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Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis Silver Surprise

California Lilac

Smaller mounding variety with variegated foliage

This low growing variety is noted for its beautiful silver variegated leaves, which provide stunning yearlong interest. In late spring multitudes of blue flowers provide a beautiful contrast to the foliage.


Enjoys a sunny and sheltered position perhaps against a fence or a wall.


It will do well in most well drained soils and should be sheltered from cold weather as it can be vulnerable to frost damage. It will benefit from a light pruning after it has flowered.

This variety of Californian Lilac was created in Hertfordshire by Ceanothus specialist Pete Brandt.

Plant details

In depth plant information

Property Value
Plant type Ornamental shrub
Flower colour
Foliage colour
Typically available March - September
Season of interest Spring
Flowering April - May
Evergreen Yes
Plant height 80 cm - 100 cm
Plant width 115 cm - 150 cm
Fragrant flowers Yes
Attracts bees No
Attracts butterflies No
Plant height in 5 years 30 cm
Hardiness zone (?) H3

Will perform best in these conditions

Property Value
Soil type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Light exposure Full sun
Soil drainage Well drained, Medium
Planting instructions

Water the plant in its pot thoroughly before planting – give it a good soaking. Prepare the area by digging a hole twice the size of the pot. Dig compost into the base of the hole. Remove the pot and position the plant in the hole, with the top of the rootball about level with the surrounding soil. Refill the planting hole with a mixture of garden soil and compost, firming as you go. Water in well and keep well watered during the plant's first year.

Planting site Gravel garden, Cottage garden, Informal garden, Coastal or drought resistant, City garden, Courtyard garden, Flower border and beds, Banks and slopes

Typically available

From March to September