Ceanothus × pallidus 'Marie Simon'

Common Name: California lilac 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rhamnaceae
Zone: 6
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to October
Bloom Description: Pale pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


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 grow deeply and help plants withstand drought conditions, but make established shrubs difficult to transplant. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Plants may experience dieback when winter temperatures dip to 0°F. Responds well to pruning in spring to control height and width.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ceanothus × pallidus is a hybrid ceanothus resulting from a cross between C. herbaceus and C. × delilianus (C. americanus and C. coeruleus). It is a deciduous to semi-deciduous shrub which typically grows to 2-4’ tall and to 3’ wide. The broadly oval, glossy, dark green leaves will reach 3" long. Terminal, conical clusters of 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.

The specific epithet pallidus comes from Latin meaning "pale".

'Marie Simon' is a hybrid ceanothus that features plumes of small, pink flowers in early summer with reblooming to fall. Mature plants will reach up to 5' tall with a similar spread. The 3" long, terminal inflorescence are held on upright, sturdy, maroon stems. The fragrant, tubular flowers are attractive to butterflies and other insect pollinators and are followed by persistent, red fruit capsules which extend the season of interest.


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


Shrub borders. Foundations. Hedge. South-facing walls.