UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Here's a full list of all our water wise plants. You can also view an image gallery, or view the plants by categories.


Common Name
California Wild Lilac
Plant Type
Plant type depends on cultivar
Mature Size
Many different types
Water Requirements
None: avoid summer water
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun
  • Bees
  • Beneficials
Flower Color
Purple, dark blue, medium blue, white
Where to See
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

Ceanothus is a California native evergreen shrub. It is very showy in late winter and early spring when it covers itself with beautiful blossoms. Most Ceanothus have blue blooms that are very attractive to bees and other insects.

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. Cultivars should be researched carefully to select the right plant that meets individual garden conditions. 

It is best to prune Ceanothus 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.

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