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Growing Ceanothus greggii: Desert Ceanothus

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Form: Shrub.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate.
Mature Size: 8' high and 6' wide.
Flowers: Crowded clusters of small white flowers cover the entire plant and exude a strong lilac scent that lasts for weeks.
Bloom: Late winter and early spring.
Fruit: Flesh on the small, round fruit turns green to red to brown. When the fruit dries in mid spring, signalling seed maturity, the four-chambered, woody seed capsule immediately drops from the plant. The capsule springs open weeks or months later, tossing four tiny, glossy black seeds over a foot-wide area.
Leaves: Small, oval, thick, medium-green.
Stems: New stems are pinkish, older stems are light gray. No thorns.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*.
Wildlife: The seed attracts quail and other ground-feeding birds. Watering more than once a month attracts foraging deer.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 7-9.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Once every month or two.
Soil: Found in dry soil with low organic content, pH 6.1-8.5 (slightly acidic to alkaline). *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: In late spring after seed capsules have dropped.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed.
Uses: Fragrance garden, bird garden.

This plant is a member of the Buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae). A trouble-free, low maintenance plant, it thrives on neglect. It is available at the Desert Survivors Native Plant Nursery in Tucson.

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Latest update: February, 2019.

Ceanothus greggii: Desert Ceanothus - flowers

Ceanothus greggii: Desert Ceanothus - in bloom

Ceanothus greggii: Desert Ceanothus - fruit

Ceanothus greggii: Desert Ceanothus