blue flowers appearing in winter.  Native to San Luis Obispo County. 

C. maritimus- ‘Pt. Sierra’- 2-3’ tall, 3-8’ wide.  Tiny, grey/green leaves with blue/purple flowers off of white buds.  Native to San Luis Obispo County. 

 

Shrubby Species

‘Concha’- C. Hybrid- 6-8’ tall, 4-8’ wide, small, bright green wrinkled elongated leaves with lighter blue large flowers. 

C. Hybrid- ‘Dark Star’- 6’ tall, 8-10’ wide.  Tiny dark green wrinkled leaves.  Cobalt blue flowers, similar to our next specimen….

C. ‘Julia Phelps’ -4-7’ tall, 7-9’ wide.  Small, dark green leaves, dark indigo showy flower clusters. 

C. thyrsiflorus- ‘Skylark’- 3’ tall, by 4’ wide.  Dark 2” leaves with dark blue flowers for an elongated period.  Provide cover for the native birds who eat their seed, and live under their cover. 

C. maritimus- ‘Valley Violet’.  3’ tall by 4’ wide, 1’ leaves, blue/purple flowers.  Native to San Luis Obispo County. 

 

Upright Species

C. ‘Blue Jeans’- 7-9’ tall and wide.  Small, Dark green leathery leaves profuse, pale blue flower clusters.  Native to Santa Margarita, San Luis Obispo County. 

C. ‘Ray Hartman’- 12-20’ tall, 5-20’ wide. Large 1-2” leaves, profuse purple bushy flower clusters early winter and spring. This plant can be trained into a beautiful tree.  Grows Nitrogen fixing nodes. 

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