A compact wider-than-tall mound of tight, dark-green leaves studded with bright-blue thimbles in early summer - perfect for smaller gardens
- Position: full sun
- Soil: fertile, well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: May to June
- Hardiness: frost hardy (needs winter protection in cold areas)
In late spring and early summer, this bushy evergreen shrub is smothered in clusters of of dark blue flowers among small, dark green, glossy leaves. It looks great in the middle of a south or west-facing mixed border, or as a specimen at the edge of a terrace or path. It requires protection from cold, drying winds.
- Garden care: Each year, after the plant has flowered, take out dead, diseased or damaged shoots and trim back the flowered shoots to the required shape. Apply a 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted organic matter around the base of the plant in spring.
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Q:Newly purchased Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Skylark'
Californian lilac, still flowering but the foliage is turning light green and dropping from the shrub. There is new darker green foliage growing. Is this normal?Asked on 4/7/2015 by Newgardener from Midlands
Plants will shed leaves when they are stressed in some way. This can be caused by too much or too little water, too much fertiliser or other chemicals in the soil. I'm afraid I have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of your leaf yellowing, but the fact that it is producing new healthy growth is a good sign. It could be that it is suffering from drought, so I would make sure that the soil is well drained but moist.
Hope this helps.Answered on 6/7/2015 by Anonymous from crocus
We have had a glorious ceanothus "Skylark" for 16 years. It is dying off now and I would like to replace it with another one, however, please could you tell me if its roots could cause damage to foundations if it is planted beside the house?
CorylusAsked on 3/7/2014 by corylus from North Berwick, Coast, south of Edinburgh
These plants are relatively modest in size and I have never heard of them causing damage to sound foundations.Answered on 4/7/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:Photinia 'Red Robin' has black spots on leaves? Also shrubs for sunny border please
Hello Crocus Can you tell me why my Photinia 'Red Robin' has black spots on its leave - and how to treat it please! Many thanks LindaAsked on 7/4/2010 by Linda Binfield
A:Hello Linda, The most likely cause of these black spots is Fungal Leaf Spot. This can be caused by a number of things, but is usually a result of the plant being stressed in some way. It may be that it was slightly too cold in winter, or if it is in a pot it may need to be moved to a larger one, or planted out into the ground. Keep an eye on the watering and try to improve the general growing conditions and you should start to see new growth. If the black spots are really unsightly, you should pick off the affected leaves (being careful not to defoliate it completely) and give it a feed with a general purpose fertiliser like Growmore. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 7/4/2010 by Linda Binfield
A:I'll try that Helen - thank you. Also I have a lovely Crocus voucher to spend! I have just cleared an old sunny border in front of an ornamental wall. I have kept a large Hydrangea at the end of the border but would like a couple of shrubs to put alongside to give some winter colour. Do you have any suggestions that would complement the Hydrangea? Thank you for your prompt reply. LindaAnswered on 7/4/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
A:Hello again Linda, Viburnum tinus 'French White' is an evergreen shrub that flowers in late winter and spring, so you could get too seasons of interest - just click on the following link to go straight to it. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/viburnum-tinus-french-white/classid.4484/ Mahonias will flower in winter too http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.mahonia/ while Daphne odora Aureomarginata is pretty early in the spring http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/daphne-odora-aureomarginata/classid.3751/ For shrubs that flower throughout the summer, then here are some of my favourites:- Ceanothus http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.ceanothus/ Lavender http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.lavandula/ Hebe http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.hebe/ I hope this gives you a few ideas. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 7/4/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Plants for a sunny bed and clay soil
Dear Sir or Madam We have been looking at various shrubs to plant into a border that gets plenty of sun all year round. The soil is clay based, which appears to dry out rapidly but it has been enriched from time to time with compost etc. Would you be able to offer any suggestions as to what we could plant? We have a few plants in the border....a palm that was planted last spring and appears to be establishing itself quite well, a holly tree that needs no attention as it's mature. Also we have 2 conifers which were planted with no real thought to be honest; although they were initially in pots on our decking,- I don't think they will grow too tall due to their variety. We would like something that will flower, but not grow too high, say, no more than 2metres or so in maturity. We are eager to get something of worth growing, as our neighbours have cut down a lot of their trees and shrubs adjacent to our fence, leaving the view somewhat sterile and unappealing. Just for the record, the opposite side of our garden is fine! Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated. Thank you.Asked on 15/3/2010 by peter mcintyre
A:Hello There, There are several plants that may be suitable - here are some of the best. Ceanothus thyrsiflorus Skylark http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/ceanothus-thyrsiflorus-skylark/classid.728/ Choisya ternata http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/choisya-ternata-/classid.825/ Escallonia Apple Blossom http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/escallonia-apple-blossom/classid.3789/ Viburnum tinus French White http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/viburnum-tinus-french-white/classid.4484/ I hope this helps, Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 16/3/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Ceonothus 'caught' by cold weather....
Hi, I wonder if you could help me! I have a large, established low-growing Ceanothus that has never had a problem with the cold weather before, but this year's snow has caused most of the usually evergreen foliage to turn brown and take a turn for the worse. There is still some foliage towards the bottom of the plant that's still green. Do I leave it be, trim it back or has it died? Many thanks, GarethAsked on 26/2/2010 by Anonymous
A:Hello Gareth, Ceanothus are not fully hardy, and they are quite short-lived too, so they usually only last around 6 - 8 years. Therefore I suspect that the combination of old age and freezing temps have taken their toll and it is time to replace it. I'm sorry not to be more help. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 26/2/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Growing plants for a wedding
Dear Crocus, I am a very happy customer ..... I love your site, plants and service. I learnt about you first from Arabella Lennox-Boyd. But now I am writing for some advice please. My sister is getting married in Oxfordshire on the last weekend of May. I would love to grow the flowers for the wedding. I have a big garden with empty beds and a green house at my disposal. Could you give me some advice on types of cut flowers that would be in bloom at the end of May? Some pointers as a place to start my research and buying would be fantastic. Thank you very much, Best wishes, KateAsked on 8/1/2010 by Kate Olivia Higginbottom
A:Hello Kate, It will be a little hit and miss as a lot will depend on the weather, but the following plants should be in flower around that time. Choisya ternata
Osmanthus x burkwoodii
Viburnum x carlcephalum
http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.paeonia/ Euphorbia palustris
and if we have a hot start to the summer a couple of roses or some of the earlier lavenders may have started too. I hope this gives you lots of ideas. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 8/1/2010 by Kate Olivia Higginbottom
A:Thank you so much Helen - amazing! I'll send you photos of the finished results. Best wishes and thanks again, KateAnswered on 8/1/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Clay loving evergreen plant for covering a wall
Sir, I need to hide an ugly brick wall. I would prefer to have all year cover, meaning evergreen, and not over 6` or so tall, and able to thrive in my clay rich soil. I thought of a blue lilac but am not sure if the roots could cope. A variety of plants might look nice and would breakup the monotony of the wall, but your advice would be much appreciated. Sincerely, Dorothy.Asked on 17/12/2009 by dorothy
A:Hello Dorothy, There are several plants you could consider, including the Ceanothus if your soil is not too heavy. Alternatively any of the following would work well Aucuba http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.aucuba/ Elaeagnus x ebbingei http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/elaeagnus-%C3%97-ebbingei-/classid.3772/ Garrya http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/garrya-elliptica-james-roof/classid.3880/ Pyracantha http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.pyracantha/ I hope this gives you a few ideas. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 17/12/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Specimen Ceanothus or another large bushy shrub....
Good afternoon, When I was first looking for a Ceanothus to replace the one we have in our front garden, I looked on your website, but you only had small ones. Our once lovely Ceanothus has been pruned out of all recognition again this year, as I planted it a bit too near our boundary when it was a baby. I know it may come back, but it is getting ridiculous as every time it grows back it has to be cut back again severely and then ooks a mess for most of the year. Have you got a nice, tall, bushy Ceanothus to replace it? I love my Ceanothus but perhaps if you don't have a big one, do you have another large, flowering shrub as an alternative? Hope you can help Regards MargaretAsked on 5/12/2009 by D DRAKETT
A:Hello Margaret, it is rare to find larger sized Ceanothus as they are usually quite short-lived and don't normally live longer than 6 - 8 years. We do have a selection of larger shrubs on our site like Hamamelis, Hydrangeas, Magnolias, Acer, Cornus, Cotinus, Philadelphus, Syringa and Viburnum, so you may find something of interest. They will be listed in this section. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 8/12/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Rabbit proof shrubs
Dear Sirs We are planning to plant a 30mt long border with flowering shrubs and have assorted colours of Rhododendrons in mind. Our main concern is that the shrubs must be rabbit proof as the border is adjacent to woods and a large grassed area. Also, where possible we would like to have 'flowers' on the shrubs throughout the summer. Would you be able to provide a picking list of suitable shrubs? Thank you for your prompt attention AndyAsked on 15/6/2009 by Clark, Andy (buying)
A:Hello there, These are really troublesome pests, and there are no effective deterrents available (apart from getting a guard dog) which will be any help to you. They tend to prefer leaves and soft stems rather than flowers and woody stems, and they seem to prefer feeding in exposed positions and often nibble plants at the edge of borders. This habit can be used to the gardener's advantage by planting more valuable subjects in the centre of beds. In winter, when food is scarce, deciduous plants at the edge of beds will not interest rabbits, and will help protect winter flowers in the centre. Below is a list of flowering shrubs which they usually tend to leave alone. Buddleia davidii, Ceanothus Cistus Cotoneaster dammeri Deutzia Hebe Hypericum Hydrangea Mahonia aquifolium Potentilla fructicosa Rhododendron spp. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 17/6/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:When is the best time to plant the border on a budget?
We are intrested in purchasing the plants suggested on 'money's tight' pre-planned border. Can you suggest when it is best to plant these plants?Asked on 3/2/2006 by sarah keeling
A:As a rule hardy plants grown in containers (such as the majority of the ones we sell), can be planted at any time of year as long as the soil isn't frozen solid. The best times to plant however are in the autumn when the soil is still warm enough to encourage root growth but the plant isn't in active growth, or in spring before the temperatures start to rise. You can also plant in mid summer as long as you make sure the plants are kept well watered.Answered on 6/2/2006 by Crocus
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