The Q&A Archives: Ceanothus

Question: In England in mid-May, we saw many bushes covered with blue "gumdrop"-shaped blossoms. We found out that these were Ceanothus. Are they available in the U.S.? If so, in what form, i.e. seeds, plants, etc.

Answer: Ceanothus ovatus has purple-blue blossoms and is sometimes called California Lilac. It's reported to grow well in zones 4-8, but might be borderline in your region, requiring winter protection. Ceanothus americanus, or New Jersey Tea, would be better suited to your region, but the blossoms are white rather than the purple-blue you've seen. Both shrubs are slow to moderate growers, reaching 4' high by 8' wide. Ceanothus plants should be available through R. Seawright Gardens, 201 Bedford Rd., Carlisle, MA 01741. Phone (508) 369-2172.

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