Ceanothus (or any shrub) as an ornamental tree

Ceanothus pruned as a standard tended.wordpress.com

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.

  1. 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).
  2. Don’t amend your soil
  3. Don’t fertilize
  4. Don’t use drip irrigation
  5. 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.
  6. You can prune it a little after it flowers
  7. 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.


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