Plants

Ceanothus

Irrigation, exposure and pruning

The Ceanothus plant does not require a lot of water and is particularly sensitive to water stagnation: it should be watered only during the hot season, and with frequent but never too abundant irrigations. A golden rule for these types of plants is to make sure the soil is dry before watering. Pruning is also not necessary, except to remove the stems that are dry or damaged by winter, as well as from parasitic attacks. Younger plants may need a light topping to “educate” the growth of the canopy and also thicken it at the base. Ceanothus tolerates both heat and cold well but grows better in half-shade positions, also because it can’t stand the wind. The ideal location for the plant is near a wall or fence.

Multiplication and cultivation


The multiplication of Ceanothus occurs with seeds, in early spring, and with the cutting method. The latter technique is the preferable one and involves isolating the cuttings at the end of summer, choosing semi-mature stems (about a year old) with a length of 8 cm. The cutting, previously treated with rooting hormones, must be buried in a compost made of peat, sand, soil and perlite. Rooting must take place in a box closed by a polyethylene sheet; in spring, the young plants are transplanted into the ground. Ceanothus is a rustic plant but has very delicate roots therefore, after planting, it should no longer be “disturbed” with subsequent explants: it spreads rapidly and needs to be adequately spaced from other crops in the garden.

Soil and fertilization


The ideal growing medium for Ceanothus is the well-worked, fertile one, with neutral pH and excellent drainage. To this end, expanded clay (or small pebbles) should be placed on the bottom of the hole that will host the plant. At the time of implantation, the soil must be integrated with “semi-mature manure” and, if it has a too clayey consistency, it must be mixed with river sand or pumice. In winter, it is good to protect the roots of the plant with a “mulch” made of dry leaves, chopped bark and straw. Fertilization takes place at the end of winter, with a ternary fertilizer in granules, as well as during the flowering period: in this case, a little liquid fertilizer for flowering plants rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, diluted with the water of the ‘

Ceanothus: Diseases and Remedies


The main causes of Ceanothus suffering are root rot and chlorosis. To prevent root asphyxiation, good drainage and proper ventilation of the growing medium must always be ensured. Chlorosis, which manifests itself with a sudden and rapid yellowing of the leaves, must be dealt with by administering chelated iron (or “iron sequestrene”) to the plant. Despite being a rustic and resistant plant, Ceanothus can be attacked by aphids: these nest on the stems and on the back of the foliage, are visible to the naked eye and must be removed manually, as well as eradicated with pesticides, preferably of biological composition. The removal of parasites is carried out by passing a damp cloth on the affected parts of the plant which, once the treatment is completed, must be pruned.

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