california native flora

a drought tolerant patio garden of mostly natives

Red-Heart Mountain Lilac Journal

Ceanothus Spinosus – Red-Heart Mountain Lilac

Jan 10, 2010. - Ceanothus Spinosus - Red-Heart Mountain Lilac
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Ceanothus Spinosus is more commonly know as either “Green Bark Ceanothus” or “Red-Heart Mountain Lilac”. This is the third of my three California Lilacs and is native to Southern California, often seen growing nearby in the Santa Monica Mountains. We picked up this specimen on a trip to Santa Barbara Botanic Garden last autumn.

It appears to be a fairly slow grower but perhaps conditions are not ideal? I have seen conflicting information about the best micro climate so we went for full sun against a south facing wall in a terra cotta planter with good amount of perlite mixed into the soil to help drainage. We’ve only had it a few months so I’m sure it needs a bit longer to settle in after the initial transplanting from the nursery container.

The foliage is a much lighter green than the other two Ceanothus plants and the flowers are likely to be pale blue to white (can’t confirm, haven’t seen any yet). Like the other two Lilacs, this plant is drought tolerant and too much care in the summer is likely to kill it. I am assuming that the planter specimens may need a little water in the summer since the roots can’t go to the same depth as ground specimens, but watering should be seldom and summer fertilizer is an absolute no no.

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Plant Meta Data

Common NameRed-Heart Mountain Lilac
Botanic NameCeanothus Spinosus
Bloom PeriodSpring
Bloom Color
Light RequiredSun
Water ToleranceOccassional
Potential Size (H x W)8' x 8'
NotesAttracts ButterfliesAttracts SongbirdsAttracts HummingbirdsFragrant


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Jan 10, 2010. - Ceanothus Spinosus - Red-Heart Mountain LilacNov 8, 2009. - Ceanothus Spinosus - Red-Heart Mountain Lilac