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Ceanothus Zanzibar

California Lilac

Mottled gold and green foliage and light blue flowers

A bushy evergreen with striking yellow and green variegated leaves, which deepen to a rich gold as the year progresses to provide a stirring contrast against its sporadic blue flowers.


Preferring a sheltered, ideally south facing, position in the sun, the evergreen foliage makes an excellent backdrop for other plants, so it’s a great choice for training against a wall.


It is hardy, but be sure to shelter it from cold winds. It will grow well in most well drained soils.

Native to North America, and mainly California, there are about 50 or 60 species of Ceanothus.

Plant details

In depth plant information

Property Value
Plant type Ornamental shrub
Flower colour
Foliage colour
Typically available March - September
Season of interest Spring, Summer
Flowering April - July
Evergreen Yes
Plant height 150 cm - 250 cm
Plant width 150 cm - 250 cm
Fragrant flowers No
Attracts bees No
Attracts butterflies No
Plant height in 5 years 200 cm
Hardiness zone (?) H3

Will perform best in these conditions

Property Value
Soil type Sand, Clay, Loam
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, Mediterranean garden, Cottage garden, Informal garden, Coastal or drought resistant, City garden, Courtyard garden, Garden edging, Flower border and beds, Banks and slopes

Typically available

From March to September