Ceanothus 'Concha'

Common Name: California lilac 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rhamnaceae
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Description: Deep blue to purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates and sometimes appreciates some part afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Best in sandy loams or rocky soils with good drainage. Prefers even rainfall, but tolerates hot, dry sites. Thick, woody roots go deep and help plant withstand droughty conditions, but make established shrubs difficult to transplant. Site in locations protected from strong winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ceanothus, commonly known as California lilac or New Jersey tea, is a genus containing about 50 species of mostly evergreen, ornamental flowering shrubs of the buckthorn family. Most are native to California (hence the common name of California lilac) with a few from the eastern U.S., Mexico and Guatemala. Size ranges from low-spreading groundcover plants to tall shrubs (10’). Plants have evergreen or deciduous foliage. Lilac-like cylindrical flower clusters bloom in late spring and summer.

Genus name comes from keanothos which is an ancient Greek name relating to some plants in the buckthorn family.

'Concha' was discovered in 1946 by Charles Samms, who found it growing in his Bee Line Nursery in San Dimas, California. It is believed to be a hybrid of Ceanothus papillosus var. roweanus and Ceanothus impressus. It has graceful arching branches of small, evergreen, dark green leaves that are reputedly unattractive to deer. In spring, it is covered with reddish purple buds that mature into deep blue to purple flower clusters. It grows 4 to 8 ft. tall and 6 to 12 ft. wide with the larger sizes occurring in milder climates. 'Concha' provides both cover and seeds for many species of birds, including quail, finches and mockingbirds.


Susceptible to leaf spot and powdery mildew. Root rot is a potential problem in poorly drained soils.


Shrub borders or native plant gardens. Foundations. Hedge. South-facing walls.