Californian Lilac

Ceanothus spp.

Ceanothus, Wild Lilac, Soap Bush, Redroot

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Ceanothus is a genus with over 60 mostly evergreen with some deciduous shrub and small tree species from the Rhamnaceae family. These plants originate from North America, they are typically grown for their dense clusters of tiny blue-purple, pink or white flowers and some species for their strongly scented flowers. Many are commonly known by the name Californian Lilac. They have simple, serrated leaves and like dry, hilly habitats, ranging from open forestland to coastal scrub. Common names for some plants in this genus include California Lilac, Wild Lilac and Soap Bush. They are relatively fast-growing plants but may be short-lived.
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Flowering time

Spring, Summer



Propagation through cuttings is considered moderately difficult. Semi-ripe cuttings may be taken from evergreen species from mid-summer through to autumn. Deciduous shrubs are better propagated from softwood cuttings, these may be taken from late spring through to mid-summer.


Ceanothus may be grown from seed, but they are difficult to germinate and many are unlikely to be true to type. To grow from seed, physical seed coat dormancy must be broken before successful germination. First, soak seeds in hot water for 24 hours, then cold stratify for up to 3 months. Following cold stratification, keep at 16-18 degrees Celsius and germination should occur within 3 months.

Special features

Attractive flowers

Hedge plant



Full Sun

Soil moisture


Soil type

Sand, Loam, Chalk

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Alkaline, Acid

Frost hardiness





Flower colour

Blue, White, Purple, Pink



Related Problems

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Knowledge and advice

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