Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'SKYLARK'

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'SKYLARK'
blueblossom, California lilac
SIZE/TYPE medium-sized shrub
USUAL HEIGHT 0.5-1.5m
USUAL WIDTH 1.5-2m
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES green
FLOWERS showy
COLOUR OF FLOWERS sky blue
BLOOMING TIME June - June
LOCATION full sun
USDA zone (lowest) 6b   (down to -21°C)
WINTER PROTECTION  
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Evergreen broadleaf
Summer blooms
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto
Blueblossom originates in California and Mexico and these days it is getting more and more popular in our climate though it is supposed to be a tender plant. However, there are varieties which, with a certain degree of winter protection, can cope well and offer its lovely shade of blue flowers.

Skylark is a variety very similar to Victoria, with two exceptions: it has slightly larger leaves and arching branches.

The flowers are absolutely amazing, not violet, not pale, just unbeatable sky blue. They are formed in rounded, 6-7 cm long, terminal cymes and come out in early June and usually last for about a month. That is another reason to own this gorgeousness. There are so many of them every year that they totally cover the plant. Evergreen leaves are only 2-3 cm long, ovate, dark green, very glossy and deeply veined. When crushed they have an interesting spicy scent.

It grows medium fast or fast, making arching, almost horizontal branches. It gets wider than tall, seldom exceeding 1.5m high. If you wish to keep it compact and smaller, prune it every year after it has flowered (early July). The denser it gets the hardier it will be over winter. Unpruned plants may get leggy over a few years.

It needs fertile, permeable soil, adequately moist for the first year and preferably slightly acidic as it might suffer from chlorosis (leaves turn yellow and the plant defoliates when it cannot absorb ferrum from the soil). Do not apply fertilizers for faster growth. Too long shoots will not have enough time to mature and will be killed in winter. You can use a slow release selective fertilizer for profuse flowering or leaf colour. What you definitely must do is to provide a thick layer of mulch, especially before winter. Plant it in a location sheltered from winds - best against a wall or in a closed yard. For reliable overwintering you also need to find a place that will be insolated in summer but shaded in winter - long-lasting winter sun in combination with frost may cause visible injuries.

Growing it in our garden (USDA zone 6) it proved to be fully hardy to some -16° or even -18°C on a sheltered spot, and it survived -24°C with a protection made of 2-3 layers of white woven. Overwrap the plant with this protective fabric when the temperature drops below -16°C for maximum 2 weeks, and take it off when the weather improves. It must not be wrapped all winter, otherwise it will be damaged by strong spring sun. This stunning beauty is worth a portion of extra work. Reliably hardy to -17°C (USDA zone 7) with protection much lower (USDA zone 6).


Last update 20-12-2008
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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus
Ceanothus
GLOSSARY
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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