Ceanothus 'Joyce Coulter'

Creeping Mountain Lilac

Use this mounding Ceanothus to cover large areas where its sprawling habit can be appreciated. If used in small gardens, it responds well to pruning. Its flowers bloom in mid-spring in medium-blue 5-inch spike-like clusters. It grows 2 to 5 feet tall and 10 to 12 feet across and has narrow, shiny, wrinkled green leaves. It is tolerant of heavy soil and regular garden water. Plant it in partial shade in warm inland locations and give it regular water.

Wildlife value: Ceanothus are hosts to a number of butterflies, including the Pipevine Swallowtail, Brown Elfin, Hedgerow Hairstreak, and Echo Blue. Their abundant flowers draw many insects. Ceanothus leaf litter supports plenty of invertebrates which, in turn, feed birds and lizards. The foliage provides excellent cover. The larger-leaved species are good forage for deer. Quail eat the small, hard seeds, and a number of mammals both large and small browse the twigs and foliage. 

Additional notes about Ceanothus: Many Ceanothus are prone to disease in summer-wet soils, so little watering is recommended after the plants are established. Tip-pruning will keep plants compact. Small, wrinkled, or spiny-leaved forms are usually unattractive to deer. Ceanothus roots fix nitrogen in the soil. These plants will suffer if their roots are handled. Do not pry or prune the roots.