Ceanothus × pallidus 'Minmari' MARIE BLEU

Common Name: California lilac 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rhamnaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Lilac
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry 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. Plants will die back to the ground when winter temperatures dip to zero degrees F.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ceanothus x pallidus is a hybrid dating back to 1830. It is the result of a cross between C. ovatus and C. x delilianus (hybrid of C. americanus and C. coeruleus). It is a deciduous shrub which typically grows to 2-4’ tall and to 3’ wide. Broad oval lustrous dark green leaves (to 3” long). No fall color. Soft pink flowers bloom on new growth in early summer.

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

Pallidus from Latin means pale.

‘Minmari’ is commonly sold under the trade name of MARIE BLEU. It is a compact blue-flowered cultivar that typically grows as a low mounded shrub to 2-3’ tall. Misty blue flowers bloom in late May. Flowers are followed by ornamentally attractive red seed heads. U.S. Plant Patent Applied For (PPAF).


No serious insect or disease problems. 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.