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Ph requirement for Ceanothus

Isle of Wight, United Kingdom Gb

I have posted a few pictures and written blog on a sick ceanothus. I have always fed mine with a more ericaceous feed, but after doing some research I'm not convinced of their requirement. Some articles say they like alkaline and some say acid. Can anyone solve this for me? I think the shrubs may still have some life in them because I scratched off some of the bark and it was green wood, but the variety I have - Italian Skies should be evergreen.

On plant Ceanothus




Ive had lots of ceanothus looking healthy and well on my mildly alkaline clay.

25 Mar, 2008


I had one on my neutral soil. It did very well - in fact too well - so I decided to hack it back and reduced it by about half. The following winter, it promptly died. I've since read that they do not like being pruned - I see yours is trimmed to form a hedge - maybe that is the problem?

26 Mar, 2008


Yes, I think that was the problem. I have had to trim mine because of the closeness of the ceonothus to the pavement. The hedges on the left (out of picture) have done ok after the drastic haircut, but these haven't responded as well. There is some green wood on the larger stems so I'll get out there this weekend and prune the dead wood off and see if it recovers. As we are selling the house it is too late to replace it without an unwanted expense so I have planted large growing clematis around the bottom of the dead hedges to get some green and flowers over the hedge.

26 Mar, 2008


hi Andrea, mine was also listed as evergreen in my book, but it is in fact only semi evergreen. and i am not sure on the PH it needs but i do know that they don't get on to well with clay soil. i am pretty sure that my soil is on the acid side i have never done any tests, but i have no problems growing all the acid lovers. but my soil is also a bit clay, but i did dig down quite deep and improved it before i planted my cenothus, and it does seem to be coming back quite nicely now. but i wondered when mine looked sick if it was to do with the soil. but apparently it is quite common for certain vareitys to do this. maybe a bit of a hair cut and a bit of patience is all it needs. and you could always try a good feed too maybe blood, fish and bone?

26 Mar, 2008


Its very much a question of degrees and where your particular Ceanothus originates from which could be anywhere between the coast and mountains of SW US and Mex. They are generally acid lovers, though they are lime tolerant if your ground is just slightly alkaline. If your ground is too alkaline for individual plants they will become chloritic on chalky ground.

As with for red hydrangeas a couple of kilos of rusty nails at the bottom of your hole may not come amiss otherwise use sequestrene as required. A raised border or an in-filled stone wall are a good means of having enjoying plants of a different pH than your ground.

27 Mar, 2008

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