The Q&A Archives: California Lilac

Question: Gentlemen:

am visiting in Bellingham Washington and was in Victoria, BC last weekend. I saw a low trimmed (or naturally growing) shrub in downtown which had blue flowers and was very attractive to bees. This was very interesting since I am a Beekeeper and always on the lookout for plants that attract bees.

One person later told me that it was probably California lilac. I purchased one plant (Ceanothus Victoria) of the one gallon size produced by your nusery but it was not blooming.

Is this shrub very attractive to bees?
If not, have you any idea what shrub it might have been?

If this plant is attractive and does well in GA this summer I will be interested in purchasing more. Do you have a catalogue you could send me.


Answer: There are many species and cultivars of Ceanothus; bloom color ranges from powder blue to deep violet. Most bloom in the spring and are quite attractive to bees. The plants are native to California but grow in the Pacific Northwest, eastern Rocky Mountains and Mexico. As long as your winters are relatively mild, Ceanothus should perform well in your garden. You can visit the Monrovia website to see which cultivars are available. (
Their entire catalog is online. Enjoy!

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