Water Wise Plants
California Wild Lilac
Plant type depends on cultivar
Many different types
None: avoid summer water
Full to half sun
Purple, dark blue, medium blue, white
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips
There are many different kinds of Ceanothus. Some are low growing ground covers, some are shrubs and some become tree-like. Most Ceanothus need to be planted in a dry part of the garden because they are very sensitive to summer watering. Ceanothus varieties originally from the coast, such as 'Carmel Creeper', are more tolerant of summer water. You should research cultivars carefully to select the right plant for your garden situation. A good resource is California Native Plants for the Garden written by Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien.
Ceanothus can be tricky to prune. It is best to prune them in the late summer when they are dormant. Take care not to cut into large branches -- only prune branches that are an inch or less in size.
Even with proper pruning and watering, these plants can be short-lived (five to ten years), but their beautiful spring flowers more than make up for any challenges.