Shrubs are often used in garden design to add structure or backbone, but if you want to add evergreen foliage and flowers to this picture then Ceanothus may be the plant for you. Commonly referred to as the ‘Californian Lilac’, Ceanothus produces masses of blue/lilac blooms in late spring/early summer and is a fabulous plant to add to the garden and your plant collection in general.
Ceanothus are easy to grow, frost hardy plants that originally hail from California, USA. This beautiful shrub grows well in the UK and unsurprisingly they are easy to care for with few problems. After buying your plants you should endeavor to move them in to their final planting positions as soon as possible. If you cannot plant immediately, ensure that you water plants well, keeping the roots moist at all times and store our plants in a cool and bright space until planting is possible.
A position in full sun will be thoroughly enjoyed by your Ceanothus and it will thrive if you can afford them this. Position your plants towards the middle or back of borders or grow as individual specimens. They can be grown in containers as long as they are fed well, kept moist and moved away from frost pockets or areas that are likely to freeze. A large container is advisable and you may wish to add an annual display at the base of the plant to add seasonal interest.
Ceanothus is undemanding in terms of the soil it will happily grow in. For best results and to create the best display, soil should have a relatively good fertility and good drainage, although soil should remain moisture retentive. To prepare for planting you can incorporate organic matter, such as well-rotted garden compost or multi-purpose compost and apply a general fertiliser to provide plants with the essential nutrients for growth. An annual mulch of organic matter will also help to improve soil structure and insulate plant roots whilst keeping weeds at bay.
Caring for your Ceanothus is relatively straightforward and as long as you prepare soil and give it plenty of sun it should thrive. After planting water plants well to ensure that they develop strong roots and establish well. You should make sure that plants do not dry out completely as this will increase stress and inhibit growth. Prune plants lightly after flowering as this will help to encourage new growth and improve the overall shape of plants. You should also prune any dead or diseased branches to improve health.
You can propagate Ceanothus simply by taking cuttings in August. Gently remove semi-ripe material. Select the strongest shoots only and discard the lower leaves of the selected material. Place the cuttings in to good cuttings compost and allow thee to sit in a propagator or cold frame until they have formed roots.