How to grow Ceanothus
A garden favourite, Ceanothus is evergreen shrub with stunning blue flowers which makes it easy to identify in the garden. The most common varieties are blue and flower in late spring and summer. Ceanothus is easy to grow, but only in the right place which is simply a sheltered spot with sun, out of cold winds. Ceanothus is also known as California Lilac which accounts for it's dislike of cold exposed gardens. Ceanothus are mainly ** hardy which means they do need a sheltered spot in the garden, if your garden is on the chill side the hardiest variety is 'Autumnal Blue', which as the name suggests flowers in the late summer and early autumn, illustrated below.
Ceanothus will grow in almost any soil however if placed in a too windy or chilly spot the leaves with get wind burn, which will cause them to turn discoloured, brown and the shrub will fail to thrive. It can be tricky to get going in the right place, but once established Ceanothus are usually trouble free. Barring bad winters, they do not need to be pruned but if you find the Ceanothus is outgrowing its allotted space they can be pruned after flowering . Some Ceanothus do grow very large 3-4 metres which makes checking the plant label important for the eventual size important. Good strong blue varieties with the RHS garden merit award are 'Trewithen Blue' and 'Cascade.'
The early spring flowering varieties of Ceanothus look good with Clematis Montana illustrated in the image above right. Once planted in a sheltered spot away from chilly winds Ceanothus is trouble free and will reward with lovely blue flowers year after year. It is evergreen and the foliage is attractive small bright green leaves. Ceanothus is also suitable and ideal for planting in coastal areas.
There are also a few deciduous varieties of Ceanothus, such as Ceanothus x Pallidus 'Perle Rose' illustrated below left, which bear delicate attractive pale pink flowers from mid summer to early Autumn. This variety is also ** hardy and it needs to be planted in a sheltered spot on light well drained soil.