Has anyone had success growing this in northern Georgia? The common name indicates it is a lilac, however, it is not.
Native to the west coast so probably likes dry, well-drained soil ... there is a Georgia relative with white flowers, Ceanothus americanus, common name is New Jersey tea because of its use as tea substitute by early settlers.
Your only chance in Georgia with that plant is going to be if you're up at least 1500' in elevation, preferably closer to 2000', and plant it on 100% scree or sand, in a very sheltered spot. Even then it is a long shot. They just don't like muggy summers at all. Cool nights in the mountains might just make a difference. (And zn 7 is a bit too cold in winter too, but the summers are going to be the more immediate threat to it)
You'd probably be better off trying the more tolerant cultivar 'Concha', if you want a true west-coast Ceanothus. (There's always the wan and over-generously named 'Gloire de Versailles', which is sold by Woodlanders and would do fine for you) I had one last a few years in zn 7 Maryland, but it was on a raised bed, along a south wall, with afternoon shade, and rain protection from an overhang! Even with these perfect conditions, it was clearly always struggling with the humidity and summer rain. Colder winters would burn the foliage but it was usually quick to recover. Although it died last winter, I think the cold probably finished off what the wet summer of 2013 had started. It's not as long a shot as some California plants though. I also had a Fremontodendron in a similarly sheltered spot that lasted a few years...however a storm late last summer blew too much into its area, and the leaves started yellowing from root rot. I might try the Ceanothus again someday, I'd never bother with the Fremontodendron again.
This post was edited by davidrt28 on Wed, Jun 25, 14 at 2:12
Thanks for saving me the frustration. My spot is south of the ATL airport and muggy is our first name. Oh, well, a gal can dream, but plant something else.
I am visiting family in south Georgia and wandered upon this forum looking for information on gardening here. I live in California, however, where ceanothus grow wild. I can also confirm that any sort of summer water will most certainly mean death for the plant. Even the more "water friendly" cultivars like "dark star" & "concha" have died on me after an accidental watering. Except for a rare storm during May or August, those growing wild receive no significant rainwater from about April to November. Many California natives simply cannot take humid, wet summers.