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Tree Project.

Ceanothus Californian Lilac.

The Ceanothus comes from the southern part of the State of California in USA and because of its fragrant blue flowers it has the common name of California Lilac, although of course it is not related to the Syringa, or true Lilac. It is quite fast growing and as a wild tree can reach some 20 feet in height, but most cultivated varieties are considerable smaller growing to only a few feet and they are grown as bushes with some being Prostrate or mound forming. These fast growing, evergreen shrubs are quite short lived lasting only 10 15 years, but they give a fantastic display of flowers in late April to early June that are usually shades of blue with some varieties having white, or pink flowers.
Ceanothus prefer to be planted in full sun as planting in the shade may result in a loss of flowers and Plants also need a sheltered spot away from strong, cold, winter winds that can kill the plants and indeed any strong winds may scorch the leaves. Conditions need to be right as regards water as well. In particular they do not like to have wet roots, especially during winter, on the other hand they do not respond well to being too dry either. Their leaves may well turn tallow as a result of either problem and yellowing can also occur due to mineral deficiency in poor soils. Ceanthus are otherwise, quite a hardy, Evergreen plant, here in the UK and a popular choice for smaller gardens. However, when planting a pot grown specimen you need to make sure that it is in the right place to start with as they do not like being dug up and transplanted at a later date. If you must move one, it is best done when they are still small as they have a deep Taproot, and they should be moved during their dormant period in the Winter, well before their Buds begin to break in Spring.
Having said all that, Ceanothus are a reliable garden plant and are not prone to many pests, or diseases, with the exception of scale insects and Honey Fungus. Nor are any parts of the plants toxic. Indeed, Ceanothus are used medicinally for some Bronchial Complaints such as Asthma, Whooping Cough, Tonsillitis and Sore Throats.
They are also great for Wildlife because Butterflys will be drawn to them from all around as will Deer which can be a problem if they can get to them as they like to eat them and they can cause a lot of damage.

Most Ceanothus do not respond well to hard pruning especially into older wood and if pruning is done, care must be taken to do it at the correct time of year as it does vary from one species to another. However, with care, they can be trained to grow up walls and fences.



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