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Carmel Ceanothus
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus
About Carmel Ceanothus (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus) Nurseries Show All Photos Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus is a variety of flowering shrub known by the common name Carmel ceanothus. It formerly called Ceanothus griseus and considered a separate species and some sources may still use this terminology. This Ceanothus is endemic to coastal California, where its distribution extends through coastal central California to the southern half of the the northern California coast. Unlike the always low growing Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. thyrsiflorus, var griseus is quite variable in form, ranging from low and spreading to rounded and upright. This shrub may exceed two meters in height when mostly erect, or it can grow wider than tall. The evergreen leaves are ribbed and have slightly serrated edges and fuzzy undersides. The flower clusters are borne on thick stalks a few centimeters long and are dense with small blue or purple flowers. The fruit is a sticky black capsule about 4 millimeters in length containing usually 3 seeds. This is a plant of the chaparral and coastal scrub plant communities. It is widely available in nurseries.

Carmel Ceanothus is easy to grow and fast growing in its natural range. It grows in a wide range of soils, and tolerates summer water up to 2x per week. There are several popular named cultivars including 'Carmel Creeper' and 'Yankee Point'. The term var. horizontalis is also sometimes used for the prostrate form.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3 - 15 ft (0.9 - 4.6 m)

Max. Width
4 - 15 ft (1.2 - 4.6 m)

Mounding, Rounded, Spreading, Upright

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate


Bright green, ribbed, serrated edges with fuzzy undersides

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Hills and bluffs, usually within a few miles of the coast, along with Monterey Pine and other trees of the central coast, or with northern coastal scrub.

Part Shade

Elevation ?
3' - 1746'

Annual Precip. ?
15.5" - 57.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.20" - 0.86"

Coldest Month ?
43.8° F - 50.6° F

Hottest Month ?
55.7° F - 73.2° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 18.31 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of sandy or clay soil

Soil PH
5.0 - 7.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Sunset Zones ?
5, 7, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Wildlife Attracted
Insects, especially bees and butterflies. 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, Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Deep Organic, Organic with Rocks

Some cultivars may need annual pruning to maintain desired shape.

Pest Control
This plant is said to be a favorite of deer.

Propagation ?
Because of the tendency of Ceanothus to hybridize, propagation is usually from cuttings.  For propagating by seed: Boil in water 1min., cool immediately to room temperature, and sow.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Ceanothus griseus,Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis

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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