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Description

Concha ceanothus is a medium to large mounding shrub with arching stems and a mounding habit, 6-9 ft. tall, 8-12 ft. wide. Its narrow leaves grow to 1 in. long, 3/8 in. wide, are dark glossy green and heavily wrinkled. Very showy flowers are dark cobalt-blue and occur in numerous tight round clusters in late winter to early spring.

Concha ceanothus is one of the most striking California native flowering accent plants for garden and landscape use in the Inland Empire. It shows good tolerance to sun and heat and will bloom profusely following normal winter rains. Its deep flower color has made it a popular choice for planting in sunny areas in coast live oak and western sycamore gardens. It is used in background areas and for screening where its seasonal flower display transforms it into a focal feature. It shows a greater adaptation to heavy soils than other Ceanothus, but good drainage and careful summer watering is always important.

Water Needs

The Concha ceanothus is well adapted to warm and sunny climate conditions throughout the Inland Empire. Established plants grow well with only periodic deep irrigation in the summer; overwatering is to be carefully avoided. Ceanothus are vulnerable to disease problems and sudden death when summer irrigation produces moist soil and leaf litter conditions during the summer months.

The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; it is desirable to have leaf litter and the top layer of soil beneath the canopy to dry out between irrigation applications.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Arching
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 6 ft. - 9 ft.
Width: 6 ft. - 10 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Blue
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Heat, Drought, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Flowering accent plant, California native, Attracts butterflies

Maintenance

Prune by heading back as much of the new-ish growth as desired in April or May, after flowering. Further prune in the same way, if desired, in November. New growth over the cool season will have time to develop flower buds for spring. Ceanothus are browsed by Deer. Think like you are a deer having a snack with your pruners. By mid-winter it is too late to prune or you will be removing the growth that would form the flower buds that will bloom in Spring (1). Not pruning immediately after flowers fade will result in branches with leaves, followed by stems with no leaves (where the flowers were) followed by leaves again. For dense shrubs, be sure to prune off the spent flower clusters. Ceanothus tend to die or not live long if given too much summer water. They are beautiful and very rewarding plants to grow, but not necessarily the easiest for new gardeners because of this (3). Older branches often do not react well to pruning, so it is better not to prune any branches greater than the diameter of a pencil (7).

References

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