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The Joyce Coulter ceanothus grows into a medium to large mounding to sprawling shrub, growing 4-5 ft. tall, spreading at least 10-12 ft. across. Dark green leaves grow 1 1/2 in. long by 1/2 in. wide and are heavily wrinkled. Long clusters of medium to light blue flowers develop provide a showy display in late winter to early spring.

Joyce Coulter ceanothus is well suited as a bank and background plant to cover large spaces and where it can provide handsome year around foliage color and colorful springtime flower value. It can be clipped as a hedge when planted in tight spaces. Like other varieties of Ceanothus, it grows most reliably in well-drained soils and with careful summer watering. In hot Inland Empire landscapes and gardens it maintains better foliage character when protected from hot afternoon sun.

Water Needs

Joyce Coulter ceanothus is well adapted to growing with the winter rainfall in the Inland Empire and periodic irrigation in the summer. Young plants will grow faster with moderate amounts of water during dry winter spells; established plants grow well with periodic deep irrigation in the summer. 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 marked 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 2

  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 to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 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" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Sprawling, Mounding
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Width: 10 ft. - 12 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Blue
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Drought, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Wildlife value, Flowering accent plant, California native, Banks, Attracts butterflies


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).



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