Here is a Ceanothus trained as a small tree and used as a focal point. I mostly see Ceanothus grown as a shrub, but once in a while I see it as a tree like this and it’s just stunning. You want a large upright variety like ‘Ray Hartman’ or ‘El Dorado.’ Gorgeous, intense blue flowers, extremely low maintenance. Really the only drawback is that Ceanothus only lives for 10-15 years.
- Plant Ceanothus in the fall, that way it will get established during the winter rains (the only time of year it will tolerate being wet).
- Don’t amend your soil
- Don’t fertilize
- Don’t use drip irrigation
- Once Ceanothus is established, don’t water it more than every couple of weeks. Mine don’t get any direct water at all, just indirect water every other week.
- You can prune it a little after it flowers
- To prune Ceanothus as a tree, the following fall, remove the lower 1/3 branches then leave it alone to recover. Repeat the fall after that. Open up the branches a little so you have a tree, not a ball on a trunk. Here is a nice guide.