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Hearst's Ceanothus Back to Plant Page
Ceanothus hearstiorum

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About Hearst's Ceanothus (Ceanothus hearstiorum) Ceanothus hearstiorum is a species of flowering shrub known by the common names Hearst Ranch Buckbrush and Hearst's Ceanothus. This Ceanothus is endemic to California, where it grows wild only on the hilly coastline of San Luis Obispo County. This shrub is generally wider than it is tall and often lies prostrate in a mat on the ground. The younger branches are hairy and somewhat feltlike in texture. The distinctive evergreen leaves are oval to almost rectangular and have a cupped, rippled surface. The edges are toothed with tiny hairy knobs and the shiny surface may be dotted with more knobs. The underside of the leaf is fuzzy to hairy. The flower clusters are borne on short, stout stalks and the tiny flowers are lavender to blue with prominent yellow-anthered blue stamens.

This plant prefers to be near the coast where it would have cooler temperatures and some fog. If planted inland, give afternoon shade and an occasional rinse in the summer. It is a rare plant in the wild due to its extremely limited distribution. However, it is a popular garden plant and is readily available at nurseries.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
0.2 - 1 ft (0.06 - 0.3 m)

Max. Width
8 ft (2.4 m)


Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate


Flower Color
Blue, Lavender

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Grassy slopes, coastal terraces and bluffs typically overlooking the ocean in northern San Luis Obispo County, as part of coastal prairie, chaparral or coastal sage scrub vegetation.


Elevation ?
17' - 558'

Annual Precip. ?
20.8" - 24.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.32" - 0.38"

Coldest Month ?
49.6° F - 50.8° F

Hottest Month ?
61.7° F - 65.5° F

Humidity ?
1.23 vpd - 11.11 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates sandy/rocky, clay or adobe soils but not pure beach sand

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.5

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Sodic Soil

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 17° F

Companion Plants
Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds and insects are attracted to the flowers. Plants in the Ceanothus genus are host plants to the Spring Azure, Echo Blue, Pacuvius Duskywing, California Tortoiseshell, Pale Swallowtail, and Hedgerow Hairstreak butterflies.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Prune tips if needed to contain spread

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Hot water treatment.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Groundcovers, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Hearst Ranch Buckbrush

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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