Does Ceanothus grow well in the Southwest?
There are a couple varieties which are supposed to do well in heat of Central/ Southern NM. The limiting factor is that most varieties don't tolerate much summer water since they are native to California. The variety C. 'Concha' is supposed to tolerate summer water and be hardy to around 15 deg. C. 'Blue Jeans' is also tolerant to summer heat, water. Not sure where to get these. Others may do ok if you hand water, plant in good draining soil. Good luck. I really love ceanothus, always enjoyed tseeing them in coastal California, esp. around Santa Barbara County.
Thanks, Berkeley guy. Where did you get that info? I did a search but could not come up with anything. I still haven't figured out how I can purchase Ceanothus by mail, but there must be a way--where there is a will... I'll let you know, when I find a seller.
I purchased Ceanothus from an Oregon grower called Forestfarm.com
Thanks for mentioning summer water tolerance. I used that as my criteria for choice. They didn't have Blue Jeans. I ordered two Conchas and two delilianus Gloire de Vers. I also ordered a Viburnum. I hope that will do well here.
Thanks again, Desrtlvr. They are supposed to be planted in fall. But I am going to plant them ASAP. They should arrive on Friday.
Lorna ---- let me know how they do. I'll have to check out Forestfarms. I had heard of them but never ordered from them.
laspilitas.com (CA Native Plant Nursery) Good info on Ceanothus)
PS I killed a couple of Ceanothus and had my last one struggling. I moved it into a really nasty (Rocky, barren) place and it is happily blooming. Apparently they have a reputation for being short lived, but that is because people treat them like other garden plants...They can live 20+ years, from what I have read. Most do not like summer water, so great in So CA!
Lorna --- just checking in ---- how are your ceanothus fairing? I am thinking of ordering from Forestfarm.
Hi, Desertlvr! So far so good. I held off on planting them until about a month ago. They are putting out new leaves. I'm thinking I can use "raincoats", plastic sheeting on the ground, for them during monsoon season to prevent much water from getting to their roots. What do you think of that idea?
That should work.... may not have to if the 'monsoon' is mild and/ or if your soil drains fast..... I think I will order a couple this week.
Hey Desertlvr, I want to let you know that the Concha are definitely doing better than the Gloire de Vers. We've had a lot of severe wind. Maybe the de Vers need extra water because of that? The Concha don't seem to be suffering any ill affect.
Lorna, thanks for the update. Because of the winds we're having this year, I have held off ordering any plants that aren't agaves, opuntias, or yuccas, until at least mid May when theoretically the winds should have at least diminished in frequency and intensity. This seems to be one of the worst Springs for wind here, if memory serves..... Best, dl
Yea, definitely the worst in the five springs I've been here. Silly me assumed that since the windy season started early, it would end early. NOT! I've been doing extra, deep watering to mitigate the ill affects of the wind.
Yesterday was so bad, I couldn't hang my laundry outdoors because the fabrics would have become embedded with the dirt being blown. I had to use the big Amish wooden rack in a spare room. Today seems calm, but I had better get myself outdoors early in case the winds do come up.
I planted this concha a couple years ago in very well amended desert sick dirt. It gets about an inch a week in the summer. In the winter I dont really water much if at all.
Just when I thought I had it licked....... dang! I dont know what happened but within 2 days my ceanothus died :( The first day 1/2 of it suddenly turned brown and crispy and then on the 2nd day the other 1/2 did the same....... it was getting the same amount of water and general treatment. I dont know what happened..... we had strange weather this year with cooler days and then hotter days and then back to cooler etc. Could the temperature swings have caused it to suddenly die like that?
STOMPOUT, I'll see if I can find an answer about the temperature fluxes. I lived for about 12 years in CA chaparral (home of the ceanothus) before moving to the desert. (Ceanothus happens to be my FAVORITE chaparral plant.) I have to admit that I've only in the last few years paid any attention to the chaparral plant communities, so off the top of my head I couldn't tell you if the temp fluxes had anything to do with your plant dying; but I do know someone who might have an answer. (You may actually want to take a look at the California Chaparral Institute website, www.californiachaparral.org, to see if you can find any information there, and even write to them about your plant's demise.)
I CAN tell you that summers out in the chaparral biome where ceanothus grows can get quite hot - although not desert temperatures - and relative humidity tends to drop pretty low in late summer/early fall (the peak of our fire season). We also get some pretty ferocious winds out here in the fall, called Santa Ana winds, which are known to raise temperatures and desiccate the land in mere hours. So I'm not entirely convinced that your winds and relative humidity are what did your ceanothus in. (Then again, I've only been to NM a few times, and never for more than a week, so I could have no idea what I'm talking about.)
BTW, if you ever get a chance to come to SoCal in the spring (March-May), DO IT. You HAVE to see the chaparral in bloom. It's just gorgeous.
INKNEEDEEP, it's been my understanding that, unless it succumbs to damage or some sort of pathological ailment, ceanothus will just keep right on thriving for as long as the chaparral stand goes without burning. That's really sort of an inference, based on what I've read by Rick Halsey, Jon Keely, etc. (Since you're out at Las Pilitas, I'm willing to bet you know who those guys are.) You've got me curious now. I'll have to do a bit more reading - especially since ceanothus IS my favorite (all species and varieties of it). :)
I think I read that Ceanothus is a nitrogen fixer - is that so?