Ceanothus or Californian Lilac

This plant attracts the following butterflies:

Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White


Ceanothus in flower

Ceanothus 'Gloire de Versailles' in full flower. 9 July 2003.

Gatekeeper on Ceanothus 'Gloire de Versailles'

Gatekeeper on Ceanothus 'Gloire de Versailles'. July 2002.


I inherited an evergreen Ceanothus in the Cirencester garden. It appeared to attract Small White butterflies to the bright blue flowers in the Spring. A strong wind blew it down in 2000. That year I planted 2 of these shrubs. The evergreen 'elanor taylor' has not attracted butterflies but it is in a shady but sheltered, north-facing spot against a fence.

The deciduous 'Gloire de Versailles' attracted Gatekeepers in both this garden and in my previous garden in Wiltshire. It also attracted a Small Tortoiseshell in June 2003.

Reference Section

Plant Type: shrub

Originates from North America; finds the English winter rather too cold. Best on a sheltered south-facing wall.

Evergreen and deciduous varieties. 'Gloire de Versailles' is listed as deciduous.

Ceanothus 'elanor taylor' is evergreen.

Flowers in July-September for 'Gloire de Versailles', Spring for 'elanor taylor'

Height: variable - 'Gloire de Versailles' 1.5-3m (5-10ft); 'elanor taylor' 12ft
Pruning: early April for 'Gloire de Versailles'

This page last updated April 19, 2004